Speechwriting refers to creating a piece of writing with the goal of delivering a message in front of an audience. Outlining a speech is a task that differs from other academic writing in several ways, including tone, structure, and content. Speeches are tailored to the intended audience and can serve different purposes: informative, instructional/demonstrative, persuasive, entertaining, and related to a special occasion. The tone is compelling and conversational, and the use of first-person point of view is allowed. In giving a speech, you may seek to elicit laughter, anger, or applause. The structure of a speech consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The opening part presents the topic and a thesis, in addition to catching the attention of the listeners through the use of a “hook”. The body of the speech discloses the main points of your message. The conclusion restates and summarizes the subject, main ideas, and thesis. In some cases, the speech may end with a call to action.
Types of Speech
Choosing the most appropriate type of speech is crucial in order to convey the message effectively. This choice depends on the purpose of the talk, and it determines the tone and mood of the paper.
- Informative speech. This type of speech aims to inform the listeners about a topic. Expressing personal opinions or providing evidence is unnecessary. An informative speech can cover any subject, from the launch of a new car line to the latest fashion trends or a groundbreaking scientific discovery.
- Instructional/demonstrative speech. Besides providing information about a topic, this type of speech aims at instructing the listeners and demonstrating how specific goals can be reached. An instructional speech can cover an almost limitless range of subjects and can be developed from either a practical or theoretical perspective. Visual aids and presentations can be used to give the speech more impact.
- Persuasive speech. This sort of speech is intended to convince the audience that a specific point of view about a subject is the most desirable. Usually, persuasive speeches relate to controversial topics; therefore, they require careful planning, especially in the case of sensitive issues and when the thesis is controversial.
- Entertaining speech. This category of talk deals with a topic proactively, with the goal of helping the audience have fun. However, the purpose of writing entertaining speeches is not just to make the listeners laugh but to go beyond amusement and induce critical thinking. Writing this kind of speech requires insight and brilliance as well as the ability to improvise.
- Special occasion speech. This type of speech is personal, inspiring, and encouraging. Special occasions include promotions, weddings, graduations, and birthdays, just to name a few. Though an outline should be carefully compiled, this variety of speech contains a strong emotional component. Hence, the speaker should not be afraid of following the feeling of the moment if appropriate according to the circumstances.
In some case, speeches can be hybrid; for example, irony can be employed in a persuasive speech to underline an idea or to evocatively mock a point of view.
Structure of Speech
As in every academic writing assignment, planning is crucial to producing a coherent and effective speech. Once you have defined the purpose, target audience, and type of speech you will write, you should outline the paper, following a framework. The typical structure of a speech consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Introduction. In this first section, you will introduce the topic, provide some appealing elements to hook the audience, state the thesis, and outline the main points of the speech. A good introduction is essential in catching the attention of the listeners, making the speech successful and effective.
- Body. This section is the biggest one. You will use it to develop the main points of the speech without losing sight of the message that you want to deliver. Each point should be identifiable and developed separately. Usually, the first and last points are the strongest. Including evidence, statistics, examples, and quotations can improve the impact of the paper.
- Conclusion. In the final section of the speech, you will reaffirm the thesis and summarize the most critical points and concepts developed in the paper. In some cases, you may choose to include compelling remarks and a call to action to conclude the speech.
The introduction, body, and conclusion should follow rigorous logic to raise interest and show that you have conducted thorough research.
Dos and Don’ts to Writing a Good Speech
Some easy tricks for producing a lively and appealing speech include the following:
- Use active verbs to make the talk more dynamic.
- Use short and concrete sentences that go straight to the point without giving the impression of manipulating the data.
- Avoid abstract concepts and excessive theorizing.
- Avoid complicated wording.
- Add some references to current events to contextualize the speech.
Other tricks belong to the psychological sphere and are related to giving the speech:
- Imagine a fictional audience when writing the text to sharpen your focus.
- Practice to gain confidence.
- Make eye contact during the speech to give the impression of reliability.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality and, in some cases, emotions.
Writing a speech targets conveying a specific message about a topic. Depending on the ultimate goal and the intended audience, you may choose one of several different types of speech, namely informative, instructional/demonstrative, persuasive, entertaining, or special occasion. A typical speech is composed of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Making use of practical and psychological tricks will allow you to produce a dynamic, proactive, appealing, and effective speech.