Elements of Speech Writing

Use these eight points to help you write your own speech or to analyse a speech, for either Junior or Leaving Cert English.

  1. Engage your audience by addressing them in the introduction. Say who you are and explain what you are going to talk about.
  1. Structure: Speeches must have a beginning, a middle and a conclusion.
  1. Personal pronouns: Using pronouns, like ‘I’ ‘we’ ‘us’ ‘you’ is an effective way of building a relationship with the reader. “It is up to every one of us here today to tackle climate change.”
  1. Anecdote: Tell a story in your speech that has a meaning, it may be personal or about someone else. It is a good way to keep people interested. “I recently went to the North Pole, where I saw that many of the ice caps have melted causing polar bears great distress.
  1. Repetition: This is a very effective tool, as it can have an impact on the listener. “We must do what it takes to help our planet. We must be the pioneers of the future, we must be the light in the darkness.”
  1. Rhetorical Questions: These questions do not require an answer from the audience but it makes them think about the issue and gets the audience involved in the speech. “Are we prepared to sacrifice our children’s lives by taking the easy option?” or “ Are we willing to make sacrifices now so our children’s lives can blossom?”
  1. Triadic Structure: Much like repetition, triadic structure works on the same basis, where similar words are repeated in threes. It is often said that things said in groups of three have the greatest impact. “We have sought justice in the past, we seek justice today, and we will seek justice in the future.” Or “It is my dream that one day we will see a world where people of all race and creed can find equality, liberty and freedom.
  1. A call to action: Most speeches have a ‘call to action.’ This means that you are encouraging the listeners to do something, to make a difference. “I ask each and every one of you to leave this room tonight and do what you can to halt global warming.”

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