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Speeches: How to Research and Outline: The Speech!

So you have to do a speech? This guide can help!

The Speech

Basically, it comes down to this:

1) tell them what you're going to tell them.
2) tell them.
3) tell them what you told them.

'Tell them what you're going to tell them' becomes your introduction
'Tell them' forms the body
'Tell them what you told them' is your conclusion/summary

Writing your speech should contain the following:

• First answer these questions:
Write down as much as you know about the audience. This will give you an idea of what they will want to hear and be interested in.

Write down the title and/or type of speech you have been asked to prepare.
Write down several topic ideas and as much as you know about the topics, or what you hope to find out about the topics. Remember that you want to choose a topic that you are interested in and are passionate about. If you are not interested your audience will not be either!

How long does your speech need to be? The time you have will determine what you put into your speech and what you will leave out. The purpose/type of speech and your audience will help you make the best choice. A longer time gives you more freedom to develop several ideas.
How can you explain your topic to your audience? In a way that they will easily understand the points you want to convey.
 Will you use visuals? Could you give a demonstration? Will you use humor in the speech?

When do you need to deliver the speech?  Give yourself enough time to research, write and PRACTICE the speech. In this case, practice does make perfect. You will change your sequence of ideas and delivery many times before you give the final product/speech.

Next select your final  topic
Brainstorm. Your speech/final product may change as you go along and find more information but start by listing all you know about your topic. This will also show you where you need to fill in the gaps with your research. (information from quality sources, quotes, statistics, expert opinions, etc.) Remember—you need to be very familiar with your topic—know it inside and out—so that you will not look foolish in front of your audience by delivering inaccurate information. Plus research adds authority to your speech. It shows that you care about your topic and your grade!

Trouble finding a topic? See the Library Databases Opposing ViewpointsSIRS Issues Researcher and Points of View Reference Center — they each have lists of possible topics to choose from.

Third, Write down the main ideas you want to convey—outline the speech
Introduction—opening, attention getter, humor --plus a summary of the topic/what the speech is all about
Main point 1
Main point 2
Main Point 3
Conclusion/Summary of main points and a closing statement

• Then write the speech as if you were talking to the person next to you

• Re-write the speech checking for tone, words everyone will understand, clarity. (Just because you understand the topic does not mean others will or that you are conveying your ideas clearly)

• Link your main ideas together with transitions. Main ideas with supporting evidence and details. Here is where you will include the expert quotes, statistics, etc., that you found through your research. Remember sentences need to flow together to complete a whole idea and then the whole speech.

• Time yourself. Make sure that the speech fits into the time frame you have been given.

• Practice. In front of a mirror, in front of friends. Make sure that the transitions are working and the whole is clear and understandable.


How to Start a Speech

a question? a fact that shocks?

How to Give Presentations