It is important for everyone to know how to write speeches as speeches are the best means of persuasion and in school examinations, students could be asked to write a persuasive piece of writing which follows the format of a speech. An examiner might ask students to write a speech on a particular topic, or asked to imagine themselves as someone else giving a speech to a group of audience.

Example: Imagine you were the principal delivering a speech in the school assembly on ‘Why mobile phones are banned in class?’

Purpose of a Speech:

The aim of making a speech or writing one is to convince your audience to buy/support your idea or to explain/describe an interesting topic or event. A strong sense of voice or viewpoint needs to come through.

–        Write in the first person ‘I’ (but use ‘we’ to include the audience!)

–        Use direct address ‘How would you feel?’

–        Clear topic sentences, with separate points/ideas for each paragraph

–        You don’t need speech marks

–        Use some informal language, shorter sentences and questions to keep your audience interested. Example: Are you with me?

8 Types of Speeches:

1. Entertaining speech
The purpose of an entertaining speech is to amuse/entertain the audience. They are usually less formal in nature to help communicate emotions rather than to simply talk about a couple of facts.

2. Informative speech
An informative speech’s purpose is to convey information accurately. Example: A teacher’s speech

3. Demonstrative speech
A demonstrative speech is to show how something works or how to do a certain thing. A demonstrative speech utilizes the use of visual aids and/or physical demonstration along with the information provided. Examples: Tutors explaining how to solve mathematical equations, chefs describing how to prepare a recipe, art teacher showing how to draw something and the speeches given by developers demonstrating their products.

4. Persuasive speech
A speech is said to be persuasive if the speaker is trying to prove why his or her point of view is right, and to persuade the audience to embrace that point of view. An example is TED Talks.

5. Motivational speech
A motivational speech is a special kind of persuasive speech, where the speaker encourages the audience to pursue their own well-being. By injecting confidence into the audience, the speaker is able to guide them toward achieving the goals they set together.

6. Oratorical Speech
Oratorical speeches are usually quite long and formal in nature. Their purpose could be to celebrate a certain event like a graduation, to address serious issues and how to deal with them, or to mourn losses and give comfort like a eulogy at a funeral.

7. Debate speech
The debate speech has the general structure of a persuasive speech but it’s distinct from a persuasive speech in that its main purpose is to justify your stance toward something rather than convince the audience to share your views.

8. Special occasion speech
These speeches are usually short and to the point. Examples: Speeches during a birthday party, wedding dinner or a speech to formally introduce the guest of honor to an event. Special occasion speeches can include introductory speeches, ceremonial speeches, and tributary speeches.

12 Important Guidelines:

1. Introduce yourself appropriately:

  • You’re giving a speech to your teachers

    Your introduction would need to be more formal. For instance; “Good morning, and thank you for taking the time to listen. My name is Joan Anderson and I’m here today to talk to you about….”

    Notice how the speech writer in this example uses their full name and is very polite to his audience.
  • You’re making a speech to your classmates

    Your language can be more casual. Your classmates already know who you are, so you could say; “Hi everyone, I am Joan and I’m here to share with you….”

    This speech writer is far less formal, but that’s perfect for her audience. She is speaking to her equals, and she can connect with them far more effectively by using the language they would usually use with each other.

2. Use rhetorical question
Example: I’m here to talk to you about free education. Why? This is because it is every human’s right to be educated.

3. Give a surprising statement
Example: Do you know the tuition fees for Royal College of Music in the UK is about 17,000 Euros/$20,000 per year while Germany is offering free education to all?

4. Use a famous quote
Example: Creativity takes courage

5. Structure your speech
An ideal start on a speech will include the following basic structure:
1. Introduction (Example: Good morning, I am….)
2. Express your views about the topic (body)
3. Argument (Example: advantages and disadvantages) (body)
4. Conclusion (End the topic with suggestions/message/advice)

6. Begin every paragraph with a topic sentence

7. Express your opinion. Write about what you think about the topic.

8. Write using the 1st person pronoun ‘I’ and use ‘we’ and ‘you’ to address your audience directly.

8. Use personal details and anecdotes

Every good speech writer aims to make the audience relate to them. If your audience relates to you, they are far more likely to agree with what you’re saying. One of the best ways to do that is to tell a short story about yourself, or provide short personal details. You don’t want to spend too much time talking about yourself and not about your argument, but small details will bring your speech to life.

9. Use emotive language

10. Use figurative language sparingly

11. Use contrast as clash in imagery makes your speech interesting.

12. Use repetition

An Example of How Speech Writing Could be Tested in Examinations:

Question: Imagine you are a pupil in a school which does not have a school council. Write a speech to be given in a school assembly, giving your views on whether or not students should participate in decisions made about the school. In your speech you should:
– evaluate the views given in both texts about student participation
– give your own views, based on what you have read, about whether a school council would benefit students and teachers.
Begin your speech: ‘Thank you for coming to listen to me today…’.
Write about 250 to 350 words.
Up to 15 marks are available for the content of your answer, and up to 25 marks for the quality of your writing.
(extracted from Cambridge IGCSE English paper in 2020)