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Thursday, February 5, 2015


Selvi RaveendranThe Basic Structure of a Speech
All speeches contain at least three parts:
An Introduction
A Body
A conclusion
In the Introduction, you state the topic of your speech. You tell the audience the main points of your speech. In other words, you say what you are going to speak about.
In the Body, you speak about each point in detail. For each point you must give the audience some evidence or information that will help explain and support each point. The Body is the longest of the three parts.
In the Conclusion, you should summarise the main points of your speech, and emphasise what you want the audience to remember.

Making a Simple Outline
An outline is a way to organise your ideas logically and clearly. Without making an outline your speech will probably lack structure, and so be difficult to understand. By using a presentation outline, you can "see" the structure of your speech. In addition, It can also serve as your speaking script.
The following presentation outline is a very simple way to organise your material into a speech format. If you have time, you should look at the detailed speech outline. When making an outline you should not write full sentences, but just key words and phrases.
1. Introduction
What is the topic of your speech?
Why should the audience listen to your speech ?
What will your main points be?
2. The body
What are your main points and ideas (sub-topics)?
What is your supporting evidence and information (sub-sub-topics)?
3. The conclusion
What were the main main points of your speech, and what do you want the audience to remember?
http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~peterr-s/images/bullet5.gifNote that the presentation outline is not a word-for-word script for the speech but an outline of ideas to serve as an organisational and presentation tool for the speaker.

Speech Writing Format

Speech writing is usually done for formal and informal occasions, where you need to address the public. Writing a speech for public speaking is quite different from other forms of writing as you need to convey your ideas and thoughts in a coherent manner keeping in mind the audience emotions and feelings. A speech should be prepared in a simple language so that audience can easily understand the main objective of the speech. It is ideal to speak carefully at the public gathering as the listeners get one chance to understand the information that is being delivered to them.
Speeches can be defined in many forms including farewell speech, thank you speech, political speech, welcome speech, school assembly speech, etc. These are written with an objective to instruct, entertain, inform or persuade the target audience. Many times you stuck in a situation where you are required to speak at a social event or school assembly or any public gatherings. In this situation, you can select a topic, plan and prepare the content in an organized manner. For political speech, a speechwriter is being hired, who write and prepare speeches for high-profile politicians and executives. Some of the important steps are discussed below that will help students in understanding the format of speech writing.
1. Select a topic: - Choose a topic that suits the occasion as well as audience interest. It should be relevant to the occasion and should address in such a way that it encourages audience involvement.
2. Objective of speech: - Speech writing should be done on topics that will fulfill the main purpose. Whether your intention is to inform, instruct, persuade or entertain the audience, you can prepare your speech in that way. It is ideal to write speeches to persuade audience for noble cause or instruct them on important matters.
3. Speech should be logically set: - A speech should have a proper introductory line with relevant content in the body and should have a closing sentence with suitable conclusion. These important factors make a speech appealing to the audience and involve them in the conversation for a longer duration.
Key points to remember while preparing a format of speech writing
  • The speaker should start the speech by greeting the chief guest and the public present in the gathering.
  • The speech should start in an interesting manner by using catchy words.
  • It is advisable for a speaker to express his or her views and thoughts on the topic and also encourage audience participation.
  • Wind-up your speech by asking suggestions from the audience.
  • A thank you note should be delivered to the audience at the end of the speech.

How to Write a Speech: Construction

The basic speech format is simple. It consists of three parts:
1.    an opening or introduction
2.    the body where the bulk of the information is given
3.    and an ending (or summary).
salad sandwich
Think of it as a sandwich. The opening and ending are the slices of bread holding the filling (body) together.
You can build yourself a simple sandwich with one filling or you can go gourmet and add up to three or even five. The choice is yours.
But whatever you choose to serve, as a good cook,you need to consider who is going to eat it! And that's your audience.
So with them in mind, let's prepare the filling first.

How to Write a Speech: Step One

listening audienc
Begin with the most important idea/point on your outline.
Consider HOW you can explain (show, tell) that to your audience in the most effective way for them to easily understand it. A good speech is never written from the speaker's point of view.
(If you need to know more about why check out this page on building rapport.)
To help you write from an audience point of view, identify either a realperson or the type of person who is most likely to be listening to you.
Make sure you select someone who represents the 'majority'. That is they are neither struggling to comprehend you at the bottom of your scale or light-years ahead at the top.
Now imagine they are sitting next to you eagerly waiting to hear what you're going to say. Give them a name, for example, Joe, to help make them real.
Ask yourself:
§  How do I need to tailor my information to meet Joe's needs?
For example, do you tell personal stories illustrating your main points?
This is a very powerful technique. You can find out more aboutstorytelling in speeches here.
§  What type or level of language is right for Joe as well as my topic?

How to Write a Speech: Step Two

Write down what you'd say as if you were talking directly to them.
If it helps, say everything out loud before you write and/or use a recorder.
After you've finished, take notes.
lead pencil
You do not have to write absolutely everything you're going to say down* but you do need to write the sequence of ideas to ensure they are logical and easily followed.
Remember too, to explain or illustrate your point with examples from your research.
(*Tip: If this is your first speech the safety net of having everything written down could be just what you need. It's easier to recover from a patch of jitters when you have a full set of notes than if you have either none or a bare outline. Your call!)

How to Write a Speech: Step Three

pencil , dictionary and notebook
Rework Step Two (your first main point) until you've made yourself clear.
Do not assume because you know what you're talking about the person (Joe) you've chosen to represent your audience will too. Joe is not a mind-reader.
§  Check the 'tone' of your language.
Is it right for the occasion, subject matter and your audience?
§  Check the length of your sentences.
If they're too long or complicated you risk losing your listeners.
§  Have you chosen words everybody will understand?
There are 5 cent words and $5.00 words. Why use a $5.00 one when a 5 cent one tells it better?
Example: He 'spat' = 5 cents. He 'expectorated' = $5.00
Check for jargon too. These are industry, activity or group exclusive words. If you're an outsider you won't know them and that's alienating.
§  Read what you've written out loud.
If it flows naturally continue the process with your next main idea. If it doesn't, rework.
§  Remember you are writing 'oral language'.
You are writing as if you were explaining, telling or showing something to someone. It doesn't have to be perfect sentences. We don't talk like that.
We use whole sentences and part ones and we mix them up with asides or appeals e.g. 'Did you get that? Of course you did. Right...Let's move it along. I was saying ...'
Repeat How to Write a Speech Steps One, Two & Three for the remainder of your main ideas.
Because you've done the first block carefully, the rest should come fairly easily.

How to Write a Speech: Step Four: Linking or Transitions

chain link
Between each of your main ideas you need to provide a pathway. This links them for your listeners. The clearer the path, the easier it is to make the transition from one idea to the next. If your speech contains more than three main ideas and each is building on the last, then consider using a 'catch-up' or summary as part of your transitions.
Is your speech being evaluated?
Find out
 exactly what aspects you're being assessed on using this standard speech evaluation form
A link can be as simple as:
'We've explored one scenario for the ending of Block Buster 111, but let's consider another. This time...' What follows is the introduction of Main Idea Two.
A summarizing link or transition example:
'We've ended Blockbuster 111 four ways so far. Everybody died, 1. Everybody died BUT their ghosts remained, 2. One villain died. His partner reformed and after a fight-out with the hero, they both strode off into the sunset, 3. 4,The hero dies in a major battle but is reborn sometime in the future. And now what about one more? What if nobody died? The fifth possibility...'
Go back through your main ideas checking the links. Remember Joe as you go. Try each transition or link out loud and listen to yourself. Write them down when they are clear and concise.

How to Write a Speech: Step Five: The Ending

Yellow end sign
The ideal ending is highly memorable. You want it to live on in the minds of your listeners. Often it combines a call to action with a summary of major points.
The desired outcome of a speech persuading people to vote for you in an upcoming election is that they do so. You can help that outcome along by calling them to register their support by signing a prepared pledge statement as they leave.
The desired outcome is increased sales figures. The call to action is made urgent with the introduction of time specific incentives.
'You have three weeks from the time you leave this hall to make that dream family holiday in New Zealand yours. Can you do it? Will you do it? The kids will love it. Your wife will love it. Do it now!'
NB. A clue for working out what the most appropriate call to action might be, is to go back to the original purpose for giving the speech.
§  Was it to motivate or inspire?
§  Was it to persuade to a particular point of view?
§  Was it to share specialist information?
§  Was it to celebrate a person, a place, time or event?
Ask yourself what you want people to do as a result of having listened to your speech.
(You can find out more here about how to end a speech effectively. You'll find two additional types of endings with examples.)
Write your ending and test it out loud.

How to Write a Speech: Step Six: The Introduction

Once you've got the filling (main ideas) the linking and the ending in place, it's time to focus on the introduction.
The introduction comes last as it's the most important part of your speech. This is the bit that either has people sitting up alert or slumped and waiting for you to end.
neon open sign
What makes a great opening?
You want one that makes listening to you the
 onlything the 'Joes' in the audience want to do. You want them to forget they're hungry or that their chair is hard or that the bills need paying.
The answer is to capture their interest straight away. You do this with a 'hook'.
Hooks come in as many forms as there are speeches and audiences. Your task is work out what the specific hook is to catch your audience.
Go back to the purpose. Why are you giving this speech? Once you have your answer, consider your call to action. What do you want the audience to do as a result of listening to you? Next think about the imaginary or real person you wrote for when you were focusing on your main ideas.
Ask yourself, if I were him/her what would appeal?
§  Is it humor?
§  Would shock tactics work?
§  Is it formality or informality?
§  Is it an outline of what you're going to cover, including the call to action?
§  Or is it a mix of all these elements?
Here's an example from a fictional political speech. The speaker is lobbying for votes. His audience are predominately workers whose future's are not secure.
'How's your imagination this morning? Good? ( Pause for response from audience) Great, I'm glad. Because we're going to put it to work starting right now. I want you to see your future. What does it look like? Are you happy? Is everything as you want it to be? No? Let's change that. We could do it. And we could do it today. At the end of this speech you're going to be given the opportunity to change your world, for a better one ... No, I'm not a magician or a simpleton with big ideas and precious little commonsense. I'm an ordinary man, just like you.'
And then our speaker is off into his main points supported by examples. The end, which he has already foreshadowed in his opening, is the call to vote for him.
Experiment with several openings until you've found the one that serves your audience, subject matter and purpose best.
Writing your speech is very nearly done. There's just one more step to go!

How to Write a Speech: Step Seven: Checking

check or tick
This 'how to write a speech' step pulls everything together.
Go through your speech several times carefully.
On the first read through check you've got your main points in their correct order with supporting material plus an effective introduction and ending.
On the second read through check the linking passages or transitions making sure they are clear and easily followed.
On the third reading check your sentence structure, language use and tone.
Now go though once more.
This time read it aloud slowly and time yourself. If it's too long make the necessary cuts. Start by looking at your examples rather than the main ideas themselves. If you've used several to illustrate one, cut the least important out. Also look to see if you've repeated yourself unnecessarily or gone off track. If it's not relevant, cut it.
Repeat the process, condensing until your speech fits just under the time allowance.
man on stage in the spotlight
And NOW you are finished with 'how to write a speech', and are ready for REHEARSAL.
Please don't be tempted to skip this step. The 'not-so-secret' secret of successful speeches combines good writing with practice, practice and then practicing some more.

The Quick How to Write a Speech Checklist

Before you begin writing your speech you need:
§  Your speech OUTLINE with your main ideas ranked in the order you're going to present them.
If you haven't done one complete this 4 step sample speech outline. It will make the writing process much easier.
§  You also need to know WHO you're speaking to, the PURPOSEof the speech and HOW long you're speaking for

Basic Speech Construction

Your speech will have three parts: an opening or introduction, the body where you present your main ideas and an ending.
Split your time allowance so that you spend approximately 70% on the body and 15% each on the introduction and ending.
How to write a speech
§  Write your main ideas out incorporating your examples and research
§  Link them together making sure each flows in a smooth, logical progression
§  Write your ending, summarizing your main ideas briefly and end with a call for action
§  Write your introduction considering the 'hook' you're going to use to get your audience listening
§  An often quoted saying to explain the process is:
Tell them what you're going to tell them (Introduction)
Tell them (Body of your speech - the main ideas plus examples)
Tell them what you told them (The ending)
TEST before presenting. Read aloud several times to check the flow of material, the suitability of language and the timing.
What is a speech?
1.      Speeches are talks delivered in public on formal and informal occasions.
2.     There are many types of speeches such as 'welcome speech', 'thank you speech' and 'farewell speech'. Besides, there are also speeches on topics of interest and social issues.
3.     The PRESENT TENSE IS USUALLY USED when you write out a speech.
Sample question:

You are the head prefect in your school. At the beginning of the new school term, you have been asked to remind students about the school regulations. Write out yourspeech using the notes below:-


School uniform


-wear white shoes and socks


-boys - short

-girls - short or long - long hair must be tied up



Make up-is not allowed in school!


-No loitering

-No handphones

-No jewellery

-No smoking

-Be punctual

-Respect teachers

-Pay attention in class

-No playing truant

When writing the speech, remember to;

- include all the points given

- elaborate on the points

- set out your speech correctly

- write in paragraph

Sample answer + explanation on the framework (Pay attention to how the points are elaborated)

Sample Answer


Good morning to our principal, teachers and fellow students. Welcome to the new school term. I am Nuzul Fikrie Ahmad, the head prefect of SMK Raja Muda. This morning, I would like to refresh your memory about our school regulations especially regarding attire and conduct.


1) Greet the audience.

e.g: Good morning / afternoon / evening to

·         boys and girls..
·         our principal, teachers and fellow students… (at an official school function)
·         Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen… (at an official function or society meeting)
·         Yang Berhormat, Tan Sri Najib Abdul Rahman, ladies and gentlemen… (if there is a distinguished guest)
2) Introduce yourself to the audience- (your name, position held, department attached to)

e.g: I am Dr Fiqry Nasir from Assunta Hospital in Petaling Jaya.

3) Introduce topic

e.g: I am here to present a talk on the topic ‘Body Fitness.’

4) Purpose of speech

e.g: The purpose of my talk today is to make you realize the importance looking after your food intake and how your health can be maintained through exercising.

To create a good impression, always be dressed neatly in your school uniform complete with white shoes and white socks. Don’t forget to wear your school badge and name tag.

Your hair should be short and neatly combed. Boysshould always keep their hair shortGirls are allowed to keep long hair but it should always be neatly combed andtied. No one is allowed to wear jewellery. If you do, then your jewellery will be confiscated. In addition, you cannot use make-up. Your nails should always be kept short. Remember, no nail polish is allowed.

Regarding your conduct, always be punctualRespect your teacher and pay attention in class. Remember, no loitering around and playing truant. If you don’t comply with the school rules, you will have to face the music.

Last term, several students were suspended or expelled from school for fighting, smoking and other serious offences. Handphones are banned. If you bring handphones, they will be confiscated. 

Paragraph 2,3,4,5 – BODY

·         Main points and their elaboration (facts, figures, examples)
·         Elaborate 1 point in 1 paragraph or combine a few relevant points and elaborate in 1 paragraph

These regulations are meant to create a positive image and environment for the school. There are, of course, some black sheep who will break the regulations. Do not be influenced by them. Instead, set a good example for others.

Thank you.

Paragraph 6: Conclusion

·         The speaker’s hope
·         Thank the audience. e.g: Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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