The art of
effective or persuasive speech writing...
The art of
effective or persuasive speech writing, especially the use of figures of speech
and other compositional techniques can be very useful when being adopted for speech
Speech writing 101: Speech topic
Having to choose a
topic for your speech may drive you into panic mode. On top of having to speak
in front of a crowd, you are expected to come up with a topic that the audience
will find both interesting and learn a thing or two from. This, however,
doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Think about it for a second. You have the
freedom to give a speech on any topic you choose! No limits! Of course, it
might sound strange at first, but the more you descend into the idea, the more
you realize that you can use the situation to your advantage.
Before you get into
it, you should know that there is no such thing as the best speech topic. It is
impossible to find a subject that interests every audience at every event.
Tips for an interesting speech topic
The occasion can
guide you on the topic you want to speak about. You should choose a topic
depending on the occasion of the event. That is, whether the mood is solemn,
professional or celebratory among others. You wouldn’t give a sad speech at a
wedding because it would appear out of place and downright weird.
Consider a topic that relates to the mood and one that is relevant to the
Do you want
to entertain the audience? Do you want to inform the audience? Or even persuade
them about a particular matter. If it is to entertain, you will need to add
some humor to your speech and make it funny. If it is to persuade the audience,
you will need to provide some reliable evidence to convince them to take
action. If it is to inform, you will need to provide relevant facts so that the
audience can learn something new about the subject.
The audience is a
very important element when selecting a speech topic. After all, they are the ones
who have to endure whatever it is you write, so making them a priority when
choosing a topic is advisable. You may not know the audience personally, but
there are common elements that are present among individuals in any audience.
These elements could be the reason why they are all at the same event. Some of
them could be; age, gender, education, hobbies or even employment, to name a
Other things to consider about the audience are:
Their level of knowledge and level of education: Consider your audience’s level
of knowledge. You wouldn’t give high school students the same speech you would
give to college students. They would probably be confused and unable to relate
to what you are speaking about.
The interests of the audience: Keep in mind what interests your audience. Try
to relate to them and make a list of all the things your audience cares about.
Your relationship to the audience: If you have a personal relationship with
your audience, then you can use a much lighter and relaxed tone. However, if
there is no personal relationship, you will need to use a more different tone
and adjust the content if the speech.
Make a list of all
the topics that are of interest to the audience so that you can narrow them
down as you move forward.
Your interests and knowledge
As with any
writing, you have to pick a topic that you find interesting. Your passion for
the topic will be visible to the audience. Do not pick a topic simply because
you think the audience might like it yet you have zero interests regarding it.
You should not pick
a topic that you know nothing about. Using the list of topics that interest the
audience, you can narrow it down to just a few topics that you are
knowledgeable and interested in. This step is all about you as the speaker. If
you are sincerely interested in a topic, the whole process of researching,
writing and delivering it will be much more pleasant.
The relevance of the topic
Another way to come
up with a good topic is by researching to see whether there is a topic that is
being debated over by the media over and over again. If it is fit for the
occasion and it might interest the audience, you should consider using it to
brainstorming to find out whether you can identify a favorable topic. Read
through current newspapers and watch the news. You can even use social media to
your advantage, as long as the issue is current and relevant.
Pick a topic you can comfortably talk about
You should be able
to deliver the speech confidently and clearly. The audience should feel like
they trust you as an authority regarding the subject. Avoid making a speech
about something you do not relate to in any way. The speech aims to give the
audience a new understanding of the topic. They should leave the venue with an
idea or two about the subject. If you do not relate to the topic in any way,
drop it and move on to another one.
You could choose
something that relates to your personal experiences if the occasion is right.
Just don’t make it too personal because you could end up making the audience
uneasy and uncomfortable or the subject could be too emotional for you. It
could be about your siblings, parents or a personal struggle that you went
through. As long as it relates to the speech it should be perfectly fine.
Topics to avoid
You should steer
clear of some topics for good reasons. Some topics might offend your audience
or just bore them to death. Pick a topic that is not too complex, and that can
be explained in a short amount of time. If you pick a complicated topic that
requires charts and diagrams, your audience will get bored, and you will lose
Also, don’t pick a
topic that is so simple that the audience understands it all in just a short
time span. They will find you predictable and lose interest altogether. After
all, they know what your whole speech is about so the audience won’t need to
sit through till the end.
Avoid topics that
are too controversial unless the occasion calls for it. You could end up losing
your audience especially if they don’t agree with your view of the subject.
Pick a topic that
is just right for the audience and you are guaranteed to keep them pinned all
the way to the end.
Elements of speech topic summary
Consider the occasion
Consider the purpose
Consider the audience
Consider your interests and knowledge
The relevance of the topic
Pick a topic you can speak about
Identify topics to avoid
successfully come up with a suitable title for your speech. What comes next is
the writing process.
It will always end
up badly when you think that the speech you will be writing about is all about
you and the words you’ll be using revolve around what you think. Why I’m I
saying this? It's because a proper
speech should focus on the end user who is the ultimate person who will decide
if your speech deserves attention and time or it’s a waste of time altogether.
A speech which is well prepared will always leave the audience more informed and
be wishing that the speech could have lasted longer, but 85% of speeches based
on research are second-rate speeches which ensure the audience is stuck to
their smartphones and unending giggling.
What are the features of speech writing?
The most important
aspect of a speech is to ensure that you have left the audience with something
worth remembering and also to ensure that you have conveyed your points in a
way that is entertaining and not boring whatsoever. Even though speeches are
meant to be informative, they should not be the source of tension and a black
cloud in the audience hall but rather the speech should ensure that its main
aim is to entertain, inform or even persuade the audience regarding a specific
point of discussion.
Tips for writing a great speech
1) Ensure that you
Ensure that you
leave something memorable when your speech comes to an end. Don’t base your
speech on empty words which don’t evoke emotions or surprise, The correct use
of idioms, metaphors, and the element of surprise all do wonders when it comes
to building blocks of a speech. In the past, many leaders have used these
aspects to come up with legendary speeches which are remembered and referred to
up to date. For example, Nelson Mandela, John F Kennedy, and even John Regan
when he said and I quote
"You and I
have a rendezvous with destiny. We'll preserve for our children this, the last
best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a
thousand years of darkness."
A memorable quote
from his speech can be seen to utilize aspects of inclusion. That's where the
speech specifies that the audience is part of what is being discussed by the
use of “You and me” and it ends with the usage of a metaphor where he says “or
we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
This quote was a memorable one, and it was well used as per the speech at that
time, but it has left a mark until now in History.
2) Have a Proper
A proper speech has
a definite path; meaning, the speech must have a specific plan that the
audience can easily follow and understand what is going on. For instance, when
you want to persuade your audience as a speaker, then it’s easier to use a
problem-solution structure which starts by discussing the problem within 5
minutes or less and by discussing the problem at length. Then, follow up with
providing a solution including the advantages of the solution to the audience
which will be followed by a call to action meaning something the audience can
do with regards to the problem. The same applies to when you want to discuss a
contentious area of discussion-you will need to use the residues method which
means discussing the solutions presented by partisan parties in depth than at
the end giving your solution to the problem without necessarily taking sides. I
won’t discuss all the structures here, but as a speaker or being the one giving
the speech, you need to provide a clear path to your audience and do not drift
from the main topic especially when giving examples since that is the point
which most speakers drift and confuse the audience. Drifting when giving a
speech will always kill the speech.
3) Don’t Waste the
Your time to read
that speech is here, and you walk on the stage with your confidence right and
everything check. It’s that time of the hour you have been waiting for and not
only you, but the audience also is ready, and everyone is clapping as you hold
on to that microphone. Immediately after you are done with the first welcoming
message then you suddenly realize that three people have walked out, there is a
bit of murmuring, and people have started fiddling with their phones. The
audience is doing everything but also closely paying attention to you. The way
you will open your speech has a lot to do with the way the audience will react
as you move forward with your speech and you can do this the right way by
starting with a striking quote, acute silence for seconds or less, a question, facts and
statistics, just anything that will steal your audience attention for the time
you will be on stage. Enjoy as you move on from the high note and smoothly
engaging the audience.
4) Capture the
Adopting the right
tone for your speech is one of the right things to do even before you determine
what you are going to put forward to your listeners. Therefore, before you even
start typing; get the right tone for your audience depending on their age,
social status and other factors that align with the audience since it’s all
about your listeners.
5) End Strong
determines a lot. In fact, this is what people will talk about immediately they
leave that hall door. Therefore your ending should call people to action, and
this can be done by ensuring that you end with a memorable quote, recapping
your main point and ensuring you have repeated it over and over again. By
making sure you have stressed your point or the idea to your audience and
making sure that your audience understands how important the main point is then
you will ensure that your message is well delivered and you have put a smile on
your listeners. That’s when you know that your speech was a success and your
audience has a sense of hope and purpose.
6) Keep it Short
self-explanatory, and as you understand, no one wants to spend time listening
to a particular person for 5 hours, and if I can remember well if a lecturer
decided to extend the lecture, then all the students ended up switching off and
pulled out their smartphones. There is nothing worse than prolonging something
especially a speech. Therefore, ensure that you have a schedule and do not
extend your speech. Be concise and to-the-point and avoid drifting from the
main point and don’t forget that the time is limited and it’s not your time but
Speech writing process steps
1. Be Memorable
2. Have a Structure:
3. Don’t Waste the Opening
4. Strike the Right Tone
5. End Strong
6. Keep it Short