Writing and making a speech

The key to a good speech is the theme. You must have a clear theme and you should always refer back to this theme throughout your speech. If you succeed in this, your audience will respond positively and remember your words. The aim of the speech is to persuade, inspire and move the listeners. A speech will use:

  • Repetition: words and phrases will be repeated to underline points and give a sense of rhythm to the spoken text
  • Figurative language: similes, metaphors etc. that make important comparisons and appeal to the listener’s emotions
  • Direct questions asking for an answer
  • Rhetorical questions designed to highlight the issue or theme
  • Points of reference (other speeches, events, persons and sources) that support the speaker’s view
  • Use of rhythm to appeal to the listener
  • Varying length of sentences to increase the intensity of the speech
  • Exclamations or rising intonation to provide peaks and climaxes in the speech
  • Diction – choice of words that have special connotations and adjectives/adverbs that also intensify the theme
  • Dramatic pauses: to let the meaning of the words sink in.
You need to think of:
  • What is the message you want to convey?
  • Who is your audience? To whom are you addressing your remarks?
  • Always keep in mind the one thought you want to leave your audience with. If you focus on a single point and keeping working on that theme, your audience is more likely to remember the point you were trying to make
  • The climax: your knock-out punch should leave your audience with something to think about
  • Show a sense of enthusiasm for your subject
  • Occasionally alter the speed, volume and tone of your delivery for dramatic effect to hold the attention of your audience
  • Remember if you are intending to use statistics be sure that you understand them, that they are meaningful, and that they are both reliable and up-to-date and easily understood by the audience

For more about speeches, see pp. 410-416 in your textbook.


Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 17.07.2008

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