Speeches ― Preparing, Writing, and Presenting Description

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Speeches ― Preparing, Writing, and Presenting
Description: Students need to understand that how they say something and how they physically present themselves are just as important as what they say. By understanding the dynamics involved in effective speaking, students will improve their overall confidence in communicating. Being able to express confidently one’s thoughts and ideas in a clear, coherent, and grammatically correct manner is an essential communication skill; and one that students will be called upon to do throughout their school years as well as their adult lives. Learning to prepare, write, and deliver speeches will help students achieve this goal.
Goals and Objectives:

Goals: The goal of this lesson is to improve students' speaking skills by understanding the dynamics of the spoken word.
Additional goals for students in giving speeches are:

  • To realize the fear of speaking is normal and can even be helpful.

  • To define, understand, and confront stage fright

  • Recognize their strengths as a speaker and build upon them

  • Recognize their weaknesses as a speaker and improve or overcome them

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the appropriate classroom public speaking and listening skills (e.g., body language, articulation, listening to be able to identify specific examples of the speaker's coordination of talking and action) that would be necessary to reach and affect the audience.

  • Define the elements of effective public speaking/speeches.

  • Recognize the elements of personal credibility.

  • Develop methods to analyze their own and other students' speeches.

  • Understand outlining main ideas.

  • Prepare, write, and present an effective speech.

Procedure: Begin a class discussion for students to define and explain in their own words how people make decisions based on what they see and hear. Explain that sometimes we have to use skills to convince others about our positions. Have the students recall and list their own experiences trying to convince their friends about something, and then ask them to share these with the class.
Their message is, of course, very important in this speech, but their voice and body language are even more important. Here they will learn how their delivery can help. There are several important aspects of presentation to keep in mind. (See attached rubric)
Students will draw for their speech topics. If they do not like their topic, students will be allowed to re-draw one time only. They may then choose between their first and second options.
Students will then take notes on preparing, writing, and presenting a speech. (See following)

Prepare before you start

  • Know your purpose (type of speech)

  • Understand your specific topic

  • Collect interesting details

  • Know your audience

Speech writing

Some people say that speech writing is an art form, and that may be true, but every successful speech has a recipe that includes several key ingredients:

  • Timing

  • Structure

  • Length

And in order to get these right you need to plan, prepare, and practice.

Why are you giving a speech?

You need to remember that every speech you give has a purpose and every speech tells a story.

The Purposes of Speech Writing
Types of Speeches ― Formal speeches generally fall into three (or four) major categories:

  • Informative speeches - to educate or inform

  • Persuasive speeches - to argue for or against something; to influence

  • Demonstration speeches - show how to do something or how something works

  • Entertain – every speech should entertain to a certain degree. Remember though, the entertainment value should not obfuscate your primary purpose.

Preparing a speech

Think about what you need to say before you start writing. You need to ask yourself what you need to achieve. Are you presenting facts and figures ― do you need to persuade your audience ― or are they on your side?

Good oral presentations are based on careful preparation and written notes. Skillful speechmakers will be familiar with their written content. You need to grab your audience’s attention and keep it. A good speech will have people on the edge of their seats; it will affect your listener and it can change their perceptions.

  • Remember, a powerful speech has rhetoric; a brilliant one has the audience.

Great Quote! 

Writing the Speech
Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't;

the other half have nothing to say and keep saying it."
The key to successful speechwriting is good organization, focus, and making sure to hit each of the key aspects of a speech. In this regard, speeches are quite similar to essays and have a tried and true formula. This formula can be adapted to any type of speech.
Speeches, like essays, need three things:

  • Introduction — An attention-getting beginning

  • Body — A convincing main part

  • Conclusion — A strong ending

Speech introductions

It would be silly to say that the introduction is the most important part of the speech because each section of the speech is equally as important, but without a good introduction, your speech is already a failure.

Thesis Opinion Position Statement

An introduction's purpose is simple:

  • to introduce the audience to the topic

  • give a general overview of the topic and include the thesis/position statement

  • The thesis/position statement tells the audience what the speaker intends to do or details the speaker’s feelings on the topic

An introduction must grab audience’s attention immediately

At the very beginning of a speech, the audience decides to devote attention to the information that follows or find something else of interest.

Thus, the introduction should be impressive enough to induce continued consideration.

The first words/seconds will determine success or failure, so, it needs to be both creative and bold.

Introducing a speech

The introduction of a speech is crucial for gaining and keeping the attention of the audience. Here are some creative ways to write an interesting introduction:

  • Introduce a short and relevant anecdote

  • tell a brief personal story that is related to the topic of the speech

  • Start with an extraordinary detail

  • Utilize a startling statistic or fact that will capture the audience’s attention

  • Make a controversial statement

  • Quote a famous person

  • Start with a thought-provoking or amusing quotation

  • Pose a rhetorical question that will get the audience thinking

  • Ask a thought provoking, relevant question, and poll your audience

Writing the Body of a Speech ― The body of the piece must develop and support the thesis/position statement
The body of a speech is its meat and should be comfortably sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. Again, this is an important aspect of the speech. If the body of the speech is not well-written and full of credible information, there is no point to writing the speech at all.
In the body, the speaker elaborates on the general topic. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the body must be supported with good research and information. It is important to cite all sources used to compile the information.
Organization is also very important. When writing the body of the speech, thoughts should flow into one another. If something is disjointed, it should be moved or removed from the speech.
There are a variety of methods for putting together the body of a speech. All help to arrange the material into a logical easy-to-understand sequence.

  • Chronological outline ― the speech follows a time line

  • Order of importance ― the speech is divided into examples/supporting details from the most important to the least important ― sometimes this order can be effectively reversed

  • Problem- solution ― A problem is explained or pointed out and a solution presented

Concluding a speech
Conclusions are very interesting. Obviously, they are going to sum up the speech and re-state the thesis statement, but a conclusion is much more than this.
The conclusion should reach out to the audience and grab their attention. This can be done by linking the conclusion back to the introduction, issuing a challenge, or ending with a powerfully relevant quotation.
The conclusion serves three main purposes:

  • signal the end of the speech

  • summarize what has been said

  • leave thoughts that linger in the minds of the audience

Some strategies for making the conclusion memorable:

  • A question with an expected answer

  • A suggestion that the action or belief is a solution to a problem

  • An implication that the solution is really the idea of the listener

  • Overall, it is important to make sure everything is well composed. A well-written speech is a great springboard for the speaker. If the words are sound, the delivery will be enhanced.

Remember: The ultimate goal of any conclusion is to leave your audience with a significant thought or idea that will linger in their minds and give them something to ponder.

Anyone can give a speech. Not everyone can give an effective speech.

To give an effective speech there are several elements you should consider.
Preparing to deliver your speech

  • Realize the fear of speaking is normal and can even be helpful

  • Define, understand and confront stage fright

  • Recognize your own strengths as a speaker and build on them

  • Recognize your own weaknesses as a speaker and improve or overcome them

Pitfalls to avoid (or things to do) when writing / delivering a speech

There are certain rules about speechmaking that should be adhered to so as not to lose the audience through bias or boredom:

  • Avoid indirect language – don’t use statements such as I think or I feel

  • Avoid commonly used modifiers such as really, very, but, because, and although

  • Avoid terms that could considered be sexist – use he and she interchangeably if possible

  • Make sure the correct word is used. Be careful of those that are similar such as affect/effect

  • Make sure the speech is grammatically correct

There are three ways of gaining wisdom

One is through meditation, and that is the noblest

One is through imitation, and that is the easiest

One is through experience, and that is the most bitter
Learning from imitation ― examples of famous speeches

  • Using sets of three

    • (duty, honor, country ~ MacArthur / Silence ~ Pope john Paul II)

  • Antithetical / juxtaposition

    • (It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ~ Tale of Two Cities)

  • Know your audience

    • (Robert Kennedy – on the death of Martin Luther King)

  • Symbolism

  • (Sojourner Truth)

Practice giving the speech

The better you know your speech, the better it will be received. Never, ever, ever read directly from the page. If you suffer from horrible nerves there are several ways to kill them, but by far the most effective is to adopt a 'mask'. You are not being judged personally - and you will find it easier if you are an 'actor' playing the part of yourself. The moment you disengage with the inhibition that holds you back you will find yourself speaking with flair, you audience will enjoy it and so will you.

It is very important that you pay attention to even the smallest details. You can never over-plan. Remember, "He who fails to plan is planning for failure." It is up to you to plan, prepare, and practice; and, if you do, you will succeed.
Once a speech is written, practice saying it aloud ― 30/1 minutes.
Underline sentences that need emphasis. Divide it into easy-to-see paragraphs and used colored pens to highlight key areas. The best speechmakers often follow a written script closely, but make it sound as though they are talking from the heart.
Quick Overview of Requirements
Your speech is based on three major components:


Delivery (see expanded requirements)

Time  minimum length = 3 minutes

You must turn in

  • some form of written notes

  • a works cited page — typed and in the proper format

  • an analysis of your speech (a form may be provided)

Remember, it is important to research your topic, even if it is a matter of getting prevailing opinions and supporting facts and details.

Analysis of your speech
Questions to ask yourself

  • How well do you reflect an understanding of the topic?

  • Are you believable, and does the audience have enough background to understand the new material?

  • Is there enough information (evidence) given to prove your points?

  • Is your speech well organized? ― Does the speech flow smoothly from beginning to end?

  • As a speaker, are you interesting for the audience?

Master speaker ― The speaker/speech is

  • interesting & worthwhile

  • well-defined; it is clear as to what the central idea is

  • supported with significant, relevant, and appealing details

Developing ― The speaker/speech is

  • still somewhat interesting

  • defined; the point of the speech does not hit you in the face, but it still is somewhat easy to find out what the point is

  • supported with fair amount of general detail—details might be repetitious

Emerging ― The speaker/speech is

Needs improvement The speaker/speech is

  • not at all creative, hard to follow

  • not giving any detail

  • seeming to have no point

Relax ― Have Fun ― Be Confident

Writing an effective speech – KB lesson plan

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