Charting Out the Process of Speechwriting

Step Example
Analyze Your Aufience A group of high school biology students interested in health science professions
Determine General Purpose
(i) To persuade
(ii) To inform
(iii) To entertain
To inform

Select and Narrow a Topic
What am I interested in?
What is my audience interested in?
Is the topic significant?
Can I find sources on my topic?

General: Important medical issue

Narrow: Type A influenza

Determine Specific Purpose

Combine general purpose and narrowed topic.
To inform my audience about the symptoms, at-risk groups, preventative measures, and treatment of type-A influenza threatening our state.

Phrase Central Idea

This is the thesis of your speech: a single sentence that summarizes the essence of your message.
Because the type-A influenza threatening our state is extremely dangerous, people need to know its symptoms, who is at most risk to contract it, how to prevent it, and methods of treating i

Gather Supporting Materials

Facts, testimony, figures, statistics, narratives, and examples.
(Use an assortment of credible sources—newspapers, magazines, journals, interviews, encyclopedias, transcripts, etc. Consult differing viewpoints. Supporting materials should be arranged strategically to (a) support the idea you are presenting and (b) gain maximum attention from the audience.)

Identify Main Points

These are the pillars of your speech.

Main points are the reasons your thesis should be believed.

If a main point is complex, divide it into sub-points.

I.Symptoms of type-A influenza include nausea, headaches, muscle pain, high fever, delirium, and potentially death.

II. Although type-A influenza can strike anyone, young children, the elderly, and people with immune system disorders are especially at risk.

III. There are three preventative measures one can take to reduce the risk of contracting type-A influenza.

Organize Formal Outline

Components include:
Specific Purpose
Central Idea

  •  Gain attention
  •  Establish credibility
  • Orient audience to topic/thesis
  • Relate topic to audience
  • Preview main points


(Main Points and Sub-points with transitions)
(A) Summarize main points
(B) Refer back to introduction
(C) End with finality

List of Sources
(Refer to Outline Handout for specific guidelines.)
Revise Outline Check for good form, balance. Rearrange for clarity. Add supporting materials. Revise for parallel structure.
Create Key Word Outline Transfer key words to no more than 3-5 note-cards.
Practice (and again and again) Practice often and before different audiences. And when you are done, practice some more.)