Composing speeches stumps many students, as it is quite a bit different from any other kind of academic writing. After all, a speech combines the qualities of both spoken and written word, and it may be hard to grasp how exactly one goes about working on something like this, especially since teachers and professors rarely give enough attention to explaining it. In this article, we will cover the key aspects of writing speeches for your classes so that you never experience problems with this sort of work again.
A Typical Structure of a Speech
The structure of your speech may differ depending on its topic and purpose, but most commonly, it will follow the classic “Problem-Solution” pattern. It means that a typical speech consists of two roughly delineated parts. In the first one, you describe the problem – what the situation is now, why it is so bad, what caused it, how it reflects in this or that aspect of life. In the second part, you move on to a solution – how it can be solved, what the audience needs to do in order to achieve this effect. Of course, you still should have the typical parts of any academic assignment (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion), but in a speech, they are not as strictly separated from each other as in other types of writing. After all, nobody is going to see your speech on paper, and it is how it sounds that is important, not how it reads.
The Most Important Speech Writing Tips
Entire books have been written about speech writing and how you can make your speech shine. In this article, however, we will focus on the few most effective suggestions:
- Limit yourself. Research shows that, firstly, people remember very little beyond the basic ideas from speeches, and secondly, that no matter how good a speaker you are, they get tired of listening to you very quickly. What this means is that your speech should be short (the shorter, the better) and focus on just one or two most important ideas you cannot do without. If you do not absolutely need something, remove it without regret;
- Start with a strong opening. It is always important in academic work, but doubly so in speeches. Unless you manage to grab the audience’s attention with your first one or two sentences, you have effectively lost them. Attract their attention with a question that cuts to the bone, with a controversial statement, with a powerful quotation – anything that will force them to listen to you;
- Be specific. Concrete words and specific examples keep people interested and attract their attention. Avoid vague generalities;
- Use a lot of first and second-person pronouns in your speech. You have to make it obvious that you express your opinion and engage with the audience;
- Make use of personal details and experience. The human brain is hard-wired to be interested in stories, so give the audience what they want. The best way to interest the audience is to start relating a personal experience – in other words, something they are unlikely to hear from anybody else in the world;
- Use emotive language. Your language should be picturesque and powerful. Do not limit yourself to “good” or “bad.” Things should be “terrific” or “horrible” instead;
- Think about the audience. Who are they? What are their concerns? How can you persuade them?
- Once you have finished writing your speech, deliver it in front of a test audience (even if it is just one person). Ask them how it sounds and whether you should change something. Pay special attention to the naturalness of your delivery.
Write the Way You Speak
One of the most important things that differentiate speech writing from writing per se is that here you can (and should) use spoken, not written language, something that you are strongly discouraged to do anywhere else in academic work. Write the way you speak – you are not obliged to strictly follow the rules of English grammar, so feel free to use incomplete sentences. In real life, people do not always use sentences with all the subjects, objects, and predicates they formally have to use, so do not do it in your speech either. Use contractions instead of full expressions. Avoid using long sentences – they are harder to follow. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would I say something like this in a real conversation?”
As you can see, there is nothing supernatural about writing a speech on your own if you follow a set of rules and have a plan. However, if you experience difficulties, you can always contact a reliable academic assistance service and ask them to help you. Simply say, “Write my speech for me,” and you will get all the support you need.