By now, you have quite a bit of information you could include in your speech. In this lesson, you'll select the most interesting, most relevant, and most persuasive pieces of information and organize them into a clear outline.
Focus: Effective Speeches
Before you begin outlining the text of your speech, you want to consider the specific purpose of your speech. What effect do you want to have on the audience? What do you want them to think, believe, and feel? You also want to think about who your audience is. Are you writing a speech for teenagers, for adults, or for a more general audience? And once you've identified your audience, you must ask, What do they know? What do they care about? Your audience will influence everything about your speech, from the words you write to the tone with which you speak.
Take Vice President Johnson's speech and audience, for example. He was speaking to a fairly general audience, but more specifically to white Americans. He also made certain assumptions about his audience. By alluding multiple times to Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," he assumed that his audience was familiar with the history of Gettysburg and the current state of the fight for civil rights at that time. As a result of these assumptions, he didn't spend a lot of time giving background information on either the history of the site nor of current events.
Perhaps the purpose of your speech will be to persuade your audience to take a side on an issue. Perhaps it will be to inform them about a subject of importance to you. Perhaps it will be to share an experience that changed you. There are many possible purposes for speeches, but these three are common ones. See whether you can capture the purpose of your speech in a sentence or two right now.
Style, Tone, and Voice
As you begin to write your speech, consider the style, tone, and voice you want to use.
Some speeches are suited to an informal style of writing and speaking, while others are suited to a formal style. For example, a speech about a cute event that happened to you when you were younger is likely to be informal, but a speech about a world problem will likely require a more formal style.
Your tone might be serious or humorous, depending on your topic and your treatment…