Preparing your Speech

Summary of steps in preparing a speech to inform or a speech to persuade

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  • Select and narrow your topic.
    The topic should be worthy of the audience’s time; relevant and appropriate to the audience and occasion.
  • Determine your purpose.  what is your general purpose?
    • Speech to inform: “To educate the audience about…” or “To clarify the matter of…”
    • Speech to persuade: “To change or reinforce audience’s values or beliefs” or “To get the audience to take action about…”
  • What is your specific purpose– How you want the audience to respond?
  • “At the end of the speech the audience will be able to…”or”will know that…”
  • “At the end of the speech the audience will believe that…”or”will act to…”
  • Develop your thesis statement,or central idea.
    The thesis should be complete sentences; it should have your point of view on the topic.
  • Develop a list of the main ideas that support your thesis.
  • The main ideas should develop from the thesis.
  • The main ideas are the points that you need to cover in order to establish your thesis.
  • You typically need at least 3 main points to support a thesis.

Organize the main ideas into a format that is logical and that supports your thesis. The organization patterns most frequently used are:

  • Topical
  • Chronological 
  • Spatial
  • Cause and effect
  • Problem and solution


  • Develop sub points to explain each main idea. You need at least 2 sub points for each main idea.
  • Explain each sub point with additional supporting material. The format for citing evidence is:
  • State the sub point you are making
  • Cite the source of your research or explanation
  • Present the supporting information
  • Explain how the information helps develop,explain or provide substantiation for the point 

To summarize, when making sub points remember:   “Statement-Evidence-Explanation”

Source: Beebe, Steven A. and Susan J. Beebe,Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach. Persons Education, Inc; Boston, 2009