Grammar, Writing

Introduction to Speech Writing

by VIDYANAND

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What is a Speech?

A speech is a spoken discourse or an expression of ideas that is delivered in front of an audience by the speaker.

A speech can perform one or more of the following functions:

  • To convince the audience: „Reasons why I Believe Indians don‟t have Civic Sense‟
  • To provoke the audience to take an action: „Report Corruption to Kill Corruption‟
  • To inspire the audience: „Do One Good Deed A Day‟
  • To inform the audience: „Beauty Magazines Promote Low Self-esteem‟

Format of a Speech

Like other forms of composition, a speech also comprises an introduction, supporting ideas and a conclusion. 


The format of a speech


How to Write a Speech

Before one starts writing, ask three questions:

  • What is the purpose of the speech?
  • Who is the audience?
  • How long will the speech last?

Example:

  • Topic: The Curse of Global Warming
  • Purpose: To enlighten the audience about the harms of global warming
  • Audience: Classmates and teachers

Engage in brainstorming and uncover all the points that could be made in the speech.

Example:

  • Ignorance related to global warming
  • Its slow manifestation 
  • Who are the culprits? 
  • What are the steps to be taken? 
  • What could happen if it is ignored?

Structure your writing. Divide your speech into three paragraphs that have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introductory paragraph should also contain an address or a greeting to the audience.

Types of address:

  • A very good morning/afternoon/evening to everyone present here.
  • Respected Principal, teachers and friends…
  • Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to…

Always state the purpose behind the speech.

  • The purpose of my speech is to highlight the problem of global warming.
  • Today, I intend to bring to your notice, the problem of global warming.
  • I stand in front of you today to talk about a heinous problem called global warming.
  • Create a rough outline of the speech before writing.
  • Write from the perspective of the listener, not the speaker. Good speeches are written keeping the audience in mind.
  • Use pronouns such as „You‟ and „We‟ to address the audience. This adds a personal touch to the speech.
  • I stand in front of you…
  • I want you to ponder…
  • Is this the nation you have dreamed of?

Refer to yourself in the first person by using pronouns such as „I‟ and „Me‟.

Use repetitions of words and phrases to create an impact.

I dream, I hope and I envision a day when…
We can and we will…
From the peaks of the Himalayas, to the depths of the Indian Ocean…

Make use of transition words and phrases to connect points in a smooth and logical manner.

  • The next point I would like to make is…
  • That brings us to the main purpose…
  • Not only … but also
  • Let me begin with…
  • Likewise…
  • Contrary to popular belief…
  • In conclusion…
  • I would like to end my speech by…  

Make the speech memorable by using metaphors, similes and other analogies.

  • We have before us a mountain of a problem…
  • It is a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…
  • Like a ray of sunlight that brightens our mornings, this has brightened our lives with a renewed hope…  

As a speaker, exhibit moral conviction in your speech. Employ a sombre tone to address a serious topic. Do not use humour or sound flippant when talking about a sensitive issue. This will affect your credibility as a speaker.

Ask rhetorical questions for maximised effect. Rhetorical questions are those that are asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer in order to get a kind of response you expect from the audience.  

  • Is there a solution to this problem?
  • Are we truly that helpless?
  • Does the government think the citizens are idiots?
  • What have they done for us?

In the concluding paragraph, state your vision for the future or your hopes.

  • I hope that one day the world will wake up to this injustice…
  • I see a future where the next generation will breathe clean air…
  • Let us all cooperate and bring about a revolution

Conclude the speech by thanking the audience or by stating a powerful quote.

  • Thank you for your patience.
  • I would like to conclude this speech by expressing my heartfelt gratitude towards you.
  • In the words borrowed from Star Wars, „May the force be with you!‟
  • As Benjamin Parker once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Sample 1

Reservation: Hindrance to Democracy

Respected Principal, teachers and dear friends, 

                Today I am going to speak whether the Reservation system should be abolished in India or not.

In India, reservation was introduced to uplift the lower strata of society. However, over the years, the reserved classes have been enjoying privileges offered by the government without really contributing to the country‟s progress. The equality of opportunity has turned into a chance to misuse the relaxations offered to the lower classes. The result: the lower classes glorify their so-called „low‟ status and eat into the positions at various levels in the country. 

 In the modern times, people receive education irrespective of their caste; they are informed and can fight for their rights. The current reservation system then becomes an obsolete way of evaluating who needs aid from the government. The government should amend the reservation system and make a person‟s financial status the parameter to offer or withdraw privileges. Positions in schools and government offices should be filled taking into account a candidate‟s education and financial background.

 This is a huge change, but if brought about, will only produce better citizens who could do the nation proud at the national and the global level. It is time that the present reservation system is abolished in India. 

Thank you.


Sample 2

Terrorism can Only be Countered by War

Respected Principal, teachers and dear friends,

 Today I am going to speak for the motion terrorism can only be countered by war. The prime goal of the defence system of a country is the safety of the regions and the people. Terrorism has always been jeopardising lives. Therefore, if a country needs to fight against such groups, war is justified. Attack is the best form of defence.

Terrorist groups have a strong and sophisticated network, which can be counteracted only with an equally strong defence system. Therefore, military operation is crucial in breaking the network completely.

Terrorist groups have no regard for rules of international harmony and concord. Therefore, the use of force in the form of war is justified. The number of terrorists and terrorists groups present in the world today is mind-boggling. The world can be freed from their grips only if they are attacked and wiped out completely.

With this, I conclude my speech. I would like to thank you all for being a patient audience. 


Sample 3

Terror Cannot be Curbed by War

Respected Principal, teachers and dear friends,

 Today I am going to speak against the motion terrorism can only be countered by war. Terrorist groups are neither confined nor limited to a single country. Therefore, engaging a country‟s military to wage war against such groups is inappropriate.

      When countries are engaged in wars, there is tremendous loss of life and property. War forces civilians to give up their social rights in exchange for their safety. However, once the war has stopped, terrorists will once again wreak havoc in the lives of people. 

       The additional power given in the hands of the ruling bodies during wartime is often misused and resources are wasted. A great deal of time and money is wasted in the name of war. It takes years for a country to regain normal function after a war. Therefore, war is not an option to fight terrorism. Terrorist groups entice poor and helpless youngsters by convincing them that becoming a terrorist is a way of getting all your freedom back. 

       I wish to wind up my speech by stating that violence indeed begets more violence. If terrorists are attacked, they are likely to displace their wrath on innocent people. Therefore, war against terrorism is not justified. With this, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation. 


Sample 4

Television an Entertainer or an Educator?

Respected Principal, learned teachers and my dear friends,

 I am glad to have the opportunity to talk about the role of television as a mode of entertainment and education.Ever since its invention in the early twentieth century, television has been used to both inform and entertain people. The broadcasting machine TV may once have been limited to entertaining households, but it has gradually evolved into a medium that also provides edutainment. Be it the UGC programmes on Doordarshan or private DTH channels airing shows for children, television has found followers from all age groups.

DD Kisan is a channel intended for the benefit of farmers by telecasting appealing and informative content. DD Gyandarshan relays programmes from various Doordarshan Kendras in different Languages. It is organised and administered by NCERT, IGNOU and the National Institute of Open Schools. Apart from Doordarshan, many other channels like Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, Animal Planet and History Channel air educational and informative shows for all age groups. Children can learn about the environment, climate change and the latest innovations to explore and understand their ancestral traces.

News channels also play an important role in informing their audience about current affairs around the world. Children learn to form opinions at an early age when they see news programmes exposing malpractices or activities that disturb peace. Television, hence, is not an idiot box anymore. It actually depends on how we use the broadcasting machine. With this, I would like to reiterate that television is plays a significant role in informing, educating and entertaining the masses. The television is unparallelled in its ability to reach out to a wide audience. With this, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation.


Sample 5

Pollution – Bane of the Machine Age

Respected Principal, teachers and my dear friends, 

 Today, I wish to speak about a rather uncomfortable topic. Deep inside, we are guilty of partaking in it. Our dependence on machines has made us live in denial that fears about pollution are unfounded. I am here to dispel that comfortable lie we have told ourselves.

Progress and development comes at the cost of the environment—a maxim that we have reluctantly come to agree upon. Man exhibited resourcefulness by using his intellect to tap the resources of the planet for his own purposes. But he lacked the foresight to envision the day when his own endeavours may leave him at the precipice of destruction. We hailed industrialisation as the force that brought forth a change in the socioeconomic structure of society. Human greed has not only begotten industrialisation but also caused the degeneration of the ecosystem. A world without technology is unimaginable today. We are growing increasingly dependent on gadgets and automobiles.  

     But all this comes at a big price. Pollution is slowing killing our environment with every passing minute. Substances such as gases, chemical by-products and harmful aerosols are contaminating the air we breathe, the water we consume and the land we walk on.  

     Pollution occurs at a rate faster than the environment can accommodate and is degrading the quality of our lives. Instead of being in denial about our situation, each of us should make concerted efforts to decrease our dependence on technology. Making green choices can mitigate the damage that has already been done.  To save our environment from implosion, we need to be aware of the problems caused by the machine age. With this, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation


Sample 6

The Role of Youth in Realising the Dreams of Dr Kalam

Respected Principal, learned teachers and my dear friends,

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam‟s speech on „Youth dynamics and the nation‟ underscored the role of the youth in shaping the destiny of a country. He presented his vision of an empowered, self-sufficient India that shines in its full glory. The path to this glorious future can be paved by us—the youth of the nation.

Dr Kalam said,  “Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place, that is, a UNIQUE YOU!” According to him, knowledge, creativity, righteousness and courage can help us retain our integrity; therefore, we should relentlessly pursue these qualities to realise the dream of Dr Kalam. Young minds hold a plethora of possibilities and potentials. We need to unlock our minds with knowledge and creativity; however, the means to achieve this should never be dishonest. We should take the solemn oath to be courageous and righteous.

Many may feel that the onus is too big and that our shoulders are too weak to bear the weight of such a huge responsibility. The future has been entrusted to us by our parents whose efforts gave us a wonderful today. Therefore, it is up to us to create a better tomorrow for the coming generations by valuing the golden words of Dr Kalam. With this, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation.


Sample 7

Are Smartphones Status Symbols?

Dear friends,

     What exactly is a status symbol? It is an object that a person uses to add value to his or her social status. The very existence of this term speaks volumes about the values of our present generation. There are things an average individual can be proud about—his intelligence, his moral rectitude and his personality. But in today‟s world, where a man‟s achievements are measured by the wealth he possesses, we often find ourselves flaunting our materialistic possessions and using them as extensions of our selves. One of those things is the smartphone.

     When the phone made its entry into the market, it was a thing of wonder. Today, the smartphone has become a fairly ubiquitous device. It is no longer the prerogative of gizmo freaks and the rich. Today, even school-going children own cell phones. One may think that if something becomes commonplace, it may no longer have a special status. One cannot be more wrong.

     Today, the smartphone category has diversified and we have phones to suit everybody‟s budget. From the low end phones that only facilitate phone calls and SMS, to the expensive high end ones that have one too many features; there are so many phones to choose from. However, we have gone beyond the functional use of a smartphone; it stands for our social status and our spending power.

     Devices like the iPhone have created a sub-section among cell phone users. The ownership of such phones promises the users entry into an exclusive elite group. Such is the madness that the youth often go to any lengths to clinch a fancy phone for themselves. They create an illusion of affluence.

     Sadly, the youth fail to realise the hollowness of such endeavours. The illusion thus created lasts only as long as the phone does. A phone that was coveted by many this year may no longer interest them when its upgraded version arrives.  An iPhone 5 may seem less desirable in front of the iPhone 6.

    Like chasing a mirage, we shall never achieve permanent glory of owning a fancy phone. Let us open our eyes to this bitter reality and shun these shallow ways and focus on the glory that can be achieved by our perseverance and hardwork. On this note, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation.


Sample 8

India, a Land of Tolerance

Respected Principal, teachers and my dear friends, 

     I, Maya Gupta from Vidyamandir High School, am here to talk about the factors that are affecting our national unity. Ours is a country that prides itself on its diversity, a nation that houses many religions, philosophies, ethnicities, languages and cultures. India is a shining example of modern pluralism.

      It is here that the world‟s oldest religion Hinduism took shape; it is here that ancient Persians sought refuge from invaders; it is here where theism and monotheism live in perfect harmony. Ours is the only nation in the world where the Jewish people lived without the fear of persecution. In such a glorious land like ours, why do we see instances of intolerance?

I was fortunate to represent my state in the national youth exchange programme Yuvajans. I interacted closely with many Indian ethnic communities and discovered that we are very alike despite our differences. Problems such as parochialism and communalism become obstacles in India‟s course to become a truly integral nation. The nation‟s harmony is thus imperilled by such nefarious forces. 

      We must set an example to the world by recognising the ties that bind us instead of the fault lines that divide us. Tolerance and brotherhood should become our guiding lights to harmony. In the words of

Nehru, “There is only one India of which all of us are inheritors; it belongs to all of us.” On this note, I conclude my speech.

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation.


Sample 9

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Respected Principal, teachers and my dear friends,

 I wish to talk today about the slack justice dispensing system of our nation. More than being a machinery to maintain peace in society, the justice system of the country should be able to instil a sense of security among its citizens. It is a watchdog that makes examples out of offenders and discourages the instances of crime. It does so by punishing criminals, thereby giving closure to the victims and imparting a sense of justice being done. The Salman Khan case, the Jessica Lal case and the Nitish Katara case are examples of justice being twisted to serve the people in power! I wish to use a phrase today, „Justice

Delayed is Justice Denied‟ to prove my point.

The above idea means that a delay in dispensing justice is akin to justice not been done at all. Being social animals, man has created a legal system to maintain harmony in society. But this legal system often lags in the delivery of justice, thus becoming a cause of agony for the common man.

In India, there are about three crore cases that are pending. The sword of Damocles hangs perpetually over the heads of those awaiting justice. The perpetrators of the crime exploit this delay to find ways to circumvent the laws, thus bolstering the resolve of anti-social elements.

In addition, the victims run out of money to pay for the legal representation if their case is protracted. People will be mistrustful of the judiciary and lose faith in the government. Frenzied mobs may take the law in their own hands when they find the judiciary failing and may resort to rudimentary forms of dispensing justice. In conclusion,

I wish to say that In the absence of a good legal system, anarchy and chaos will become the order of the day