How Should You Structure A Speech?

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A speech usually has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Depending on the topic and purpose of our speech, you might set it up with a cause-effect structure, problem-solution structure, comparison-contrast structure, or sequential structure. No matter how you structure it, it should be concise, clean, enhanced with visual aids, and well-practiced.

What Should Be The First Thing You Do When Writing A Speech?

In public speaking or speech writing, the first thing to tick off your checklist is to identify your topic and define the purpose of the speech. The core message you’ll discuss will serve as the anchor point that will tie your main points and supporting facts, stories, and statements.

To choose a good topic, you must know your audience well. What are their interests? What do they know about the topic? What could pique their interest? Do you have the credibility to show them you’re fit to discuss the topic?

Only after you’ve determined a topic can you proceed with the research, outlining, drafting (and revising), and rehearsals.

How Are Speeches Generally Organized?

For any speech writing or speaking engagement to be effective, the thoughts must be coherent. To help you organize your piece, always remember the three main parts of the speech: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. 

The intro serves as your speech opening, and it’s your opportunity to capture your audience’s attention and establish a connection with them. In your introduction, you must also state your purpose, topic, and thesis statement. 

The body is the longest part of your speech because it’s where you’ll discuss your main points (having two to three main points will be enough to craft a solid speech. For each point, you must present supporting evidence and examples (including statistics, anecdotes, and expert opinions). 

In your conclusion, you’ll have the chance to leave a lasting impression on your audience. It’s a time to summarize key points, restate your core message, and deliver a memorable closing statement, which can also be in the form of a story, quote, challenge, or a call to action (especially if you’re making a persuasive speecIt’s it’s important to use transitions and signposts (also called connective statement throughout your speech) to ensure a smooth flow of thoughts.

What Is A Good Structure For A Speech?

If you’ve been invited to be a keynote speaker, talk as a subject matter expert, or write a speech for another person, you must have a logical and compelling structure to create a good speech. 

Common patterns for speech structure include:

  • Biographical – describes a person’s life chronologically or categorically
  • Categorical/topical – organizing like things together
  • Causes and effect – notes causes and results
  • Chronological – how things unfolded in time
  • Comparison/contrast – how concepts differ
  • Problem-Cause-Solution—lists the problem, its cause, and a possible solution
  • Psychological – poses that one factor leads to another
  • Sequential – the order of events
  • Spatial  – how things fit together in a physical space

Using the three main parts of a speech, there are other creative ways to structure your narrative so you can convey your main points as impactful as possible.

One of the most common speech narratives is the melodrama structure: You present a character and explain their circumstances. You tell their journey, a tragedy that occurs, and how they’re able to overcome it.

Another method is the tower structure, where you lay down your key message and add multiple layers of information to fortify it. If you want to tickle your audience’s curiosity, you can follow the so-called mystery structure. In this technique, you will first present a question and problem before you deliver your proposed solution or message.

Alternatively, you can follow the ping-pong structure, where you can present two sides of an argument. This will help you entice the audience to stay with you so they can learn who wins.

Sructure a speech
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What Are The 5 Structural Elements Of Speech?

Creating a speech outline first is a tried-and-tested way to help you create a well-structured speech. When outlining your speech, you must note five structural elements: attention statement, introduction, body, conclusion, and residual message.   

The attention statement refers to how you capture the attention of your audience. It can be a rhetorical question, a bold point of view, a surprising statistic, or a relevant yet unique personal story. On the other hand, the introduction is the element that introduces your speech topic. Why are you discussing it? What is its relevance to your audience?

In the body of the speech, you will explain your main points. It’s the main content area and structural element of your narrative. The conclusion will give your audience a sense of finality, and it’s where you can summarize what you’ve discussed, state the main takeaway, and relate it to your topic. 

Lastly, your residual message is the thought or idea you want to linger in your audience’s minds — well after you’ve delivered the speech.

What Is The Proper Way To Write A Speech?

While there are different approaches to writing different types of speeches, you must always consider the purpose of the piece. The proper way to write any kind of speech is to have a clear objective that will guide you in developing a structure and composing the main parts of your speech. 

Is your goal to sway your audience to your side and convince them to adopt your point of view? If so, you must gather enough proof and structure your speech in a way that supports and assists your thesis statement. 

What Are The 5 Steps To Structure A Speech?

Want to make a great speech? Once you’ve identified a topic to discuss, this is the step-by-step guide to follow.

  1. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience members. To captivate your audience’s interest, you must consider their demographics and preferences. Additionally, you must understand their knowledge level of a certain topic and tailor your speech in a way that will be easy to comprehend for them. 
  2. Research, organize your thoughts, and outline. Always look back at the purpose of your speech (do you want to inform, persuade, or entertain?), and gather all relevant facts, data, examples, and stories that will help you build up your key message and hit your goals. You must craft an outline to organize your thoughts and guarantee a great flow. 
  3. Create your draft. Once your outline and research materials are ready, you can write your first draft. When registering, picture your audience and assemble words that will help you convey your core message and main points. While this step can be intimidating, just let your thoughts and ideas flow — you can also cut down, add, or modify in the editing process. 
  4. Edit, edit, edit. After writing a speech draft, remember that you still have to edit and revise it. Look at the overall flow, coherence, sentence structures, grammar, spelling, accuracy of facts, tone, approach, and style. This is a painstaking process where you will evaluate your speech at the micro and macro levels. 
  5. Practice and do further tweaks as necessary. An effective speech isn’t just about putting together all the right words and ensuring they’re error-free. You must rehearse, read the speech out loud, and observe yourself in front of a mirror to help you assess what needs to be improved in your delivery — and the speech itself. Rehearsing will help you identify words you might not be comfortable pronouncing or sentences that are too long. 

What Is The Difference Between A Speech And A Presentation?

In speech writing and public speaking, you’ll hear the words “speech” and “presentation” often. While they’re both meant to be delivered before an audience, the main difference is that the latter generally uses illustrative materials, and the former tends to be more formal in tone and approach. 

For instance, you’re having a presentation if you’re showing a new product, idea, or piece of work, and you use visual aids to help you out. You’re delivering a speech if you are to talk at a graduation ceremony, for example. 

However, this distinction is not a rigid one. There are cases when speeches use visual aids, and there are also instances when presentations can be formal. 

If you’re making a speech and you’re using visual aids, you must utilize them well for them to support your message — not negatively impact it. You must understand the purpose of these visuals and incorporate them strategically. For example, if you want to depict the impact of violent video games on mental health, you can state studies and illustrate statistics in the form of graphs and charts. 

As with your tone and voice in speech writing and delivery, your visuals must also be consistent in design, font style, and colors. When rehearsing your speech, make sure to practice with visuals as well.

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