asked some expert political speechwriters to tell YOU the secrets
of writing a speech that wins a crowd. Here are
Your Main Ideas
Don't try to put too many ideas into your speech. Research shows
that people remember very little from speeches, so just give them
one or two ideas to hang onto. Remember, you only have one minute
for your speech!
Like You Talk
Remember that you're writing a speech, not an essay. People will
hear the speech, not read it. The more conversational you can make
it sound, the better. So try these tips:
short sentences. It's better to write two simple sentences than
one long, complicated sentence.
contractions. Say "I'm" instead of "I am" "we're"
instead of "we are."
use big words that you wouldn't use when talking to someone.
don't have to follow all the rules of written English grammar.
"Like this. See? Got it? Hope so." Your English teacher
might be horrified, but people don't always talk in complete sentences
with verbs and nouns. So try to write like people talk.
read your speech aloud while you're writing it. You'll hear
right away if you sound like a book or a real person talking!
Concrete Words and Examples
Concrete details keep people interested. For instance, which is
more effective? A vague sentence like "Open play spaces
for children's sports are in short supply." Or the more
concrete "We need more baseball and soccer fields for our
Your Facts Together
You want people to believe that you know what you're talking about!
So you'll need to do some research. For instance, let's say your
big issue is the environment. You promise to pass a law that says
all new cars must run on electricity, not gas. That will cut down
on air pollution! But it would help if you had a few facts: How
much bad air does one car create each year? How many new cars are
sold in the U.S. every year? So how much will pollution be cut every
year? Use the library or the Internet to do research. Your new policy proposal will sound really strong if you have the facts to back it
are many issues you can talk about at your inauguration. How do you pick one? A good
idea is to look inside yourself and find out what you feel very
deeply about. Maybe it's the environment. Or maybe you care about
stopping war. Or you feel passionate that all schools should have
more art and music classes. Or you feel that downloading music on the Internet
should be free! Your issue should reflect who you are and
what you care about.
With a Classic Structure
In a speech where you're trying to persuade someone, the classic
structure is called "Problem-Solution." In the first part
of your speech you say, "Here's a problem, here's why things
are so terrible." Then, in the second part of your speech
you say, "Here's what we can do to make things better."
Sometimes it helps to persuade people if you have statistics or other
facts in your speech. And sometimes you can persuade people by quoting
someone else that the audience likes and respects.
After you've written a first draft of your speech, go back and look
for words you can cut. Cutting words in the speech can make your
points more clear. One speechwriter for a U.S. Senator has a sign
above her desk that says: "Fewer Words = Clearer Point."
It helps her remember to always simplify a speech by cutting out