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  • How to plan a speech

Planning your speech

- a complete, unabridged guide with multiple examples to help plan a successful speech ☺.

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 06-05-2023

Planning your speech is where your success begins. I do not jest! 

In your imagination you may hear yourself being stunning, the audience clapping wildly  as they rise to their feet to give you a standing ovation.

You may see yourself being deluged in red roses and offered several speaking contracts. Obviously, they are all lucrative but you choose the one with optional extras: an extended holiday in the South of France …

But first you have to begin at the beginning: planning your speech. Without a plan you are whistling in the wind, dreaming.

Vintage red rose wallpaper, happy woman with thought bubble. Text: Oh my goodness! They love my speech. They're throwing roses. I am absolutely fabulous. I wish.

What's on this page:

How to plan a speech step by step:

  • gathering the information to write your speech
  • brainstorming : what is a brainstorm, examples of brainstorms, getting started, with full step by step explanations and examples
  • how to shape material to fit an audience, the speech setting, and time allocation
  • an example speech outline
  • how and why to research
  • how to meet varying learning style needs: visual, auditory, and  kinesthetic
  • links to other useful pages: how to rehearse, make cue-cards...

Planning your speech from the start

A note about these notes.

These notes are general guidelines for ALL types of speeches. I know they are long.

(Actually that's an understatement! They are very long.)

I also know if you take the time to go through them they'll give you a solid introduction to thorough speech preparation.

They cover the basics of good presentation planning, research, writing and rehearsal: aspects you’ll want to consider regardless of the type of speech you’re giving.

Gathering your information

Once you have information about:

  • WHY you are going to speak (the purpose of your speech),
  • WHO you are going to speak to (your audience),
  • WHAT your general or specific subject matter is,
  • HOW long the speech is to be,
  • and WHERE it is...,

you are ready to make a rough or draft outline.

This will be your guide for writing.

You may alter the outline as you go along, as better or different ideas occur to you and that’s OK. It shows you’re flexible and thinking but before we can change anything we have to have something to start with.

To get to the outline stage in the speech planning process we first need to collect up all the "why", "who", "what", "when", "how", and "where" information needed. And that begins with a brainstorm * .

* What is a brainstorm?

A brainstorm is the name given to a commonly used, and effective, technique for generating lots of ideas on a topic, or theme, fast.

Using a heading as a prompt to get you thinking, you quickly note everything you can think of relating to it. You do not edit yourself.  You simply let the ideas flow until you can think of no more, making no judgements about whether it's a good idea, a silly idea, or a right or wrong one.

Ultimately, some will be more useful than others. You will sort through and order them later. However, the first step in the brainstorming process, is to accept everything you think of without hesitation. Stopping to decide what's OK and what's not breaks the flow.

If you'd like to see what a completed brainstorm looks like I have examples of them on my site. You'll see they provided the ideas that were then used to write the example speeches.

  • one for a maid of honor speech
  • one for a 50th wedding anniversary speech
  • and another for a farewell speech for a colleague

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Brainstorm to begin planning your speech

The brainstorm you are going to do is about making sure you thoroughly understand everything you possibly can about the speech you intend to give.

On a large piece of paper or in a word document write these headings with enough space between them for notes.   

WHY are you giving this speech?

What is the purpose of the speech? Do you intend to inspire? To motivate? To entertain? To inform? Or perhaps you want to combine several, like to inform, motivate and inspire?

Knowing what you want your audience to think, feel and do as a result of listening to your speech is the WHY underpinning your presentation. It will help guide what content you use and how you structure it.

WHO is your audience?

Write down as much as you know about the audience.

This will give you ideas about what they will want to hear and be interested in. It will also be your guide when it comes to shaping your material. (More about this later!)

For now, make notes covering:

  • the number of people expected to be in your audience,
  • their age group,
  • ethnicity, if appropriate,
  • and the common, or uniting factors they share,
  • and specific interests they may have.

Why is knowing who you're talking to vital?

Image - a row of stylized persons of varying colors, each with a glowing red heart. Text superimposed over image: Harmony

Find out more about why being in harmony with your audience is so important. Check out building rapport.

Examples of WHY, WHO, WHAT...brainstorm notes 

Image: Cartoon drawing of a smiling young woman. Text: Meet Martha Brown, entrepreneur, mother and wife.

Meet Martha Brown. She's fictional. I've made her, and the presentation she's preparing for up, to show you how the brainstorming part of the planning process works.

Martha's been asked to give a motivational speech to a group of women whose background is similar to her own. She, too, came from a family who struggled financially.

Today she is one of the few amongst her relatives who has maintained a marriage, raised children and has a successful business. Her small catering firm specializes in delivering beautifully presented gourmet meals and finger food on demand.

The organizer of the event wants her to share her life story as a guide or inspiration.

Martha is conscious of her good fortune but also knows the starting point, or the seed, lay within her. She desired the change of circumstances so much she enabled them to happen.

WHY is Martha giving this presentation?

What's the principal purpose behind Martha's speech? What does she want her audience to think, feel or do as a result of listening to her? 

Let's put ourselves in her shoes.

She wants to:

  • motivate and inspire her audience
  • give them hope 
  • show them there is a way out of the circumstances they find themselves in

WHO is Martha's audience?

These are Martha's notes covering the key points about her audience.

  • Approximately 25 people ( number )
  • Mostly mid to late 30s (age)
  • All women (gender)
  • Mixed ethnic background but all speak English (ethnicity)
  • City dwellers (uniting factor)
  • Mostly work inside the home (uniting factor)
  • Many have children (uniting factor)
  • Interested in achieving work/life balance for themselves and their families and in particular a better financial situation (interest/uniting factor)
  • All belong to the same church group (uniting factor)

WHAT are you going to talk about?

Write down the title and/or type of speech you have been asked to prepare. Now using your notes from the WHO section of your brainstorm, begin another set.

This time you are looking to see how WHAT you're going to talk about can be specifically shaped to meet and serve the interests of your audience.

Let's look at an example of WHAT

How does martha shape her life story to fit her audience.

She doesn't want to overwhelm them with information so they can’t think straight or digest it. That will turn them off.

They will think it’s too difficult and beyond them. They may listen, be interested, but they won’t  identify  with it.

She wants them to feel they can take from her experience and use it to enrich their own lives.

Her notes for WHAT may look like this:

  • S peech Title How to win a future for your family when the kids need feeding and the bills want paying.
  • Content - main points
  • I am like you – I get too busy to plan ahead, I have a tendency to deal with what or whoever squeals loudest, I get tired …
  • Before and after – life before I made the decision to start my own business – life after I made the decision. Comparisons – several examples.
  • The hardest part of making the decision and acting on it was … Examples.
  • The best part of making the decision … Examples. People who inspired me to act.
  • What I’ve learned in the process about my family, others and myself … Examples.
  • How I keep myself inspired … goal setting, listening and learning from others
  • The future – a possible way forward for you, the women in the audience listening.

It’s not a speech yet but you can see the beginnings of its shape and how she’s used her knowledge of the audience to ensure giving them something they’ll enjoy listening to and identify with.

How? (How long will I speak for? How will I deliver my speech?)

There are two important 'hows' to consider.

1. How long have I got to speak?

The first is HOW long have I got to speak.

The time allocation you have been given will determine what you put into your speech and what you will leave out.

If you have a relatively short time, 3-5 minutes, you will need to either focus on one major topic with examples to illustrate or settle for covering a maximum of three lightly.

The purpose of your speech and your audience will help you make the most relevant choice. A longer time gives you more freedom to develop several ideas/themes fully.

2. How will I deliver my presentation?

The second 'how' relates to the method of presentation. HOW will you deliver this speech?

For example:

  • Will this be a speech told with humor?
  • Will you have a 'show and tell'? (This is when you take objects relevant to your speech to illustrate your points. It could be photographs or other items if they are suitable to transport.)
  • Could you give a demonstration?

Shaping delivery to meet different learning styles

When you consider this 'how' bear in mind the different needs of your audience. Most people have a preferred mode for receiving information. That is their learning style.

Some people understand well through listening. They are called 'auditory'.

Some people get most of their understanding through looking. They are called 'visual'.

Others receive and understand information best when they can touch, feel or do what is being explained to them. These are the 'kinesthetics'.

Most of us have a preference for one or two modes. For instance, I am 'auditory' and 'visual'. I want to hear and see.  

A considerate speaker tries to include all three modes (learning styles) in their speech.

(For more on catering for learning styles with examples see the foot of the page.)

Delivery and time are yoked together

How you to choose to deliver your presentation is governed by the time you have available. If it is short, you may have to leave out a 'show and tell' or a demonstration but you will always be able to include something to meet all three modes satisfactorily.

'HOW' example from Martha's brainstorm notes 

Let’s return to Martha’s Notes to see what she does with the 'how' segment of her brainstorm.

How long? Time available = 10 minutes. (Maybe a little more but that depends on the rest of the agenda of the meeting and how well it flows. Could be some space for questions from the audience and answer.)

How to present? Definitely with humor! Also take some fliers, business cards and samples of finger food along. These can be available for people to pick up at the end of the presentation.

WHEN will this speech be given?

WHEN has two aspects you'll want to take into consideration.

The first is the actual date you have to have it ready for delivery. That lets you know how much time you have for preparation. Is it three weeks, six weeks, or two days?

You'll use that information to plan your workflow. For example, allocating yourself one week to get your preliminary outline and any research required, completed.   

The second aspect is the actual time of day and season you deliver a speech. This can have an impact on what you do and say.

For example: You can use an early bird start in the middle of winter on a wet Monday morning effectively by acknowledging the efforts people have made to be there, and by making sure the heaters are on and there's hot coffee available.

Finding ways of tying in what is happening in the 'here and now' is a good way to connect with your audience.

A word of warning : Be conscious about presenting difficult or challenging material when people are either both tired and hungry (just before lunch or dinner) or when they’ve just eaten! Concentration spans are not at their best in either situation. If possible save this type of content for a mid-morning or afternoon slot.

Martha’s Notes, WHEN:  2.45pm, Wednesday, 2nd August – Summer heat

WHERE will this presentation take place?

The environment/room/space you are to speak can play a big role in shaping the final presentation of your speech.

Points to consider are:

  • Where will I be in relation to the audience?
  • Will they see me easily?
  • Will they hear me easily?
  • Do I need a microphone?
  • Is there a place to put notes if I’m using them?
  • Where can I set up my samples for people to take them easily?
  • Are there power points if I want to use any electronic devices?
  • Do I have to provide everything I want to use (e.g.: computer, screen, leads…)?

Many fully prepared, beautifully rehearsed speeches fail because insufficient thought has gone into where they are to take place.

It’s no fun when people can neither see nor hear you or the carefully thought through demonstration is stymied through lack of an electric socket in the right place!

Martha’s Notes, WHERE: Church meeting room. It can seat everybody comfortably and there’s room for a table to put out a display of fliers and trays of food, paper napkins etc. Arrange the chairs in a horseshoe or semi-circle so everybody can see clearly.

Pulling the brainstorm notes together in an outline

Once you've worked your way through making notes under your WHY, WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHEN, and WHERE headings, you're ready for the next step.

That's picking and choosing, then re-ordering and re-writing the material you've taken from the WHAT and HOW segments of your brainstorm until you're satisfied it flows well and meets your speech purpose.

After you’ve completed outlining your speech, you’ll be ready to do any extra research required, and then you’re on to the task of writing your speech.

Martha's completed outline

Here's Martha’s Finished Outline as an example. 

Speech length : 15 minutes with extra time for a 'Question and Answer' session at the end of the presentation.

Speech title : How to win a future for your family when the kids need feeding, and the bills want paying

Introduction (2.5 minutes): Thanks for coming today … Summer heat, we’d all rather be at beach reading a book under a sun umbrella….etc. But I hope I’ve got something for you that’ll more than make up for it. I look around the hall and I see a lot of women just like me: women, who work hard, love their families, etc., … want the best for them.

(Insert anecdotal humor, perhaps a small personal story about credit cards. For instance, the only way I could manage them was to banish them the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. Or use them to test how sharp my scissors were.)

Main Idea 1 (3 minutes): Introduce business and what it is.

Explain how it functions on a daily basis. Briefly outline long-term goals.

(Quick show-and-tell with flyers and food. Invite people to sample at end and ask questions.)

Main idea 2 (3.5 minutes): My life before the business (tie to women in audience). My life after business started. What I have achieved. The hardest part about starting, staying in business. The best part about starting, staying in business. People who have inspired me.

Main idea 3 (3.5 minutes): What I’ve learned in the process about my family, others and myself … Examples. How I keep myself inspired … goal setting, listening and learning from others

Summary : (2.5 minutes): Very quick round up of principal points. The future – the way forward for you, the women in the audience listening. Invite questions if time. Remind them about the fliers and the food! Thank organizers.

Summary - Core speech planning questions

That’s it! Very short, sweet and simple.

There’s nothing magical about planning your speech. It's just methodical: one-step-after-another. If you find yourself flustered go back to the core brainstorm headings and ask yourself the key questions once more.

  • WHY am I giving this presentation? What is my purpose?What do I want my audience to do, think, or feel as a result of having heard me speak?
  • WHO is this speech for?
  • WHAT am I going to tell them that’s relevant and interesting?
  • HOW long is the speech expected to be?
  • HOW am I going to present it?
  • WHEN is the speech for? (Date, day, time, season)
  • WHERE is the speech going to happen? (Hall, outdoors, stadium…)

Write your answers down and let them be your guide.

Remember this is not your finished speech.

It’s your outline * : a map of what you’re going to cover.

Don’t spend too much time trying to get it perfect. You’ll want that energy for researching, writing and rehearsing!

And guess what is coming up next?

* If you'd like more about outlining a speech, including a printable outline template to use, go to sample speech outline .

Getting from planning to delivery

Here are links to articles on:

  • how to research your speech . The reasons for research are discussed under the heading below -"When and What to Research"
  • how to write your speech
  • how to prepare and use cue cards. The benefits of using cue cards over reading from a word-for-word script are enormous. Because you are freed from having to focus on your notes you can interact with your audience directly. Your speech becomes more spontaneous and "in-the-moment".
  • how to use story telling to enrich your speech . Do consider weaving your personal stories into your speech. They add tremendous audience appeal. 
  • how to use props. If you're planning a "show and tell" type speech, this page is essential reading.
  • how to rehearse. Rehearsal will lift your speech from ordinary to extraordinary. You'll find out privately where the glitches are, rather than publicly. It gives you an opportunity to refine your delivery.  I think it's absolutely essential!  

When and what to research

If you already know your subject thoroughly, inside out, back to front and sideways, there will be no need to research and you can skip this part of planning your speech.

BUT if you don’t, the outline should point up the gaps needing to be filled with specific information.

In our example it there seems little need for Martha to do any further research, as this speech is her personal story.

However, there are a number of ways she could strengthen her speech and add real benefits for her audience.

For example: she could bring along fliers from local training institutions providing courses especially geared for women setting up business on their own or she could provide a list of business women in the community willing to mentor and advise women in start-ups. A reading list would be helpful, as would a resource list.

All of these ideas need researching before presenting.

Careful research adds authority to your work. It shows care, thought and dedication to getting it right. Your audience will appreciate and respect you for it.

NB. If you are presenting material as fact rather than as opinion, check it! Make sure you know rather than think you know. If you can’t find out, then say so.

PS. Remember those modes or preferred learning styles?

Did you pick how Martha planned to meet each of them in her outline?

For the 'auditory' learners she would tell her story using her voice in a lively, interesting-to-listen-to way! Nothing turns an auditory focused person's ears off faster than a monotone drawl.

For the 'visual' people, she would provide fliers and food to see. Plus her appearance and body language would 'say' to them, this is a vibrant, purpose-filled person who loves what she does.

And lastly, she would use 'word pictures' to illustrate the points she made in her speech. The 'visual' would literally 'see' where she was coming from by using their imagination to recreate her images in their own minds!

For the 'kinesthetics', Martha planned to actively tell her story. She would use vivid 'action' words describing how she did things.

Example: ' I started a business.'  is bland. It doesn't communicate any of the effort or feelings involved.

By contrast: ' I started my own business. What a journey! I know you've watched your children learning to walk. Well, that was me! I fell. I skinned my knees and bruised myself. I got up, took two steps and crashed again...'

You get the idea. This is action, living and real.

The 'kinesthetic' folk will appreciate and know what she is talking about.

Additionally, Martha's fliers and food will appeal too. They can hold them, actively read the fliers and taste the food.

Lastly, they will be aware of what Martha does while she's talking to them. Is she conveying energy, excitement and action in her body language? If so, she'll have them with her!

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what are the steps of writing a speech

Project Charisma main logo

How to Write a Speech: My Simple 6-Step Formula

what are the steps of writing a speech

Ed Darling 9 min read

What you’ll learn:

  • Why great speechwriting requires a structure.
  • My exact 6-step speech structure you can steal.
  • How to start and end your speech strong.

man learning how to write a speech

How to write a speech, the easiest way possible.

How? By following a simple frame-work that’s powerful and versatile.

Whether you have a work presentation, keynote talk, or best man’s speech – by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to write a speech, and in what order.

I’m Ed, a public speaking coach and co-founder of Project Charisma . I help professionals, leaders and business owners to speak in public, and this is the #1 speech framework that I share with all of my clients.

I ’ll walk you through the process of how to write a speech step-by-step , explaining each section as we go. I’ll also give you some examples of how this would look in different types of speech.

The first step is something 99% of people miss.

PS. Check out our specific speech guides on:

Delivering a Business Pitch

Giving a Best Man Speech

Step 1. Find your speech's "Golden Thread"

The first lesson in how to write a speech is setting a clear objective from the get-go — so that what you write doesn’t end up being vague or convoluted.

Afterall, If you don’t know exactly what your speech is about, neither will your audience.

To avoid this, we’re going to begin by defining our “Golden Thread”. 

This is the key idea, insight or message that you want to get across. Like a thread, it will run throughout your speech, linking each section together in a way that’s clear and coherent.

To help you figure out your Golden Thread, try answering these two questions:

  • If you had to summarise your speech into a single sentence, what would that be?
  • If your audience could leave remembering only one thing, what would that be?

Golden Thread examples: A work presentation: “Customer referrals can be our our super-power”

A motivational speech: “Don’t let circumstances define you”

For a wedding/event speech: “Enjoy the journey together”

Speech Writing Tip:

Your Golden Thread isn’t something you share with the audience. You don’t start your speech by saying it out loud. Rather, it’s something we define in the preparation phase to clarify your own thoughts and ensure everything that comes next makes sense. 

That said, your Golden Thread may double-up as the perfect speech title, or memorable catch-phrase. In which case it’s fine to use it within your speech as a way to drive-home the overall message. 

Think of MLKs famous “I have a dream” speech . The Golden Thread would be his dream of a future with equality — a core idea which ran throughout the speech. But the exact phrase “I have a dream” was also spoken and repeated for effect.

Ready to feel confident while speaking in public? Join our next 1-Day Public Speaking Masterclass

public speaking course in manchester

Step 2. Start with your Hook

Now we get into the nitty-gritty of how to write a speech.

The Hook is the first thing you will actually say to the audience – usually within the first 10-30 seconds of your speech.

Most people start a speech by introducing themselves and their topic:

“Hello everyone, I’m John from accounting, today I’ll be talking about our quarterly figures” . 

It’s predictable, it’s unimaginative, it’s starting with a yawn instead of a bang.

Instead, we’re going to open the speech with a hook that gets people sitting up and listening.

A hook can be anything that captures attention, including a:

  • Relevant quote
  • Interesting statistic
  • Intriguing question
  • Funny anecdote
  • Powerful statement

Watch how Apollo Robbins opens his TED talk with a question-hook to engage the audience.

Whichever type of hook you use, it needs to be short, punchy and ideally something that builds intrigue in your audience’s mind. Depending on the type of speech, your hook might be humorous, dramatic, serious or thoughtful. 

For an in-depth guide on how to write a speech with a great hook, I highly recommend our article on 9 Killer Speech Openers.

H ook examples:

A work presentation: “What if I told you we could increase revenue by 35%, without any additional ad-spend?”

A motivational speech: “At the age of 30, my life was turned upside down – I was jobless, directionless, and depressed”

For a wedding/event speech: “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell! – so said Joan Crawford” 

Speech Hook Tip:

Don’t rush into things. Hooks work infinitely better when you pause just before speaking, and again just after.

Step 3. The Speech Introduction

We’ve captured attention and have the whole room interested. The next step is to formally introduce ourselves, our speech, and what the audience can expect to hear. 

Depending on the situation, you can use your introduction as an opportunity to build credibility with your audience. If they don’t know you, it’s worth explaining who you are, and why you’re qualified to be speaking on this topic.

The more credibility you build early on, the more engagement you’ll have throughout the speech. So consider mentioning expertise, credentials and relevant background.

In other situations where people already know you, there may be less need for this credibility-building. In which case, keep it short and sweet.

Intro examples:

A work presentation: “Good morning everyone, I’m Jenny from the Marketing department. For the past few months I’ve been tracking our referrals with a keen-eye. Today, I want to show you the numbers, and explain my plan double our referrals in the next 6 months”

A motivational speech: “Ladies and gentlemen, at the age of 40 I’m a speaker, an author and a teacher – but my life could have turned out very differently. Today, I want to share with you my story of overcoming adversity.”

For a wedding/event speech: “Good afternoon everyone, I’m Luke the Best Man. I can’t promise anything quite as poetic as that quote, but I’d like to say a few words for the Bride and Groom”.

Speech Intro Tip:

 In certain situations, your introduction can also be a time to give thanks – to the event organisers, hosts, audience, etc. But always keep this brief, and keep focused on your message.

Step 4. The Speech Body

The body of the speech is where you share your main stories, ideas or points. The risk for many speakers here is that they start meandering. 

One point leads to another, which segues into a story, then a tangents off to something else, and before we know it, everyone’s confused – definitely not how to write a speech.

Remember, clarity is key.

For this reason, wherever possible you should aim to split the body of your speech into three distinct sections. 

Why three? Because humans tend to process information more effectively when it comes in triads . Making it easier for you to remember, and easier for your audience to follow.

The most obvious example of this is the classic beginning, middle and end structure in storytelling .

You can also use past, present and future as a way to take people on a journey from “where  we used to be, what happens now, and what the vision is going forwards”.

Or even more simple, break things up into:

  • Three stories
  • Three challenges
  • Three case-studies
  • Three future goals

Of course, It’s not always possible to structure speeches into three sections. Sometimes there’s just more information that you need to cover – such as with a technical presentation or sales pitch.

In this case, I recommend thinking in terms of chapters, and aiming for a maximum of 5-7. Ensure that each “chapter” or section is clearly introduced and explained, before moving on to the next. The more content you cover, the greater the need for clarity.

Body examples:

A work presentation: “We’ve discovered that referrals happen when we get three things right: building the relationship, delighting the customer, and making the ask – let’s look at each of these stages.

A motivational speech: “I don’t believe our past has to dictate our future, but in order to tell my story, let me take you back to the very beginning.” For a wedding/event speech: “Of all the most embarrassing, undignified, and downright outrageous stories I could think of involving the Groom, I’ve whittled it down to three, which I think sum up why this marriage is destined for a long and happy future. It starts back in high-school…”

Speech Body Tip:

I mention “chapters” because when reading a book, there’s a moment to reflect after each chapter as we turn the page. In the same way, when speaking, make sure to give your audience a moment to process what you’ve just said at the end of each section, before moving on to your next point. 

Ready to speak with confidence ? Explore our training options...

Step 5. the conclusion.

Now it’s time to bring everything together, guiding your audience to the key conclusions you want them to take away.

Depending on your speech, this could be an idea, an insight, a moral, or a message. But whatever it is, now is your time to say it in a clear and compelling way.

Watch David Eagleman use a thought-provoking metaphor and rhetorical question to wrap up his TED talk on senses.

This final conclusion should always link back to your Golden Thread, making sense of everything that’s come before it.

Answer the following questions as prompts (you could even say one of these out-loud to lead into your conclusion)

  • What is the message I want to leave you with?
  • What have we learned from all this?
  • What is the key take-away?

Conclusion examples:

A work presentation: “So what have we learned? When we get each of these steps right, our customers are eager to give us referrals, and those referrals usually result in more happy clients.”

A motivational speech: “My journey has had many ups and downs, but if there’s one lesson I’ve learned – it’s that our circumstances don’t dictate our direction, that we can come back from failure, and find a way to win” For a wedding/event speech: “So what can I say about the Bride and Groom? They’re clearly made for each other and if history is anything to go by, their future will be full of many more stories and adventures.”

Speech Conclusion Tip:

Never use your conclusion to apologise for yourself, explain a whole new idea, or be overly thankful to everyone for watching. Keep it professional, and keep it focused on hammering-home the main idea of the speech.

6. The Call To Action, or Call To Thought

You’ve concluded your message and summarised your main points. At this point, most people think the speech is done.

Not so fast — there’s one final key step we need to take, the Call to Action .

If you’ve followed the steps so far on how to write a speech, your audience should have been listening, learning, and hopefully now feel inspired by your words. 

We’ve built up the potential for some kind of action , and now all that’s left is to direct that energy into a clear “next step” they can take.

Imagine your audience are thinking “what should I do with this information”?

Your CTA is the direct answer to that question.

It should be clear, simple and ideally – something they can act on quickly. For instance, you may request the audience to download an app you’ve discussed, connect with you online, sign up for a service, or come and speak with you afterwards.

Not every speech suits a CTA however, which is where the CTT comes in. 

This is a great variation I picked up from Justin Welsh which stands for “ Call to Thought ”. It’s a more nuanced action – typically asking people to reflect on an idea, consider a specific issue, or think differently about something. 

C TA/CTT examples:

A work presentation (CTA): “As an immediate next step to get us started, I’d like everyone to reach out to your current clients this week, and ask them to refer one new customer. We’ll be tracking the results, and rewarding the winning referral rain-maker!”

A motivational speech (CTC): “So ask yourself, where are you allowing circumstances to hold you back, and how could your life change if you took a new direction?”

For a wedding/event speech (CTA): “With that said, I’d like to raise a toast to the Bride and Groom. Now enjoy the day, and get yourself a drink at the bar!”

Speech CTA/CTT Tip:

Once you’ve stated your CTA/CTT, the only thing left to do is thank people and finish. Don’t be tempted to back-track and start repeating any of your points. It’s time to get off stage!

How to write a speech using this framework.

Without a framework to guide you, it’s easy to get lost in analysis-paralysis, or worse, create a speech which gets everyone ELSE lost. 

Now that you’re armed with this foolproof formula and know exactly how to write a speech, you can approach the situation with confidence . 

  • Define your speeches Golden Thread.
  • Hook your audience in the first 10-30 seconds.
  • Introduce yourself while building credibility.
  • Divide your body into three clear sections.
  • Conclude your main points and drive-home the message.
  • Leave them with an inspiring CTA/CTT.

Even as an inexperienced speaker, by following this formula you’ll come across with the clarity and credibility of a professional.

R emember, public speaking is simply a skillset that requires practice . The more you use this speech framework, watch other speakers in action, and gain practical experience, the more your communication skills will naturally develop. 

I hope learning how to write a speech using this frame-work makes the process of writing your next speech a breeze.

Need any further help with how to write a speech? Feel free to reach out.

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Grow » thrive, 7 steps to writing a great speech.

These seven steps will help you write a memorable and effective speech.

 Person giving a speech to a group of people.

If you’re preparing for a presentation, the work really begins when you sit down to write your speech. A great speech will engage the audience and can lead to greater personal and professional success. Here are seven steps to writing an effective speech.

Know what your core message is

When preparing to write a speech, you want to start by thinking about the core message you want to share. Your core message should be a topic you’re knowledgeable and passionate about and one that’s relevant to your audience.

The topic should be delivered in a way that’s easy to understand and concise. Ideally, your audience should be able to explain what the speech was about in just one or two sentences.

Think about your audience

Next, you want to learn as much as possible about your audience because this will inform how you deliver the speech. The language you use and the examples you share will depend on the audience you’re speaking to.

As you learn more about your audience, you want to consider the circumstances that brought them together. Are they gathering for a business conference, or is it for a charity event? How big will the audience be, and how knowledgeable are they about the subject you’re speaking on?

[Read more: How to Give a Great Presentation ]

Do your research

The amount of research you complete will depend on how familiar you are with your topic. But even if it’s a topic you know inside and out, it’s a good idea to do at least some research. This will help you gather new information and come up with unique and fresh ideas.

The amount of research you complete will depend on how familiar you are with your topic. But even if it’s a topic you know inside and out, it’s a good idea to do at least some research.

Come up with an outline

Now it’s time to organize your information and ideas into a detailed outline. Organizing your information will make it easier once it’s time to sit down and write the speech. Your outline should include three main parts:

  • Introduction : The introduction sets the stage for the information you’ll be sharing. It’s a good idea to start with a story that will catch your audience’s attention. From there, you can outline what you’ll be sharing and the conclusion you’ll reach.
  • Body : The body of your speech is where you’ll highlight the overarching points you’re trying to make. But be careful not to throw too much information at your audience — two to three main points are enough.
  • Conclusion : During the conclusion, you’ll summarize your core message and what the audience should take away from the speech. Look for ways to end your speech on a strong note, so the audience understands why this topic matters and how they can take action.

Write a draft

Once you have an outline, you can begin drafting your speech. Don’t try to make your speech perfect during the drafting stage — just try to get your ideas on paper. You can come back to revise and improve your speech later.

Choose a presentation tool

If you’re speaking in a professional setting, you’ll likely want to compliment your speech with a presentation tool like PowerPoint. Using a slide deck is a great way to add a visual element to your speech that will further engage the audience. Using a template can make it easier to develop a well-designed slide deck.

[Read more: 6 Business Presentation Tools for Small Businesses ]

Practice and revise

Great speeches take time to write, so you should plan to practice and revise your speech as needed. You can practice your speech in front of a friend or family member, ask for their feedback, and then adjust your speech accordingly.

As you’re revising, focus on using conversational language and short sentences. Look for any areas that are too general or vague, and try to come up with specific examples that will back up your core message.

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5 Tips on How to Write a Speech Essay

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When figuring out how to write a speech, the essay form can offer a good foundation for the process. Just like essays, all speeches have three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

However, unlike essays, speeches must be written to be heard as opposed to being read. You need to write a speech in a way that keeps the attention of an audience and helps paint a mental image at the same time. This means that your speech should contain some color, drama, or humor . It should have “flair.” Make your speech memorable by using attention-grabbing anecdotes and examples.

Determine the Type of Speech You're Writing

Since there are different types of speeches, your attention-grabbing techniques should fit the speech type.

Informative  and instructional  speeches inform your audience about a topic, event, or area of knowledge. This can be a how-to on podcasting for teens or a historical report on the Underground Railroad. It also can relate to health and beauty, such as "How to Shape Perfect Eyebrows," or hobby-related, such as "Make a Great Bag Out of Old Clothing."​

Persuasive  speeches attempt to convince or  persuade  the audience to join one side of an argument. You might write a speech about a life choice, such as, "Abstinence Can Save Your Life," or getting involved in the community, such as "The Benefits of Volunteering."

Entertaining  speeches entertain your audience, and topics may not practical. Your speech topic could be something like, "Life Is Like a Dirty Dorm," or "Can Potato Peels Predict the Future?"

Special occasion  speeches entertain or inform your audience, like graduation speeches and toasts at celebrations.

Explore the different types of speeches and decide what speech type fits your assignment.

Craft a Creative Speech Introduction

Thoughtco.com / Grace Fleming

The introduction of the informative speech should contain an attention-grabber, followed by a statement about your topic. It should end with a strong transition into your body section.

As an example, consider a template for an informative speech called "African-American Heroines." The length of your speech will depend on the amount of time you have been allotted to speak.

The red section of the speech in the graphic provides the attention-grabber. It makes audience members think about what life would be like without civil rights. The last sentence states directly the purpose of the speech and leads into the speech body, which provides more details.

Determine the Flow of the Body of the Speech

Thoughtco.com / Grace Fleming

The body of your speech can be organized in a number of ways, depending on your topic. Suggested organization patterns include:

  • Chronological: Provides the order of events in time;
  • Spatial: Gives an overview of physical arrangement or design;
  • Topical: Presents information one subject at a time;
  • Causal: Shows cause-and-effect pattern.

The speech pattern illustrated in the image in this slide is topical. The body is divided into sections that address different people (different topics). Speeches typically include three sections (topics) in the body. This speech would continue with a third section about Susie King Taylor.

Writing a Memorable Speech Conclusion

The conclusion of your speech should restate the main points you covered in your speech and end with a memorable statement. In the sample in this graphic, the red section restates the overall message you wanted to convey: that the three women you've mentioned had strength and courage, despite the odds they faced.

The quote is an attention-grabber since it is written in colorful language. The blue section ties the entire speech together with a small twist.

Address These Key Objectives

Whatever type of speech you decide to write, find ways to make your words memorable. Those elements include:

  • Clever quotes
  • Amusing stories   with a purpose
  • Meaningful transitions
  • A good ending

The structure of how to write your speech is just the start. You'll also need to finesse the speech a bit. Start by paying attention to your audience and their interests. Write the words you'll speak with passion and enthusiasm, but you also want your listeners to share that enthusiasm. When writing your attention-grabbing statements, make sure you are writing what will get their attention, not just yours.

Study Famous Speeches

Gain inspiration from others' speeches. Read famous speeches and look at the way they are constructed. Find things that stand out and figure out what makes it interesting. Oftentimes, speechwriters use rhetorical devices to make certain points easy to remember and to emphasize them. 

Get to the Point Quickly

Remember to begin and end your speech with something that will gain and hold the attention of your audience. If you spend too much time getting into your speech, people will zone out or start checking their phones. If you get them interested immediately, they will be more likely to stick with you until the end.

Keep It Conversational

How you deliver the speech is also important. When you  give the speech , think about the tone you should use, and be sure to write the speech in the same flow that you'd use in conversations. A great way to check this flow is to practice reading it out loud. If you stumble while reading or it feels monotone, look for ways to jazz up the words and improve the flow. 

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How to Write an Informative Speech

Last Updated: October 6, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Lynn Kirkham . Lynn Kirkham is a Professional Public Speaker and Founder of Yes You Can Speak, a San Francisco Bay Area-based public speaking educational business empowering thousands of professionals to take command of whatever stage they've been given - from job interviews, boardroom talks to TEDx and large conference platforms. Lynn was chosen as the official TEDx Berkeley speaker coach for the last four years and has worked with executives at Google, Facebook, Intuit, Genentech, Intel, VMware, and others. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,389,562 times.

An informative speech tells an audience about a process, event, or concept. Whether you’re explaining how to grow a garden or describing a historical event, writing an informative speech is pretty straightforward. Knowing the topic inside and out is key, so start by conducting thorough research. Organize your speech logically so your audience can easily follow, and keep your language clear. Since speeches are recited out loud, be sure to set aside time after writing to perfect your delivery.

Researching the Topic

Step 1 Choose a subject that interests you if the topic isn’t assigned.

  • Suppose your prompt instructs you to inform the audience about a hobby or activity. Make a list of your clubs, sports, and other activities, and choose the one that interests you most. Then zoom in on one particular aspect or process to focus on in your speech.
  • For instance, if you like tennis, you can’t discuss every aspect of the sport in a single speech. Instead, you could focus on a specific technique, like serving the ball.

Step 2 Gather a variety...

  • For example, if your speech is about a historical event, find primary sources, like letters or newspaper articles published at the time of the event. Additionally, include secondary sources, such as scholarly articles written by experts on the event.
  • If you’re informing the audience about a medical condition, find information in medical encyclopedias, scientific journals, and government health websites.

Tip: Organize your sources in a works cited page. Even if the assignment doesn’t require a works cited page, it’ll help you keep track of your sources. [3] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 3 Form a clear understanding of the process or concept you’re describing.

  • For instance, if your speech is on growing plants from seeds, explain the process step-by-step to a friend or relative. Ask them if any parts in your explanation seemed muddy or vague.
  • Break down the material into simple terms, especially if you’re addressing a non-expert audience. Think about how you’d describe the topic to a grandparent or younger sibling. If you can’t avoid using jargon, be sure to define technical words in clear, simple terms.

Step 4 Come up with a thesis that concisely presents your speech’s purpose.

  • For example, if your speech is on the poet Charles Baudelaire, a strong thesis would be, “I am here to explain how city life and exotic travel shaped the key poetic themes of Charles Baudelaire’s work.”
  • While the goal of an informative speech isn't to make a defensible claim, your thesis still needs to be specific. For instance, “I’m going to talk about carburetors” is vague. “My purpose today is to explain how to take apart a variable choke carburetor” is more specific.

Step 5 Focus on informing your audience instead of persuading them.

  • For instance, a speech meant to persuade an audience to support a political stance would most likely include examples of pathos, or persuasive devices that appeal to the audience's emotions.
  • On the other hand, an informative speech on how to grow pitcher plants would present clear, objective steps. It wouldn't try to argue that growing pitcher plants is great or persuade listeners to grow pitcher plants.

Drafting Your Speech

Step 1 Write a bare...

  • Delivering memorized remarks instead of reading verbatim is more engaging. A section of a speaking outline would look like this: III. YMCA’s Focus on Healthy Living  A. Commitment to overall health: both body and mind  B. Programs that support commitment   1. Annual Kid’s Day   2. Fitness facilities   3. Classes and group activities

Step 2 Include a hook, thesis, and road map of your speech in the introduction.

  • For example, you could begin with, “Have you ever wondered how a figure skater could possibly jump, twist, and land on the thin blade of an ice skate? From proper technique to the physical forces at play, I’ll explain how world-class skaters achieve jaw-dropping jumps and spins.”
  • Once you've established your purpose, preview your speech: “After describing the basic technical aspects of jumping, I’ll discuss the physics behind jumps and spins. Finally, I’ll explain the 6 types of jumps and clarify why some are more difficult than others.”
  • Some people prefer to write the speech's body before the introduction. For others, writing the intro first helps them figure out how to organize the rest of the speech.

Step 3 Present your main ideas in a logically organized body.

  • For instance, if your speech is about the causes of World War I, start by discussing nationalism in the years prior to the war. Next, describe the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, then explain how alliances pulled the major players into open warfare.
  • Transition smoothly between ideas so your audience can follow your speech. For example, write, “Now that we’ve covered how nationalism set the stage for international conflict, we can examine the event that directly led to the outbreak of World War I: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. [11] X Research source

Step 4 Review your main points in the conclusion.

  • For instance, your conclusion could point out, “Examining the factors that set the stage for World War I shows how intense nationalism fueled the conflict. A century after the Great War, the struggle between nationalism and globalism continues to define international politics in the twenty-first century.”

Step 5 Write a complete draft to edit and memorize your speech.

  • Typically, speeches aren’t read verbatim. Instead, you’ll memorize the speech and use a bare bones outline to stay on track.

Avoid information overload: When you compose your speech, read out loud as you write. Focus on keeping your sentence structures simple and clear. Your audience will have a hard time following along if your language is too complicated. [14] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Perfecting Your Delivery

Step 1 Write the main points and helpful cues on notecards.

  • While it’s generally okay to use slightly different phrasing, try to stick to your complete outline as best you can. If you veer off too much or insert too many additional words, you could end up exceeding your time limit.
  • Keep in mind your speaking outline will help you stay focused. As for quotes and statistics, feel free to write them on your notecards for quick reference.

Memorization tip: Break up the speech into smaller parts, and memorize it section by section. Memorize 1 sentence then, when you feel confident, add the next. Continue practicing with gradually longer passages until you know the speech like the back of your hand.

Step 2 Project confidence with eye contact, gestures, and good posture.

  • Instead of slouching, stand up tall with your shoulders back. In addition to projecting confidence, good posture will help you breathe deeply to support your voice.

Step 3 Practice the speech in a mirror or to a friend.

  • Have them point out any spots that dragged or seemed disorganized. Ask if your tone was engaging, if you used body language effectively, and if your volume, pitch, and pacing need any tweaks.

Step 4 Make sure you stay within the time limit.

  • If you keep exceeding the time limit, review your complete sentence outline. Cut any fluff and simplify complicated phrases. If your speech isn’t long enough, look for areas that could use more detail or consider adding another section to the body.
  • Just make sure any content you add is relevant. For instance, if your speech on nationalism and World War I is 2 minutes too short, you could add a section about how nationalism manifested in specific countries, including Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Serbia.

Sample Informative Speeches

what are the steps of writing a speech

Expert Q&A

Lynn Kirkham

  • You're probably much better at informative speeches than you think! If you have ever told your parents about your day at school or explained to a friend how to make chicken noodle soup, you already have experience giving an informative speech! Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • If you get nervous, try to relax, take deep breaths, and visualize calming scenery. Remember, there’s nothing to worry about. Just set yourself up for success by knowing the material and practicing. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • When composing your speech, take your audience into consideration, and tailor your speech to the people you’re addressing. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

what are the steps of writing a speech

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Write a Speech

  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-realworldcomm/chapter/11-1-informative-speeches/
  • ↑ https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/a-primer-on-communication-studies/s11-01-informative-speeches.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/11-1-informative-speeches/
  • ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/informative-speaking
  • ↑ https://rasmussen.libanswers.com/faq/337550
  • ↑ Lynn Kirkham. Public Speaking Coach. Expert Interview. 20 November 2019.
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/how-to-outline-a-speech
  • ↑ https://wac.colostate.edu/resources/writing/guides/informative-speaking/
  • ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/structuring-speech
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/speeches/
  • ↑ https://www.speechanddebate.org/wp-content/uploads/High-School-Competition-Events-Guide.pdf
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/10-4-physical-delivery/

About This Article

Lynn Kirkham

To write an informative speech, start with an introduction that will grab your audience's attention and give them an idea of where the rest of your speech is headed. Next, choose 3 important points that you want to make to form the body of your speech. Then, organize the points in a logical order and write content to address each point. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points and ends with a message that you want your audience to take away from it. For tips on researching topics for an informative speech, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Speech Writing: How to write a speech in 5 steps

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Every great speech starts with an idea, be it for school or work or a TED talk about your area of speciality. We investigate how to get all those ideas from your head to a written speech and then back to your heart. Author of “ How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking “, Sarah Lloyd-Hughes explains the five steps of speech writing…

Even heads of state and other renowned orators have help in writing a speech. They often have professional speech writers to provide them with great content, but you too can learn not only how to talk but also how to  write  a speech like a pro.

Here are 5 steps that we take our speakers through when they’re writing a speech – and it’s the same process as we use for writing  TED  style talks.

Speech writing step 1: Get focused

TED talks famously focus on ‘one idea worth spreading’ and this is what helps them to retain their power. Before you write a single line, figure out what the ONE idea is that you’ll shape your talk around.

When your talk has a single focus you’ll see huge benefits:

  • Clarity:  For yourself and your audience.
  • Easy to pass on:  Popular talks, like Simon Sinek’s TED talk ‘ How great leaders inspire action ‘ or Ken Robinson’s TED favourite ‘ Do schools kill creativity? ‘ are utterly focused and easy to pass on because they have just one idea.
  • Powerful:  When you’re digging in one hole you get deeper, likewise with your talk you can go further with one idea.
  • Memorability:  Audiences these days are overwhelmed with ideas and information. You need to be  much  simpler than you think to stand a chance of your message being remembered.

To find your ‘idea worth spreading’ takes a little time and skill, which is why we’ve  devised a complete programme for speakers who are interested in writing  World Class  Speeches ,  like the finest TED speakers.

But if you’re just looking for a place to start, these questions will help you get going:

  • What do I want to say?
  • What effect am I trying to have by speaking?
  • If I can only put across  one  message in my speech, what will that be?
  • What is my broader purpose in speaking?

You’re looking for one idea that is clear, interesting and hasn’t been heard before. Good luck!

Speech writing step 2: Think about your audience

Ironically, most speakers completely fail to think about their audience! Yet the best speakers are intimately aware of the needs, questions and doubts facing their audience.

Ask: To whom am I speaking?  Before you start writing you first must ask yourself  Who is my audience  and  what are they seeking ? Writing a speech for a group of human rights activists would be very different to a speech for business managers. Technology engineers might have a totally different perspective on your subject than a room full of English professors.  Thinking deeply about your audience’s needs is the quality of a public speaker I call  Empathy.  It’s an important starting point on your speech writing journey.

Ask: Why should they listen to you?  Great speech writing is grounded in purpose and message. Consider what qualifies you to speak; what you have to offer the audience that they would not be able to hear from anyone else (we all have something).

Ask: What do you want to leave your audience with?  As a result of your Empathetic investigations, what would be your desired outcome as a result of the speech? Decide what your main message will be and continually return to that primary point as you compose your speech. This keeps the audience (and you) focused. As Winston Churchill said:  “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time with a tremendous whack. ”

Speech writing step 3: Build up your speech

Now you have a clear focus to your speech and an idea of how to communicate that clearly to your audience. That’s the skeleton of the speech. It’s now time to fill in that skeleton with meaty content:

  • Brain Storming.  Make lists of all the things you want to speak about. Once listed, it will be easier to cut or rearrange your points.
  • Categorize for the win.  Brainstorming should lead to a nice list with several categories. Speech writing is all about organization and finding what fits best with your audience and their needs. Think of these categories as stepping stones. Leaving a gap too large between any two stones and they will turn into stumbling blocks will sinking you and your audience. Speech writing is not very much different than writing a paper; thesis statement, support of the thesis, and a conclusion.
  • Edit for the jewels . Look for the key moments in your speech that will stimulate the hearts, minds and even stomachs of your audience. Seek the most vivid experiences and stories that you can use to make your point – these are what will make your speech stand out from all the other public speaking our there.

Speech writing step 4: Create a journey

Another key skill of speech writing is to get the right information in the right order. Think of your speech like a journey up a mountain:

Get ready for the trip (introduction).

  • The beginning of your speech is the place where you grab the attention of the audience and get them ready to go on a journey with you. For them to travel up your mountain with you they need to know where you’re going together, why it’s an interesting journey to go on and why you are a credible guide to lead them there.

Pass some interesting sights on the way (main body).

  • Keep an audience engaged for an entire speech by raising the stakes, or raising the tension as you progress through the speech. Think about contrasts between the ‘good’ and the ‘evil’ of your subject matter and contrast the two with stories, facts, ideas or examples.
  • Here you might write multiple sections to your speech, to help you stay focused. You might like to write an introduction, main body, and conclusion for each section also. All sections don’t have to be the same length. Take time to decide and write about the ones that need the most emphasis.

Reach your summit (climax).

  • The climax is the moment of maximum emotional intensity that most powerfully demonstrates your key message. Think of the key ‘Ahah!’ moment that you want to take your audience to. This is the moment where you reach the top of your mountain and marvel at the view together. It’s a powerful, but underused speech writing tool.

A speedy descent (the close).

  • Once you’ve hit your climax, the story is almost over. We don’t want to go all the way down the mountain with you, we’d much rather get airlifted off the top of the mountain whilst we still have the buzz of reaching our goal. This is what great speech writing manages time and again.
  • Strangely enough the close can be the hardest part of speech writing. Here’s where you get to hit home your action point – the key thing you want your audience to do differently as a result of listening to your speech. Often the close is where speakers undermine the power of the rest of their speech. So, write a memorable conclusion that captures the essence of your speech, give it some punch, and  stick  to it!

Speech writing step 5: Test your material

Practice your speech several times so that you can feel comfortable with the material. Try the speech out on camera or to a friend to see which parts are most powerful and which you can take the red pen to.

However skilled you are (or not) at speech writing, remember that you are the magic that makes the speech work. It’s your authentic voice that will shine to the audience them and inspire them towards your message.

Follow these speech writing tips, give it some practice and you’ll be sure to be a speech writing winner.

But I’ve collected my years of experience working with world-class conference speakers and TED speakers and distilled it into a  simple guidebook that you can access now for just £20 (+VAT) .

Ginger Leadership Communications

This showcase of inspiring female speakers is part of Ginger’s work with game changing leaders.

what are the steps of writing a speech

Speech And Debate

Speech Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How to Write a Speech - Outline With Example

By: Cordon J.

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Sep 8, 2020

How to Write a Speech

Giving a speech for a class, event or work can be nerve-wracking. However, writing an effective speech can boost your confidence level.

A speech is an effective medium to communicate your message and speech writing is a skill that has its advantages even if you are a student or a professional.

With careful planning and paying attention to small details, you can write a speech that will inform, persuade, entertain or motivate the people you are writing for.

If this is your first speech. Take all the time you need.

Like other skills, you can learn speech writing too.

Give yourself enough time to write and practice it several times for the best possible results.

How to Write a Speech

On this Page

You have a message that you want people to hear or you are preparing a speech for a particular situation such as a commemorative speech.

No matter what the case, it is important to ensure that the speech is well structured or else you will fail to deliver your effective message. And you don’t want that, do you?

You can also explore our complete guide to  write a commemorative speech . Make sure to give the article a thorough read.

How to Create a Speech Outline?

Want to write a speech your audience will remember? A speech outline is a thing you should start with.

‘How to write a speech outline?’

A speech outline is very important in helping you sound more authoritative and in control. As you write your speech outline you will have to focus on how you will introduce yourself, your topic, and the points that you will be going to cover.

A speech outline will save a lot of your time and will help you organize your thoughts. It will make sure the speech is following a proper structure and format.

Before you start writing your own speech you need to know:

  • WHO you are writing the speech for
  • WHAT the speech will be going to cover
  • HOW long it needs to be e.g if it is a 5-minute speech (then how many words in a 5-minute speech)

These speech tips will help you get on the right track from the start. Here is an example of how you can craft a speech outline.


  • Choose your topic and the main points that your speech will cover. Know your audience and get to know what they are looking for. Pay attention to their needs
  • Define the purpose of the speech and properly organize it


  • A strong statement to grab the reader’s attention
  • Refine the thesis statement
  • State something that establishes credibility
  • Provide your main idea and include some supporting statements.
  • Examples and further details (if needed)
  • Summarize the main points of the speech
  • Closing statement
  • Call to action

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How to Write an Effective Speech?

‘How to write a graduation speech?’

‘How to write a speech for school?’

‘How to write a speech about yourself?’

Get your answers in the below sections.

Just like essays, the speech also follows three sections: Introduction, the main body, and conclusion.

However, unlike essays, a speech must be written to be heard as opposed to just being read. It is important to write a speech in a way that can grab the reader’s attention and helps in painting a mental image.

It is the opening statement of a speech. It is important to know how to start a speech that can grab the attention of the audience.

‘How to write a speech introduction?’

It should include a hook-grabber statement about your topic. It should end with a strong transition from a big idea of the introduction to the main body of the essay. Some great ways to begin your speech are, to begin with, a rhetorical question, a quote, or another strong statement.

Make sure the introduction is not more than one paragraph. This will ensure you do not spend much time on the background before getting to the main idea of the topic.

The introduction is a great chance to make sure your opening is memorable as this is the point when your audience will make up their mind about you.

The Main body

The majority of the speech should be spent presenting your thesis statement and supporting ideas in an organized way.

Avoid rambling as it will immediately lose your audience’s attention. No need to share everything, instead pick some points and stick to them throughout your speech.

Organize your points in a logical manner so they support and build on each other. Add as many points as needed to support the overall message of your speech.

State each point clearly and provide all the required information, facts, statistics, and evidence, to clarify each of your points.

It is a good idea to include your personal experiences to make your speech more interesting and memorable.

Another important thing to be kept in mind is the use of transition. The purpose of adding transition words is to improve the overall flow of the information and help the reader to understand the speech structure. Words like next, then, after, before, at that moment, etc. are the most commonly used transition words to make the whole writing less choppy and more interesting.

The conclusion should restate and summarize all the main points of the speech. Because the audience will most likely remember what they have heard last. Beautifully wrap up the whole speech and give something for the audience to think about.

For an extra element, close your speech by restating the introduction statement so it feels like a complete package.

A good approach to conclude your speech is to introduce a call to action. Encourage your audience to participate in the solution to the problem that you are discussing. Give your audience some direction on how they can participate.

Practice and more practice is key to a great speech so it is important that you read your speech and listen to yourself. When writing, take care of the required length also.

Speech Topics - Engaging Topics to Choose From

You feel relief when your teacher says you are free to choose your speech topic. Feel free to write about anything you want. The problem is students still feel stuck in choosing an effective speech topic. If you are one of them, here is a list of the best speech ideas to help you get through the process.

  • What role do cats play in human’s lives
  • How to improve communication disorders
  • World’s fastest-growing country
  • Today’s world pollution rate
  • How to improve interpersonal skills
  • Are paper books better than e-books
  • Should the death penalty be abolished
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote
  • Should voting be made compulsory
  • Is it better to live together before marriage

These are some of the interesting topics that you can consider. However, if you are still not sure about the topic of your speech, you can explore our article on  informative speech topics  and pick any of your choices.

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Speech Example

Stressing over on how to write a good speech? Speech examples are sure to be your best friend for effective speech writing and its effortless delivery.

Here is a sample speech example to help you get through your own speech writing process. Explore this example and get the answer on how to give a good speech.

Get Professional Help for Your Speech

If you are good at public speaking but lack writing skills or you do not have enough time to follow the mentioned points and write a speech, don't worry.

You can always contact us at 5StarEssays.com.

We have a highly qualified and amazing team of expert writers who can help you if you want to buy speeches online with high-quality content.

Contact our " write my essay " service with your requirements. Our essay writer will provide you with quality material that your audience will remember for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best introduction for a speech.

The best way to open a speech’s introduction is, to begin with, a story. Tell an inspiring story to your audience and connect it with your personal narrative.

What is the first step of speech writing?

The first step of writing a speech is to choose a topic. Choosing a good topic is important to have an engaging and great speech.

What are the five steps in speech writing?

Here are the five steps involved in writing a speech.

  • Choose a topic.
  • Investigate your audience.
  • Built an outline.
  • Rehearse the speech.
  • Revise and finalize.

What are the types of speech delivery?

Here are the types of speech delivery.

  • Extemporaneous

What are the two P’s required for good speech delivery?

The two P’s required for proper speech delivery are Preparation and Practice.

Cordon J.

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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How to Write a Speech – Step By Step Guide (Updated for 2023)

Engage your audience with perfect speech writing.

Do you think writing a speech is a daunting task? Do you often search for tips on how to write a speech to keep your audience interested and engaged? 

If so, don’t worry! 

To compile a comprehensive speech, you need to consider the audience, length, purpose, or topic of the speech. Focusing on these factors helps you retain the audience’s interest and prevent them from dozing off. 

But there’s more you can do to deliver a thought-provoking speech. This detailed blog features helpful information about how to write a speech regardless of the purpose and occasion.

Let’s begin.

What is a Speech?

A speech serves as an excellent medium to deliver whatever message you’ve got for your audience. You can take the speech to convey ideas through communicating to a group of people. 

While writing a speech, ensure that it contains logical ideas. The speech also has sufficient evidence to support those ideas. 

Moreover, it is always written focusing on purpose or message that needs to be delivered to the audience or public. 

What Makes Speeches Different?

Writing for the public isn’t exhausting. It’s pretty similar to other types of writing. For example, you would want to communicate your message in a speech or need the audience’s attention.

However, some writing qualities might favor others, depending on the public speaking conditions. For instance, when your audience listens to you, they understand and process the information as you speak. 

So it’s essential to opt for a speech writing services for your speech to be well structured and easy to understand. More importantly, your speech information and delivery must align with the audience. 

The Purpose of a Speech

When the public gathers to listen to speakers on a particular issue, they expect you to talk about the essential information immediately. On the other hand, as a speaker, you want to have an immediate effect on your audience. 

Hence, the purpose of speaking to a group of people is to get the response you need. And most speeches encourage listeners to react in the following ways:

For example, college lectures enable students to see a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches encourage an audience to take action, and eulogy examples stimulate an emotional response from the listeners. 

Questions to Achieve your Purpose

To attain the purpose of your speech, don’t hesitate to ask yourself the following questions:

  • If you’re presenting an argument, why do you want your audience to agree to it?
  • Which points or ideas would be beneficial for your audience?
  • Do you want your audience to learn anything from your speech?

Understanding How to Write a Speech

There’s no denying that speech writing is the art of communicating your message through words. These words captivate and keep listeners engaged. If you’ve written essays, you might find it easier to compile a meaningful speech. 

But it’s imperative to understand your speech’s purpose. Factors such as required length, purpose, and analysis of the audience are necessary to consider.

It’s true that writing an effective speech is a time-consuming activity. Therefore, it’s best to follow proper guidelines and maintain the format to develop a great speech, leaving your audience to think about something significant. 

Different Types of Speeches

If you’re wondering, speech writing has three types; informative, persuasive, and special occasions. 

Before understanding how to write a speech for school or any other place, let’s discuss each type in detail.

Informative Speech

The type of speech informs and teaches your audience about a particular topic. 

Informative speeches could be a few minute-long overviews on the causes that lead to the American Revolution or an hour-long speaking session on technologies to clean space debris . 

Don’t forget that an informative speech focuses on telling facts or narrating a story, maintaining the audience’s attention.

Persuasive Speech

If you want to convince your audience about an idea, go for the persuasive speech type. 

It could be a short or long one, defining the advantages and disadvantages of a topic that favors a public office’s representative. 

When writing on persuasive speech topics, you need to use facts and opinions to convince listeners to focus on what you’re thinking. 

Special Occasion Speech

Special speeches are what you hear at funerals, parties, or weddings. You can use this type of speech to entertain and pay tribute to a person or institution. You don’t use special speech to inform your audience. They were intended to celebrate the person or place being commemorated at the occasion without the persuasion involved.

For instance, writing a eulogy speech is the perfect example of this category. It is a special speech that allows you to pay a final tribute to your loved one, perfectly by showing the love and affection in words.

How to Write a Speech Outline?

If you want to compose a speech that will create a lasting impact on your audience, you need to work on the speech outline. 

When you begin writing an outline, you will focus on introducing yourself, the topic, and the points you will be highlighting. 

Working on a speech’s outline will help you appear authoritative, save time and organize your thoughts, ensuring that you follow a proper structure. If you don’t know how to write a speech format, an outline will also give you an idea about it. 

It’s also essential to understand who you’re addressing through the speech, what the speech will cover, and how long it will continue.

Following tips will help you to know how to write a speech properly. 

01. Take Time to Write a Speech

This step enables you to choose your topic and points that your speech will address. It would be helpful if you know your audience and understand what they have been living for. 

Try to focus on their needs. More importantly, you need to define the speech’s purpose and structure it correctly. 

02. Write a Compelling Speech Introduction

To make your introduction stand out, you can opt for a strong statement and grab the audience’s attention. And you can incorporate something that builds credibility.

Take introductory lines as an opportunity to discuss something significant and keep your audience engaged. 

03. Focus on Body 

The body of your speech contains main ideas and supporting statements. You can also include examples, facts, and other essentials to compile a great speech.

04. Concluding Lines 

In the end, you need to summarize the essential points of your speech. And you need to end your speech with a relevant closing statement. If there’s a need, you can think about incorporating a call to action. 

How to Write a Speech Introduction in a Few Steps?

You can divide speech writing into different sections to make the entire process smooth and streamlined. However, you need to keep your audience in mind at each level of speech writing. 

Here’s how to write a speech considering these points.

Write a Speech with Audience Research

It’s best to know your audience before writing a speech. The more you know about your audience, the more it becomes easier to reach them. 

For example, you’re already a member of a Chamber of Commerce of your town, and you’ve started a small eatery in your neighborhood. 

You’re invited to an annual dinner where you’ve 10 minutes to speak to the audience and talk about your new venture. 

It might seem stressful if you haven’t interacted with a public gathering. However, to streamline the speech writing process, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the audience want to know?
  • Which problems do I need to solve for them?
  • Is there anything important I can incorporate in the speech for them? 

Choosing a Topic

In this scenario, you’re familiar with the topic that you’re invited to provide a overview of your business . But you’ve only 10 minutes to speak about it. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your speech short and focused.

You can create a list of strengths of your food business. Discuss challenges and how you overcome them. You will get 10 minutes, so use these minutes to highlight unique factors that help your eatery stand out. 

Research on your Topic

As a food business owner, you may be familiar with the core areas of your business and don’t need a lot of research before writing your speech. 

But it’s good to be aware of what’s going in the industry or what your competitors are up to. Therefore, spend some on research and include essential points in your speech. 

Compile your Information

This step includes writing your speech once you get the essential information. Here’s how you can ace it.

Stay Organized

Gather all information, facts, or quotes in front of your eyes. And try to be as organized as possible. You can also create an outline to ensure that you don’t miss anything. 

Focus on Using a Conversational Tone 

You need to write your speech in a tone that you use in everyday communication. Incorporate a relevant incident or humor – if it goes well with your topic.

Think about Speaker’s Notes

Your audience can’t see these notes. Therefore, you can use them for self-reminders. 

Try to Be Specific

Avoid providing unnecessary information and incorporate examples or stats to support your point. 

Keep Sentences Short

To make speaking hassle-free, it’s best to use shorter sentences with the rule of three practice. They are also easy to use and can help people to understand your point quickly. 

Choose a Presentation Tool

Depending on your topic and occasion, you can use a professional presentation tool to make the entire session visually interesting. 

Go for a Template

If you prefer, you can use a template to display eye-catching graphics. A good template design can transform an average speaking session into a memorable public speech. 

Deliver a memorable speech with our expertly crafted speeches!


Tips on How to Write a Persuasive Speech

Following tips will help you to know about how to write a speech with a persuasive tone. 

Work on Speech Introduction

You need to work on the introductory lines to keep your audience attentive. If you’re wondering how to write a speech introduction, you can think about the ways that make your listeners relate to your core points.

You can connect with your audience and get their attention by talking about concerns. Moreover, you can try starting with anecdotes to grab your audience’s attention. 

And you can also try other tactics, such as adding interesting facts, realistic stats, and asking questions to make your audience curious to listen more. 

Build a Motive or Context

As a speaker, you need to describe why your topic is significant. Talk about your purpose and factors that made you speak to a particular audience. 

Keep it Well Organized

If you don’t organize your speech, it might turn into a terrible one. Having a structured speech will keep the readers engaged and help you stick to the main points or ideas. 

When you start promisingly outlining the essential factors, challenges, and other relatable things, try to continue your speech in the same manner so that your audience will know where you’re heading and why. 

Stick to a Point

It’d be helpful if you stay relevant and focused on the topic. Don’t provide irrelevant or unnecessary information that might make your audience lose interest. 

More importantly, it takes several minutes to deliver introductory lines. If possible, try to move from introducing a body of the speech quickly to retain the listener’s interest. 

Repeat Important Factors

It’s a good idea to repeat crucial information or buzzwords , especially if your speech is long. For example, you can link an idea that you discussed initially while wrapping or concluding your speech.

Add Summaries and Previews

Adding verbal cues allows your audience to connect pieces of your speech. And they will likely connect with the rest of your speech. 

You can talk about issues in the educational system. For example, I’m here to highlight the so and so issues that have been threatening our educational system for years. 

Go for Strong Transitions

At this level, you can present new information that relates to what your audience has heard. You can always demolish a counter argument by saying, “but this argument doesn’t appear weighty when you think about…”

Use Short or Simpler Sentences

When you want your audience to remember whatever you say, use simpler and shorter sentences. You need to avoid using subordinate clauses, places, and verbs together. 

Don’t Overuse Pronouns

Listeners might need time to understand what “this” or “it” refers to. Therefore, it’s best not to use pronouns and be clear by using nouns. 

Add Rhetorical Strategies

You can incorporate rhetorical strategies of logos, pathos, and ethos to convince your audience to trust you. These strategies also make your argument stronger. 

Ethos refers to building your trustworthiness and authenticity as a speaker. When you opt for pathos, you appeal to your listener’s emotions. And logos refer to using stats and facts in the speech.

Use Quotations and Stats 

To support your perspective, it’s best to incorporate quotes and stats sparingly in your speech. This way, the words will stick to your listener’s mind for a long time. 

However, if you try to provide plenty of information, you may overwhelm your audience, and they may lose interest. 

Focus on the Tone

It’s also one of the essential factors associated with writing or delivering a thought-provoking speech. Therefore, the tone you use must align with your topic or audience. 

More importantly, you need to avoid using inappropriate humor or show over-excitement to grab the audience’s attention. 

Try to Be Memorable

It takes imagination and discipline to become a memorable speaker. As a speaker, if you’re looking for an example of a speech to appear memorable, you can consider the words of John F Kennedy from the 1961 inaugural address:

“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can do for your country.” 

Try to Be Yourself

You and your message are the same. If your audience doesn’t consider, they might resist your message. Therefore, ensure that your body language and delivery will leave an impressive impression. 

You can focus on the ways that connect you and your audience. For example, you can talk about how speaking to the public makes you nervous, and some of the attendees might even relate to it. 

Wrap Your Speech Strongly

Knowing the above points about how to write a speech, now you might be wondering about how to end a speech? 

Well, it needs to be something that your audience would always remember. You can share a success story and try to link it with the topic.

You can also make a call to action if it goes well with your topic. And it’s also a good idea to appreciate their presence and time and mention it while concluding your speech. 

Tips to Ace Public Speech

No doubt, writing a well-structured speech is necessary. But how you deliver it plays an essential role too. Here are a few things you can remember to master the art of public speaking. 

Avoid Speech Reading

You can memorize your speech if it’s a possibility for you. But it’s fine to use keynotes or outlines to avoid any inconvenience. 

However, don’t read those notes or outlines and only refer to them when you forget a fact, quote, or when you feel stuck. 

Use Interesting Visuals

If your topic allows, don’t forget to use interesting but relevant visuals. These visuals will incorporate visual elements into your public speech. 

You can find various templates to use for your speech, and if you want to showcase your project work, you can display it too.

Speak and Appear Natural

Don’t worry if you feel nervous. You need to focus on appearing as natural as possible, even after making a mistake. 

Focus on your body language, stay alert, and talk like you normally would. 

Comfortable and Professional Clothing

Wearing comfortable clothing will keep you at ease. However, ensure that whatever you wear aligns with the dress code of the occasion. 

If you aren’t sure, you can always ask the organizer. The key here is to fit in and ace your public speaking experience. 

Try to Maintain Enthusiasm

If you’re excited about your topic, your audience will likely take an interest in it too. It’s essential to maintain enthusiasm as it will keep the readers engaged. 

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Let’s accept the fact that you can’t ace public speaking overnight. Apart from appearing confident and professional, you also need to deliver the speech in the given time. 

Therefore, you need to practice getting more comfortable with your speech and learn to deliver it without exceeding the time. 

If you are a fresher, you can take a look at various speech writing templates for students available on the web. These templates provide you ease in understanding the outline and deliver a speech perfectly in front of the audience.

Speech Writing Topics 

Writing a speech for a university’s orientation or eulogy for a mother required immense effort. Choosing the right topic according to your speech type may take most of your time. 

Here’s a list of some helpful topics to help you get started with your speech.

Topics for Persuasive Speech

If you have to write a persuasive speech, you can write on the following topics:

  • Adverse effects of consuming junk food
  • Why you shouldn’t text while driving
  • A ban needs to be imposed on products containing tobacco
  • Give stiffer penalties to celebrities who break the laws
  • A society where women ride a bike without fears 

Topics for Special Occasion Speech

It’s challenging to put your emotions into a few lines or choose a topic that resonates with the occasion. You can consider the following examples:

  • Volunteer projects and their impact on students
  • I’m a proud son today
  • No longer an eligible bachelor
  • You’re a strong young woman

Topics for Informative Speech

When writing an informative speech, choose topics that interest the audience and encourage them to listen more. 

  • Marketing practices in 2023 
  • How tech will shape our lives in future
  • Tiny herbs, bigger benefits
  • Combating factors that impact public speaking

Summing it Up! 

Composing a speech won’t become a hassle if you invest time in researching a speech topic. Researching will help to get the necessary information. It’s up to you how to present that information to make your speaking session exciting and memorable. 

You can ace public speaking by focusing and working on the speech format. A well-organized speech will help your audience understand the purpose of the speech. 

Despite following the practical tips, if you still don’t know how to write a speech for script, don’t worry and consult with us. Our speech writers can help you convey your message by stating points that grab the audience’s attention.

Additional Resources:

  • How to write a best man speech
  • How to write a valedictorian speech

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