Speech Structure - How to organize your speech

Most good writing, we are told, must have structure. A good speech is no exception. By providing your speech with a beginning, a middle, and an end, you will lay the foundations for a successful speech that fulfills all of your aspirations.

Opening

The first thirty seconds of your speech are probably the most important. In that period of time you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech. This can be achieved in several ways. For example you could raise a thought-provoking question, make an interesting or controversial statement, recite a relevant quotation or even recount a joke. Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech.

Body

The body of your speech will always be the largest part of your speech. At this point your audience will have been introduced to you and the subject of your speech (as set out in your opening) and will hopefully be ready to hear your arguments, your thoughts or even your ramblings on the subject of your speech.

The best way to set out the body of your speech is by formulating a series of points that you would like to raise. In the context of your speech, a "point" could be a statement about a product, a joke about the bridegroom or a fond memory of the subject of a eulogy.

The points should be organized so that related points follow one another so that each point builds upon the previous one. This will also give your speech a more logical progression, and make the job of the listener a far easier one.

Don't try to overwhelm your audience with countless points. It is better to make a small number of points well than to have too many points, none of which are made satisfactorily.

Closing

Like your Opening, the Closing of your speech must contain some of your strongest material. You should view the closing of your speech as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to:

  • – Summarize the main points of your speech
  • – Provide some further food for thought for your listeners
  • – Leave your audience with positive memories of your speech
  • – End with a final thought/emotion (e.g. With well wishes to the Bride and Groom, With fond memories of a departed friend, With admiration for winners and losers at an awards ceremony).

 

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Sample speeches

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