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