Even though public speaking is one of the things people fear most, it is a great way to build confidence and your language skills at the same time. Now, you may not pen an exquisite piece destined to stir a nation (but who knows, maybe one day you will). However, you can certainly learn the basics of speech writing to serve you well in school, in business, or in any organization where you devote your time.


It all begins with planning and preparing yourself for whatever talk you wish to give, or must give. Most people cannot just ad lib or "wing it" when it comes time to talk before a group. They may feel they can, but when the time comes that they face their audience, they often freeze. The words don't flow - because there are no words prepared in advance to flow. The reservoir is dry, and so is the speaker's mouth, as he or she stands there stage-struck.

Let's look at the essentials of writing a speech. The structure of speech writing is not complicated. Devoting the proper amount of time to each element ensures you build a speech you can be confident in delivering to your audience. Additionally, the more you do this, the better you get at it. Here are those essentials:

Understand Who Your Audience Is

Are you giving a short speech as part of an academic course you're taking? Your audience will be people you know personally, your fellow students. You can gear your speech to what you know they're interested in and what they want to learn from you.

Are you giving a speech at a wedding? Again, you're audience, in part, are people you know. However, there may be many people present you do not know, so you must tailor your speech to accommodate them as well.

Your speech may be aimed at business, or it could be for a charitable organization, or part of a course.  It may involve talking to an entire group of people you've never met before, or to people you know well. Whatever the scenario, you have to understand why they're attending and what they hope to glean from your talk. You then focus your speech on meeting their needs.

Of course, to meet your audience's needs, research is vital. To ensure you present timely, relevant information to the audience who is making time to listen to you, do the necessary research. You must know your topic inside out so you can give something of value to those listening.

Make Sure Your Speech Doesn't Sound Like a Textbook

A speech is just that – speaking. It's not dry discourse akin to looking up a tome at the library. Make your sentences conversational. You want to sound natural. This makes it easier on the listener who can be easily distracted and tune out "encyclopedic talk."

Don't Try to be a Comedian

You're idea of funny may not be a lot of people's idea of funny. You hamper the pace of your speech and the general tone of it by trying to be funny…and failing. That deafening silence where you expect laughter can derail your speech.

Make Your Speech Come Alive

A speech can become dull quickly if you're just reciting data. Give examples on whatever topic you're covering. Relate stories, anecdotes, quotes, and opinions from others, even experts. Give new information concerning your topic, not rehashed information everyone already knows.

Keep your Speech Focused

Cover a few major points in your speech. Don't try to ramble off a baker's dozen of points, as your audience won't remember them all. This is especially true with shorter speeches. Even lengthier speeches limit the number of points they cover.

Keeping focused also means staying true to the theme of your speech. Don't meander into side topics or related topics. Stick with your core message. Those other side or related topics are other speeches for other days.

Restate Vital Points and Summarize Your Main Points

You can repeat important facts and such as you progress through your speech. This is your way of stressing what's important. Do this a few times in your speech and your audience attunes to what the heart of your speech really is.

At the conclusion of your speech, tie things up neatly. Reiterate your main points. You want your audience's mind resonating with the essence of your speech as they head home.

Like in essay writing, your speech will have the traditional introduction, paragraphs that develop your topic, and a logical conclusion. These are a given. The above essentials though set a speech apart from an essay. Remember, you're talking to your audience; they're not reading something you wrote.

Writing and giving a speech, while not the easiest thing to do, doesn't have to be a traumatic experience. Know your audience, your topic, and then organize your thoughts clearly on paper, based on your research. Then, when you step to the podium and stare out at your audience, you can talk naturally, knowing you're armed with quality information that will entertain and educate your listeners.