How to Write a Great Speech

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13391

You're ready to take on the challenge of getting up in front of an audience and giving a speech. Great! Now, what should you say? Learn the art of writing a great speech!


Interpersonal Skills, Verbal Communication

Life Skills
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Can you name some of the greatest speeches ever given?

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If you don't recognize Admiral McRaven's name, complete this lesson and decide if you agree that his speech belongs in this list!

In the first Related Lesson in this series, you learned how to overcome the fear of public speaking and embrace the challenge and adventure of sharing your thoughts with an audience!

(If you've not completed the first lesson, please find it in the right-hand sidebar and do that first.)

Although the above speeches are all different, each is very well-written and inspiring.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to write a great speech!

Speech Topic

The first step, of course, is to pick your topic. There are many websites where you can find lists of ideas, but the key is to find something that's meaningful to you.

Talk about something you know and love!

Have one simple, clear message that you want to deliver to the audience.

  • What lesson have you learned that you want to share?
  • Did you struggle with something and come up with a solution?
  • Do you have a meaningful personal story to tell?
  • Is there someone who has inspired you?
  • What experience has really shaped who you are?
  • What do you love to do? Why do you love it? What have you learned from it?

If no idea jumps out at you right away, take some time to think about each of the above questions. Write a brief answer to each one, and then choose the best of your answers.

Of course, you don't have to be limited to these questions. Just make sure there is one simple and clear theme to your speech.

Narrow and Expand Your Topic

Narrow and expand is the method used to explore a topic in greater depth.

For example, let's say you've decided to write about someone who has inspired you, your grandfather.

  • First, narrow. You probably know a lot about your grandfather, so you have to narrow down your ideas.
    • What is the main thing about him that you find inspiring?

Let's say your grandfather has a very patient nature, and he's inspired you to work on conquering your own bad temper.

  • Next, expand. Develop this idea of your grandfather's patience and control of his temper.
    • How does he show these virtues?
    • How did he develop them?
    • How has it helped him in life?
    • How does that inspire you?
    • How does it affect others?

Keep expanding until you have three to five points that you want to make about the topic.

  • List some details you can use to back up your main points. These could be stories, examples, quotes, statistics, jokes, and anything else that proves your point.

When you have all that written down, you'll have the main body of your speech planned out!

Use the following space to get started:

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Writing Your Speech

The next step is to pull all of your notes together and craft them into a speech.

Watch the following video to learn how to structure your speech. As you watch, take notes on:

  • the three parts of a speech
  • the four methods to grab an audience's attention
  • why you should you limit your points
  • how to organize your points
  • how to wrap up your speech

Speech Structure 101 from Shannon Daniels:

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You learned from the video that you'll need something in the beginning to capture the audience's attention.

Move on to the Got It? page, where you'll learn more about attention-grabbers and start writing your own!

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