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How to Write Speech Presentations – Your Ultimate Guide

November 03, 2015 - Posted toWriting

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How to Write Speech Presentations – Your Ultimate Guide

At some point, and usually at several points in your schooling career, you will be required to prepare and present a speech. This assignment may or may not strike fear into your heart. If you are pretty confident and don’t have a problem speaking before an audience, then your only concern is preparing a great speech. If, on the other hand, you have glossophobia, a fear of public speaking, then you have two concerns – preparing the speech and dealing with your fear. While we cannot remove your fear, we can help you overcome it, if you will follow the preparation steps outlined here.

Defining a Speech

A speech is nothing more than an essay presented verbally. Think about it. A speech has a topic and a purpose, just like an essay. The only difference is you will presenting your information, your viewpoint, your argument, etc. verbally.


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Steps for How to Write a Speech

  1. Select Your Topic: In most instances, if you are choosing a topic for a speech class, you will probably have a choice of a topic but perhaps not a choice of purpose. Just as with an essay, you may be assigned a speech that is to inform, explain, describe, define, compare/contrast, persuade, or argue. Within that purpose, however, you will have a choice of speech topics. Select one in which you have great interest, one that you know well or are willing to do the research on, and one that is timely.
  2. Know Your Audience: Just as with an essay, you have an audience when you deliver a speech. The difference is you will see them and their reactions. Speeches do have to be designed for specific audiences, however. If your speech is for your peers, your language and demeanor may in fact be quite casual. You will use vocabulary that this audience understands. If, on the other hand you were to be giving a speech to a group of senior citizens or a church congregation, you would tailor your words and your demeanor quite differently.
  3. Do the Research and/or Gather Your Thoughts: Figure out what you already know about the topic; figure out what research you are going to have to do. In giving a speech, you need to come off a bit of an expert on your topic, so make sure that you have enough material to show that expertise. The best option here is to collect more information than you will really need. It is much easier to discard less important information later on than it is to scramble to get more.
  4. Write Out Your Thesis: You need to be able to clarify for yourself what the major point of your speech is. What is the one thing you want the audience to take away? When you answer this, you have your thesis. Write that thesis in one sentence and keep it in front of you as your write your speech. Everything you say has to relate to that sentence.
  5. Create an Outline: Just like you put together an outline for an essay paper, you have to do the same for a speech. It has to flow logically. Your outline does not have to be a formal one. Just get down your 3-4 major points, and then list the details under each of those points.
  6. Those Details/Supportive Arguments are Important: As you list the details under each main point, determine how you are going to present them. Weil you use just facts and statistics? Will you provide a short anecdote or some kind of an n-depth story? And decide at this point if you will use visuals to show some of those details. If so, what will those visuals be? And if the speech involves some type of hands on demonstration, list that.
  7. Create the Visual Aids: Whether these are slides or physical objects, make sure those are prepared and read to go. Practice the actual delivery of the slides – you don’t want glitches. And if you are giving a demonstration, practice it in advance. You don’t want any surprises.
  8. Write Your Opening: This is the most important sentence or few sentences of your speech. How can you make the biggest impact on your audience? Will you give them an alarming statistic? Will you tell a story? Or a joke that relates to your topic? Your introduction need to be “punchy.”
  9. Write Your Conclusion:  Your concluding sentence(s) are the second most important part of your speech. What do you want your audience to think or do based upon what you have told it?
  10.  Write the Speech: Follow your outline as you write the speech.
  11. Read the Speech Out Loud: If you do this, you will be able to catch most everything that is awkward, out of place, or too rough. You can then clean those parts up. You want to focus on shorter sentences and simpler vocabulary when you prepare a speech – it’s not like an esay where the reader can go back and re-read something. Your audience ha to get it the first time you say it.
  12.  Time the Speech: You have a time limit – it has been given to you. As you practice your speech make sure you are within that time limit. You may have to remove some stuff; hopefully, you won’t have to add more.
  13. Practice the Speech: Keep practicing until you really know it and until it seems completely natural. You can then work on intonation (rising and falling of your voice, when to be louder, when to be softer. If you have ever watched speech therapists work with students, one of the things they focus on in voice inflections that are appropriate for what is being said. How can your body language can fit in with what you are saying? You really have to be somewhat of an actor here, so practice your lines and your movements.
  14. Make an Outline or Note Cards: You will need prompts in case you forget something in your delivery. So have your “cheat sheet” or cards prepared and ready.

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Public Speaking Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s Don’ts

look at the people in your audience as you are speaking. You need to “connect.”

exaggerate facts or points, though use a conversational tone – this is not an essay

make you most important point last, right before your conclusion. It is the point that will be remembered most.

assume that your audience knows the basics. Unless you are speaking to a group that is already highly informe.

Common Mistakes

  1. Speaking too long. Audiences do get restless.
  2. Not including a small amount of levity even if the subject is serious
  3. Winging it or waiting until the last minute to write your speech. It will not go well, no matter how at easy you may be in front of an audience.

A Final Thought

No one can make your fear and anxiety about public speaking go away. But, if you follow these steps and tips, you will help yourself eliminate your fear, because you will be well prepared.

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