How to plan a speech from Tom Bennett's blog

A clear speech plan will boost your self-confidence and help you keep the situation under control. When working on the plan, remember to introduce yourself and communicate the topic of the speech, voice the issues under consideration and take into account the interests of those present.

How to think about an introduction

Start with a hello. First of all, listeners want to know the identity of the speaker. If you have already been introduced, then thank the host and organizers of the event for the opportunity.

Consider possible excitement at the beginning of the speech and reflect this moment in the plan.

If you have anything in common with those present or the organizers, then state it in the greeting, especially in a situation where you need to introduce yourself.

Grab the attention of your listeners. It is important to attract and hold the attention of those present throughout the speech. You can use a joke, a life story, or an unusual observation about the topic of the speech that will not be more appropriate in a later speech.

Choose the appropriate reception taking into account those present. What can captivate listeners? It doesn't have to be interesting or fun for you personally.

If you doubt the effectiveness of the chosen solution, refer to the author on this site, try rehearsing the beginning in the presence of friends or relatives whose age and interests are approximately the same as those who will be present at the event.

Show why the audience should listen to you. In this part of the introduction, you should move from the introductory story or joke directly to the topic of the speech. 1-2 sentences are enough.

Briefly explain the importance of the topic or issue to be addressed.

In an informational speech, state the importance or relevance of the issue to the audience.

In a motivational speech, explain the consequences if the actions discussed are not taken.

State your thesis. The thesis tells listeners about the approximate scope of your speech. Usually the structure and semantic content of the thesis depends on the type of speech.

In a motivational speech, the thesis should be a statement of the final idea that you want to convince the audience with the help of information and evidence.

As a thesis for an informational speech, you can simply summarize the information that you are going to present in your speech.

In scientific speech, the thesis should reflect the hypothesis on which your research is based.

Prove your authority. You've made your point, but it's important for the audience to know why they should trust you. It is not necessary to use official confirmations such as your degree or length of study. Sometimes a life story is quite appropriate.

If you give a speech in front of a class at school, then you can communicate that you studied the subject and did research.

If you have a more personal interest in a topic, then it's perfectly appropriate to say so.

In a motivational speech, a personal connection to the topic of the speech can help build your credibility. Often a personal connection is more important for listeners than extensive professional experience in this field.

Pre-introduce the main points of the speech. Listeners need to know what you will talk about, for what purpose and why they should listen to you. Summarize the main points at the beginning of your presentation.

There is no single rule, but usually speech consists of three parts. List all the parts in the introduction in the order in which they will be presented in the speech. The order usually depends on the type of speech.

In a persuasive speech, start with the most compelling argument and gradually reduce the effect.

In informational speech based on a historical event, you can follow the chronological order. In other cases, it is better to start with broad questions and gradually move on to more specific ones.

The order of the paragraphs should be natural and allow for smooth transitions between parts of your speech.

How to plan the main part

State the first point. The outline of the main part of the speech will begin with the first point that you intend to state. Create a smooth transition from the introduction to the main part of the speech.

Use the top-level plan item with Roman numeral designation.

Below you can place subparagraphs with comments, statistics and other evidence of the stated idea. Use a lettered or bulleted list depending on the format.

State supporting data or arguments. Under the first paragraph, list the specific evidence or facts you want to use in your speech. It can be dates, quotes or statistics.

As in the case of the points of the plan, the evidence should go from the most significant and important to the least significant. If you run out of time, then the remaining points can be neglected without loss of efficiency.

The type of supporting data or subclauses depends on the type of speech.

Don't overwhelm your listeners with a lot of numbers or statistics, as they usually don't remember that kind of information. If you have a lot of digital data and statistics, use infographics that can be projected onto a large screen.

Remember that additional personal stories and anecdotes allow you to communicate your ideas more effectively to your listeners.

Move on to the next item. Give all the information you wanted to give in the first paragraph, then return to the top level of the plan and come up with a smooth transition to a new idea (one or two sentences).

Don't make transitions difficult. Extra sophistication is useless. If you can’t think of a specific transition, then you can get by with a general phrase.

The most effective transitions use a specific word or phrase like "effect" or "consequence".

Repeat the steps for all remaining items. In the next two paragraphs, your plan will look approximately the same. Start with a top-level outline paragraph and a topic sentence, and then use three or four sub-paragraphs with a lettered or bulleted list.

When choosing subpoints or facts that you want to emphasize in a speech, remember to also consider the general idea and your listeners. What is important to them or what moments can surprise those present the most?

How to build the final part

Think of a smooth transition. After completing the main part of the speech, an effective transition is needed to inform the listeners about the onset of the final part.

It is not necessary to use a bright transition or even a whole sentence. You can only say: "In conclusion" - and go to the final part.

Summarize the points discussed. Presenters often describe the organization of a speech as follows: “Say what you are going to say, give a speech and say what you were talking about.” Begin the concluding part by retelling the preceding paragraphs.

No need to go into details, just summarize what has been said so far.

Do not provide new information in the final part of the speech.

Restate your thesis. This version of the thesis should sound like a conclusion and end result, not an assumption from the introduction.

If everything went well, then you have fully confirmed the thesis and proved its importance. It is necessary to return to the result of the considered points and formulate a convincing statement.

In a short speech, you can even combine the summary of the plan points with the final thesis in one sentence that summarizes your entire speech.

Use a catchy detail. At the end of the speech, use the same technique as at the very beginning. Tell a story from your life or a funny story that will emphasize the importance of the main idea.

For example, you can tell the audience an unexpected continuation of the story with which you began your speech.

In motivational and similar speech, the closing lines usually contain a call to action. Give an example that will emphasize the importance of the topic discussed, and call on the audience to take specific action based on the information presented.

The call to action should be specific (where and when to go, what to do, who to contact).

Thank the audience and organizers. Thank the audience for their attention. Show that you respect those present and value their time. If you have been invited to speak by specific people or organizations, re-report it.

If your speech dragged on and went beyond the allotted limits, express your gratitude to all those present for their patience.

As with the opening greeting, include this point in your plan so you don't forget it. At the same time, words of gratitude do not have to be written verbatim. Usually they should sound impromptu and from the heart.

Allow time for questions. Discuss with the organizers in advance the possibility of questions and answers. If you intend to answer questions, mark your outline at the end of your speech.

If you want to outline the parameters of the questions, then list the details in the plan so that you can verbalize them to the audience before the Q&A session.

Consider the questions you might be asked based on the content of the speech. Write these answers at the end of the plan.

Also indicate the allotted time or allowed number of questions.

The plan can be arbitrary or strictly follow formal rules. Write the names of the items in full or in abbreviated form. First of all, the plan should be convenient for you.

Use a large font that is easy to see at a glance. Print out the plan and put it on the table, then stand by and look at the text. If the font is illegible or you bend over to read the text, then you need to increase the font size.

It is not necessary to make a plan right away in the final order. You can start with the main part, and then move on to the introduction and conclusion. Sometimes it is difficult to formulate an introduction when there is no ready plan for the rest of the speech.

If you are preparing a speech for a lesson, then usually your plan should meet the requirements for content or design. Read the assignment carefully and make a plan that takes into account all the requirements of the teacher, even if you deviate slightly from the plan during the presentation.

Create a plan in a text editor on your computer. You can use a suitable template that will automatically suggest the correct design.

How to remember speech?

Sometimes you need to give a speech in front of a class or a presentation at work, but for most people, just the thought of it is already in awe. Fortunately, there are special methods and tricks to make it easier to memorize parts of a public speech. To find out more, read on.

Basic Methods

Write a speech plan. Before writing the speech in its entirety in its final version, think about its key points and write it down as an outline. Thanks to the scheme, which will affect the main parts of speech, it will be easier for you to remember and pronounce it.

The scheme should consist of all the main and additional thoughts. If you want to use good examples or analogies in your presentation, highlight them, for example, by circling them.

Record the speech in full. In order for the speech to be fixed in the head, you need to write it down in full, namely: the introduction, the main part and the conclusion.

It is essential to record the speech in its entirety, even if you do not plan to memorize it verbatim.

Read the speech aloud. For better memorization, you must first say the speech aloud in order to hear it. In this way, more senses will be involved, and then other memorization techniques can be used.

If possible, try to read the speech where you will be speaking. The acoustics of each hall and room are slightly different, so reading the speech from the exact place where you plan to speak will help you get used to how your voice will sound. In addition, you will be able to get acquainted with the layout of the room, which will allow you to rehearse not only the text, but also your movements.

Think about which parts you need to memorize completely, and which parts partially. Most of the speech does not need to be memorized word for word. As a rule, it is enough to memorize verbatim, or at least as close to the text as possible, only the introduction and conclusion. While it is not necessary to memorize all the material verbatim, only key thoughts and details need to be memorized.

It makes sense to remember the introduction. If you know exactly what to say at the beginning of your speech, you will be able to calm down and relax during the speech. If you remember the conclusion, then you will not be at a loss, and you will not repeat the same information without knowing how to finish.

As a rule, it is not recommended to memorize the main part of the speech verbatim, so that it does not sound constrained and unnatural.

Repeat, rehearse, practice. Regardless of the effectiveness of the memorization method you use, the most important thing to do is to rehearse the speech as often as possible. It is much better if you say the speech out loud, and not just try to remember it in your mind.

The first two times can be repeated by reading the speech from a laptop or recordings. On the third or fourth attempt, if possible, try to deliver the speech from memory. If you are stuck, then of course, refer to your notes, but still try to do without them.

Try to memorize at least half (preferably more) of your speech.

Visual image

Divide the speech into logical parts. If you have drawn up a diagram, refer to it. Each main idea or important addition should be presented as separate parts. In other words, if the information in the diagram has been circled, it becomes a separate part.

If you haven't written an outline, or if you don't like circling information in an outline, you can divide your speech into paragraphs. The point is to have a main idea in each part.

Come up with an image for each part. Create a visual for each part. The more absurd and unusual it is, the easier it will be to remember this image.

Let's say your speech is about the beauty and benefits of various organic foods, and one part of the speech mentions coconut oil, which makes hair grow faster. You can imagine Rapunzel sitting on top of a tower made of coconuts or living in a room filled with coconuts. Rapunzel is associated with long hair, and coconuts indicate a connection with coconut oil. By themselves, the components are quite ordinary, but when combined they become absurd, making them easier to remember.

Think of places. In your presentation, you need to combine all mental images into one. The easiest way to do this is to visualize your movement in different places, watching how the pictures change in order.

Places can be close or far, you decide. Ultimately, the main thing is to arrange the pictures in your mind consistently and logically enough so that you do not get confused in them.

If most of the places you visualize are outdoors, then you can choose something as simple as a forest.

It is also possible to use the human body as a map. You can present images as tattoos on the body. As you mentally travel through your body, you will see these images naturally arranged in sequence.

Tie the images together. Arrange the visuals in a certain order and start rehearsing the speech, relying on them as a guide. As you rehearse, imagine that you are traveling from one place to another, visualizing the images in the order in which they appear on your speech plan.

Visual images must be securely linked. Otherwise, you can simply forget the order of presentation of information, and this will be very unpleasant.

In the example of Rapunzel and coconuts, you can link one image to another by imagining that your hair is messed up, and for this reason you are seeking advice from a person with long, healthy hair.


Divide the speech into sections. If you want to memorize a short speech or paragraphs verbatim, use the fragmentation method. Divide the speech into small fragments, no more than two or three sentences, which you can easily deal with.

Take the time to delineate each paragraph or passage in your written notes. This will make it easier for you to remember where one part ends and the next begins. Accidentally forgetting or missing some part will now be more difficult.

Rehearse one piece until you remember it. Rehearse each passage out loud, repeating until you remember it so well that you don't have to look at your notes.

If you're stuck, don't peek into your notes right away. Starting over, try telling the passage again. If it fails again, take some time to remember the missing information. When you realize that you won't be able to remember, take a look at your notes and take a quick look at what was the missing link.

When you finish memorizing a piece of speech, read it again to make sure you remember everything correctly.

Gradually memorize other fragments. Once you have successfully memorized the first fragment, add the second fragment to it, repeating both until you remember the second fragment just as well. Continue in this way until you memorize the entire speech or part of the speech without looking at the notes.

It is important to repeat those fragments that you have already memorized so that you do not forget them. In addition, repeating all the speech fragments will help you remember how they connect to each other.

Repeat. Keep repeating your speech out loud. If you're having trouble remembering a particular passage, isolate it and focus on bringing it back to mind before trying to weave it back into speech.

Additional Help

Record the speech if possible. While the two most important ways to remember speech are writing it and speaking it out loud, recording the speech on a voice recorder and playing it back can also be helpful.

Listen to an audio recording of your speech when it is not possible to rehearse aloud. You can, for example, play it in the car or turn it on before going to bed.

Use other senses. If certain keywords remind you of particular sounds, smells, tastes, or touches, pair those imaginary sensations with a visual image to help you remember your speech. Mental images are often the strongest that can be relied upon for memory, but other senses can also be of great help.

For example, if you tell that some historical event made a lot of noise and instantly spread, you can imagine the sound of something heavy and noisy falling into the water and feel it.

Create an acronym. If you have a list of words to memorize verbatim, you can use a mnemonic known as an acronym. An acronym is formed from the first letters of each item on the list to create a sentence or word that will then help you remember those items by their first letters.

Turn complex facts into concrete examples. To illustrate different concepts or thoughts, add stories and analogies to your speech. A specific example will help not only to remember information faster, but also to attract the attention of the audience.

Express emotions. To better convey your speech to your listeners, express emotions with gestures, this will help you remember key points and captivate your audience.

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By Tom Bennett
Added Jul 11 '22



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