10 Tips Series – Speech Writing
|1. Know your audience||Remember that you are giving a speech to a specific group of people. Talk about what they will be interested in, or make it interesting for them. Ask yourself: if I were in the audience, would I find this interesting? Make it relevant.||You might think that ‘philosophy’ is a long and boring word. But in your lives, you use philosophy every day: what clothes should I wear, who should I date, how should I act? These are all philosophical questions.|
|2. Grab attention at the start||Use a rhetorical question at the start to engage your audience’s attention. Or ask them to do something (e.g. raise their hand, close their eyes). This will make them sit up and listen.||
I’d like to ask all of you to close your eyes and think of a special memory.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be weightless?
|3. Address your reader directly||A speech is a dialogue between you and your audience. OK, you do the talking and they do the listening. But you need to speak to them. Use the pronoun “you” to do this.||I’m sure you’re all wondering what will happen in the political landscape in the next few weeks.|
|4. Use PEE||
Since speeches are usually designed to persuade, use PEE (Point – Evidence –Explanation) to make sure your argumentation is strong.
Point – what’s your main idea
Evidence – what examples can you use to support it
Explanation – so what?
|None of us can deny the harmful effects of smoking, one of which is the fact that lung cancer is much higher among smokers. The government therefore needs to put higher taxes on cigarettes to stop the cancer epidemic.|
|5. Signpost||Use phrases that help your audience to follow where your speech is going (just in case they’ve fallen asleep!)||What do I mean by that? What I mean is…|
|6. Vary sentence length||A speech is not meant to be read. Yes, the examiner is reading it. But he’s cheating. It is meant to be heard. So you need to include features that will make it actually sound good.||
Allow me to elaborate.
[= a short sentence using direct address that we would not find in a written text]
|7. Use emotive / strong vocabulary||Don’t just talk to your audience’s heads. Talk to their hearts. Paint a picture by using words.||
Did you know that our rainforests are being decimated by loggers?
Smoking has catastrophicconsequences for children.
|8. Use repetition||Usually repetition is bad. And even in a speech it is bad if not used properly. But key words and phrases can be repeated to help the speech remain in your audience’s memory.||We want to study hard, work hardand play hard – this is the key to a successful and happy life.|
|9. Use lists||People remember things better when they are listed together in groups of three. It just helps the memory more.||The thing you have to remember about teenagers is that they’re independent, thinking, rationalhuman beings.|
|10. End where you began||Try to link the end of your speech back to the beginning.||You might remember at the start that I mentioned…|