Speech Structure | Critical Studies
- Explain briefly who you are and why you are the appropriate person to give this speech.
- Identify the topic of the speech.
- Identify your main argument about the speech topic.
Body of Speech
- The body should be made up of paragraphs. Each new idea should get its own paragraph. Paragraphs should be logically ordered.
- Each paragraph should have a topic sentence which neatly states the idea.
- Explain what you mean – the details of this topic sentence.
- Each paragraph should provide some support or proof of your idea, such as an anecdote, statistics, or a quote.
- Sentences should be kept short and punchy. Keywords should be made the first word of the sentence wherever possible.
- Give a “take-away message” a main idea that your speech was arguing.
- Explain why this idea is important for the audience – themselves, their school, society of Speech Structure.
- Leave the audience with something mature to think about. This should prove your emotional sensitivity to important issues in society.
- What is the speaker’s goal? Is it to educate, to motivate, to persuade, or to entertain?
- What is the primary message being delivered?
- Why is this person delivering this speech?
- Was the objective achieved?
The Audience and Context
- Where and when is the speech being delivered?
- What are the key demographic features of the audience?
- How large is the audience?
- In addition to the live audience, is there an external target audience? (e.g. on the Internet or mass media)
Words, body language and visuals in the speech opening are all critical to speaking success.
- Was a hook used effectively to draw the audience into the speech? Or did the speaker open with a dry “It’s great to be here today.“
- Did the speech open with a story? A joke? A startling statistic? A controversial statement? A powerful visual?
- Did the speech opening clearly establish the intent of the presentation?
- Was the opening memorable?
- Was the presentation focused? i.e. Did all arguments, stories, anecdotes relate back to the primary objective?
- Were examples or statistics provided to support the arguments?
- Were metaphors and symbolism use to improve understanding?
- Was the speech organized logically? Was it easy to follow?
- Did the speaker bridge smoothly from one part of the presentation to the next?
Like the opening, the words, body language, and visuals in the speech conclusion are all critical to speaking success.
- Was the conclusion concise?
- Was the conclusion memorable?
- If appropriate, was there a call-to-action?
Enthusiasm and Connection to the Audience
- Was the speaker enthusiastic? How can you tell?
- Was there audience interaction? Was it effective?
- Was the message you– and we-focused, or was it I- and me-focused?
- Was humour used?
- Was it safe and appropriate given the audience?
- Were appropriate pauses used before and after the punch lines, phrases, or words?
- Was it relevant to the speech?
- Was the language appropriate for the audience?
- Did the speaker articulate clearly?
- Were sentences short and easy to understand?
- Was technical jargon or unnecessarily complex language used?
- What rhetorical devices were used? e.g. repetition, alliteration, the rule of three, metaphors and similes, antithesis (focus on opposites to set ideas against each-other eg “We go, you stay.”) And were clichés avoided? “in this day and age” “by and large” “the fact of the matter is…”