Writing Speeches

A speech is a formal or informal discourse delivered to an audience. Speeches are typically prepared beforehand and can be delivered for various purposes such as to inform, persuade, entertain, inspire or celebrate an occasion.

Using Persuasive Techniques to Convince the Audience

When delivering a speech, your goal can often be to persuade the audience to adopt your point of view. To achieve this, it is important to use persuasive techniques that appeal to their emotions, logic and credibility.

Use emotional appeals by sharing personal stories or experiences that evoke empathy or sympathy from your audience. This creates a stronger connection and makes your message more relatable.

For example:

“Let me share with you a time when I tried to learn to play the guitar. The first few weeks were daunting. My fingers ached and the chords didn’t sound right. I felt like giving up every day, thinking I wasn’t cut out for it. But then, I pushed through.

I practised a little more each day, and slowly but surely, I started to improve. One day, to my surprise, I could play an entire song. That’s when I realised, whether it’s learning a new instrument or facing any challenging situation in life, perseverance is key. We may not always get it right the first time, but with persistence, we can achieve what we set out to do.”

Also, evidence adds credibility to your speech. Include factual data, statistics or expert opinions that support your point of view. This helps establish your position as well-informed and trustworthy.

Appealing to logic is another important aspect of persuasive speeches. Use clear and rational explanations to present your arguments. By providing sound reasoning, your audience will be more likely to accept your perspective.

Structuring the Speech Logically

In the introduction, start with a strong opening that grabs the audience’s attention. You can use a thought-provoking quote, an interesting fact or a rhetorical question. Clearly state the topic and purpose of your speech, providing a brief overview of what you will discuss.

Divide the body of your speech into sections or main points that support your thesis statement. Each section should focus on a specific idea or argument. Transition smoothly between sections to ensure a logical flow of ideas. Within each section, provide supporting evidence and examples that reinforce your main points. Include facts, data, personal anecdotes or expert opinions. 

In the conclusion, summarise the main points covered in your speech. Restate your thesis statement and emphasise its significance. End with a memorable closing statement or a call to action that inspires your audience to take the desired course of action.

Let’s use the topic “The Importance of Exercise for Teens.”

Attention grabber: “Did you know that only 1 in 3 teenagers are physically active every day? That’s a shocking statistic!”
Topic and purpose: “Today, I want to talk about the importance of exercise for us teenagers. My goal is to convince you all that staying active is key not only for our physical health, but also for our mental well-being.”

Main Point 1: Physical Benefits of Exercise “First, let’s discuss how exercise benefits our physical health. Regular physical activity helps control weight, reduces the risk of developing health issues like diabetes and heart diseases, and even strengthens bones.”
“For example, a study published in the National Institutes of Health found that teenagers who engaged in regular physical activity had a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Main Point 2: Mental Health Benefits of Exercise “Exercise isn’t just about physical health, it’s equally important for our mental well-being. Physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety among teenagers.”
“A personal anecdote: I have a friend who started jogging during the lockdown. Not only did he feel healthier, but he also shared that it greatly reduced his feelings of stress and helped him sleep better.”

Summary: “So, we’ve discussed the physical benefits of exercise, such as better weight control and lower risk of health issues, as well as the mental health benefits, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
Restate thesis: “The benefits of regular exercise for us as teenagers are clear, impacting both our physical and mental health.”
Closing statement/Call to action: “I hope you’ll join me in making a commitment to include more physical activity in our daily lives. Let’s aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Remember, a healthier body leads to a healthier mind!”

Using Rhetorical Devices for Impact

A rhetorical device is a technique or method used to convey a message more effectively in spoken or written language Rhetorical devices can add impact and effectiveness to your speech.

Some rhetorical devices include:

  • Repetition – Repeating keywords, phrases or ideas can create emphasis and reinforce your message. It helps to make your speech more memorable and highlight important points.
  • Rhetorical Questions – Use thought-provoking questions to engage your audience. These questions are meant to stimulate thinking rather than elicit direct answers. They encourage your listeners to reflect on your message and consider your perspective.
  • Tripling – Using a series of three related words, phrases or ideas can create a rhythmic and persuasive effect. This technique is known as “tripling” and adds emphasis and coherence to your speech. For example, “We must inform, educate, and inspire for a better future.”

Adapting Language and Style to Suit the Audience and Purpose

Tailoring your language and style to suit the audience and purpose of your speech is essential. 

Language – Use language appropriate for your audience’s age and level of understanding. Avoid using jargon or complex terms unless you provide clear explanations within the speech. Use language that engages your audience and is easy to comprehend.

Style – consider the tone and style of your speech. Adjust your language, tone and level of formality to suit the occasion and preferences of your audience. Adapting your style helps to establish a connection with your audience and makes your speech more impactful.

Oral Delivery Techniques 

The delivery of your speech plays a significant role in capturing the attention and engagement of your audience. Use the following techniques to enhance your delivery:

  • Pace – Vary your pace throughout the speech to add emphasis and maintain audience engagement. Speed up during exciting or intense moments and slow down during important points to give them weight and significance.
  • Emphasis – Use vocal emphasis to highlight keywords or phrases. Adjust your tone, volume and pitch to convey different emotions and effectively convey your message. Emphasise important ideas or phrases to make them stand out.
  • Body language – Utilise appropriate body language, including gestures, facial expressions and posture, to enhance your delivery. Maintain eye contact with the audience to establish a connection. Effective body language adds to the overall impact of your speech.