A speech is a formal or informal talk given to an audience. A speech allows you to express your thoughts and opinion to a large group of people. Speeches are common in all schools. Therefore, as a student, you will have to give a speech at least once. This article is a mini-guide to prepare you to give a speech. Learn about the types of speeches, the topics you can choose as well as tips on how to deliver an English speech.
Types of Speeches
Since speeches can be for different purposes, they fall into different categories. Various categories are as follows:
An informative speech helps educate an audience on a particular subject. During such a speech, the speaker uses facts and statistics to help the audience grasp the concept. These facts help back any claims they make.
An entertaining speech is meant to amuse a crowd of people. These types of speeches are less formal and generally shorter than traditional speeches. Furthermore, the speaker communicates emotions rather than giving the crowd facts and statistics. They also include humorous anecdotes. Such speeches are common at a wedding or parties. An example is the Best Man’s speech at a wedding.
Demonstrative speeches aim to educate the crowd about a topic they have no prior knowledge about. They often contain visual aids to describe the concept in greater detail.
Often, people get confused between a demonstrative and informative speech. A demonstrative speech explains how to do a particular task. For example, a tech company may deliver a speech revealing their new devices. This speech shows how the devices work, thus, making it a demonstrative English speech. Another example is when a teacher or firefighter delivers a speech on how to use a fire extinguisher to the students.
Persuasive speeches are given when the speaker wishes to convey the right opinion on a particular subject. It covers a variety of topics from entertainment to politics. Speakers use concrete evidence to support their statements and gain the audience’s support. For example,
a lawyer uses persuasive speech along with evidence to gain the jury’s support and obtain a vote in their favour.
Oratorical speech refers to the act of giving a specific type of speech. They are more formal than other types of speeches. Although oratorical speakers do not wish to persuade the audience on a particular subject matter, they still cover certain important issues and express their opinions.
Debate speeches follow a set of rules and take place during a debate competition. During a debate, all sides are given the same amount of time to speak their opinion or view. Hence, a debate speech is quite similar to a persuasive speech. The only difference between the two is that debate speeches aim to justify a person’s opinion on a particular matter while persuasive speeches aim to convince the audience to join a particular side.
Special occasion speech
Special occasion speeches are given during special events like a wedding, award show or birthday party. They do not fall into a particular category and do not follow a set format. Special occasion speeches aim to fit the context of the environment to effectively convey the speaker message and gain the audience’s attention. They are direct and often short and upbeat. an example of this type of speech is the one given to introduce a guest’s arrival.
Pitch speeches are given to gain approval or support for an idea or product. For example, a salesperson will pitch the product they are selling to the customer by telling them its most useful qualities and how the product can help them in their daily life. Pitch speeches are also given in an office when you are trying to get your colleagues on board with a particular idea.
Motivational speeches inspire an audience to improve themselves. They essentially help lift the audience’s spirits, thereby improving their self-esteem. Additionally, motivational speeches also help a person achieve a particular goal. For example, employers and managers give such speeches to motivate their employees to perform better.
An impromptu speech is one you deliver without any prior preparation. Typically, someone may spontaneously call on you to give a spontaneous speech at an event. This can often feel intimidating. However, with the right guidance and support, you will be able to deliver an impromptu speech with confidence.
In a farewell speech, the speaker says their goodbyes to a group of people. For example, employees give a farewell speech when they leave their jobs. You also give a farewell speech to your loved ones when you are moving far away.
Explanatory speeches describe a situation or thing in detail. They provide a breakdown of how to complete a task while providing the crowd with a detailed step-by-step guide. Furthermore, they do not use a visual aid to help the audience better understand the topic. For example, on a food show, a chef uses explanatory speech to describe each step of the process.
Eulogy or funeral speech
Funeral speeches aim to honour a recently passed individual. Typically, they are delivered by someone close to the deceased or a minister. The speaker honours the individual with a heartfelt speech and also praises them for what they achieved in life.
Identify the nature of the event
Begin by finding out the nature of the speaking event and its primary purpose. This will help you choose a topic that is relevant and fit for the purpose. Don’t make wild assumptions. Instead, learn the basic information on the topic beforehand.
Know your audience
Although you may not know a single soul when you stand in front of an audience, there are commonalities between the individuals that make up an audience. Common characteristics include age, beliefs, education, hobbies, gender, experience, ethnicity and employment. Being aware of such commonalities can assist in selecting a relevant topic.
Think about your personal interests, experiences and knowledge
Is the topic of personal interest to you? As a speaker, you will need to have prior knowledge or experience about the topic. If you are genuinely curious about your topic it makes research and writing an English speech more enjoyable.
Identify recent news
The right topic also has to be relevant to current issues.
Brainstorm all possible ideas
With your brain now full of ideas, it is time to jot them down. Document all your ideas on a sheet of paper no matter how wild or ridiculous they may seem. It is also helpful to bounce your ideas off somebody as talking to them can help narrow down your list.
Decide a topic and commit to it
On reviewing your list, there may be one topic that just jumps at you. You may find a natural bond with the subject and the speech begins to write itself in your mind. When this happens, you have found your topic.
If you are still finding it difficult to choose a topic, list out all the major key points of all the topics. The topic that is the easiest and quickest to craft is the one you should pick.
1-minute English speech topics on different subjects
|Pros and Cons of Online Learning|
|The Best Day of My Life|
|Social Media: Bane or Boon?|
|Importance of Books in Our Life|
|Benefits of Yoga|
|Introverts vs Extroverts|
|If I had a Superpower|
|Importance of Reading|
|My Favorite Fictional Character|
|Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Is it real or not?|
2-Minute English speech topics for kids of all ages
|Importance of Kindness|
|Why books are better than their movies?|
|Is there Value in Homework?|
|Things I learned in Lockdown|
|How can food be recycled?|
|Women make better presidents/prime ministers|
|Should Art be a part of the school curriculum?|
|Should schools teach sign languages?|
|Importance of Extracurricular Activities|
English Speech Topics on Environment
|Depletion of Ozone Layer|
|Reducing Water Levels|
|World Environment Day|
|Energy alternatives – Only solution to the environmental damage|
|Natural disasters and their impact on economic growth|
|Extinction of rare species|
4. English Speech Topics on Social Issues
|Education of Girl Child|
|Importance of Right to Education|
English Speech Topics on Greatest Leaders in India & Around the World
Persuasive speech topics for students
|Do exam results alone determine a child’s worth?|
|Do video games promote violence?|
|How to overcome the fear of Maths?|
|What is the best age to own a mobile phone?|
|What is better: Paper books or E-Books?|
|How to overcome exam fever?|
English speech topics for kindergarten and elementary school kids
|My favourite family story|
|Why I should be President?|
|Why my favourite subject is science, English, math, gym… etc.?|
|Tell us some of the consequences of lying, stealing, cheating, etc.?|
|What I would most like to learn how to do is…?|
|My favourite creative outlet is painting, music, acting, etc.|
|Being a kid sucks because…|
|Being a kid is great because|
|My favourite animal|
|The best toy ever|
|Something I love to do for fun…|
How to prepare for a speech
Decide if the audience will be interested in the topic
If the audience doesn’t gain anything useful from your speech they will either not turn up or leave early. Thus, your topic and content need to contain values for the audience.
Research your audience
If possible, take time to get to know your audience. This can give you insight into their thoughts, opinions and how to convey your points to them. Consider what questions they might ask you and research them.
Consider the venue of the speech
Consider the venue and how much time you have. Furthermore, determine if you will get a microphone or not. Knowing such information can help you write an English speech that effectively addresses your audience with the right tone.
Focus on your topic.
When preparing the speech, take some time to understand the topic. Do some research if you require additional information. Ensure to focus only on your topic and avoid getting sidetracked. You may also create an outline for this purpose
Ensure that there is a balance of information and evidence
Be sure to provide a balanced collection of evidence to your audience. For example, instead of only providing statistical evidence backing one side of your argument, offer them numbers that support both sides. Often, this lets the audience come to their own conclusion, which is better than forcing your mindset onto them.
Use reputable sources for evidence
If your speech contains facts and statistical figures, ensure that you are getting your information from credible and reputable resources. Use peer-reviewed academic journals, industry literature, government websites or reference books to find the information. It is also essential to cite your sources in your speech.
Structure of a speech
1. Start with a brief introduction of the topic
2. Mention the current situation, the problem and corrective measures taken to improve the problem. Cover each point one by one.
3. Pick the best points to include in your speech f there are too many in the subject. If you try to include all the points, your audience will be overwhelmed.
4. Do not deviate from the subject.
5. End your English speech with a solution or an opinion on the topic. If you are giving a solution to an issue, remember to include some steps or guidelines that can be followed.
How to start the speech?
Here are seven excellent ways to open a speech.
Begin your speech with a suitable quote that can help set the tone for the rest of your speech.
For example: “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
A “what if” scenario
Asking a “what if” question immediately draws your audience into your speech.
For example: “What if everyone was blunt? How different would our world be then?”
Create an “imagine” scenario
Similar to the above method, it attracts our audience directly into the presentation.
Ask a question
Ask a rhetorical or literal question. When someone is posed with a question, that person intuitively answers.
silence works wonders. A pause of 2 to 10 seconds allows your audience to sit and quiet down. It also draws all attention to you.
Use a surprising statistic that will resonate with the audience, thus, getting your message across right away.
Use a powerful statement
A statement can catch the audience’s attention by keeping them guessing as to what you’re about to say next.
How to end the speech?
Try to end your speech with a call to action
This tells the audience what you want them to do as a result of hearing you speak. It is also the best way to wrap up your talk with strength and power.
End your speech with a summary
This is a formula that you can use with any talk. Tell them, in brief, all the important points made in your speech.
Close with a story
You can end your talk with a brief story with a moral related to your topic. Tell them what the moral is. Ensure that the story illustrates your key points as well as has a clear link to the message you are trying to convey.
Make them laugh
You can also close with humour. Tell a joke that loops back into your subject and repeats the main point you are making.
Close with inspiration
You can also conclude your speech with something inspirational.
For example: If you have given an uplifting talk, a statement that you can use is “Remember that hope is and has always been, the main religion of mankind.”
Tips for giving an English speech
Effectively organize your material to attract attention to your purpose
Create the flow and plan of your speech. Ensure that it includes the general and purpose, central idea as well as key points. Be sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.
Watch for feedback and adapt to it
Focus on the audience throughout your speech. Gauge their reactions and adjust your message. It is important to stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will lead to the loss of attention and can even confuse the audience.
Let your personality shine
In any type of communication, it is good to be yourself. You will establish a better rapport with the crowd when your personality comes through.
Use your voice and hands effectively
Nonverbal communication carries most of the message you want to convey. Good delivery does not call attention to itself but instead, it conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly.
Grab the audience’s attention
Begin your speech with a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or a quote. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience will surely remember.
Use the power of eye contact.
Bill Clinton was a master of eye contact. He did this because the audience is made of individuals. Thus, it is essential to make eye contact with each of them. Additionally, eye contact makes them feel personally engaged in a speech, and hence, more likely to be persuaded.
What is an inspirational speech?
An inspirational speech is one that is emotionally charged and inspires the audience through the speaker’s thoughts, stories and ideas. The goal of an inspirational speech is not only to motivate the crowd but also to inspire them with hope and new ideas to bring about a change in their life.
What can you do to get rid of stage fright?
To cope with stage fright and become a better orator, you need experience. You can only get experience by delivering a speech on stage. Thus, the more speeches you make, the more experience you get and the better you cope with the stage fright.
Some key points you can use include,
- Firstly, keep eye contact with your listeners
- Second, use simple and understandable language
- Finally, if you make a mistake that is hard to notice, don’t think much of it. Simply make a joke about yourself, and your audience will forgive you. As long as you are friendly the audience will be eager to listen to you.
How to practice making a speech?
An essential part of the preparation to give a speech is practice. You need to rehearse your content at home. Some points to keep in mind are,
- Begin by practising in an empty room, preferably the one you will be making your speech in.
- Practice standing upright
- Practice with your slides and evidence
- Make using notes smooth
- Mind your body language and learn how to use it effectively
- Record yourself in a camera and check the video to see where you can improve.
- If you are given a limited amount of time, use a stopwatch when rehearsing
- Practice on your own, then do the same with a friend or family
- Think about the possible questions and their answers in advance