Crafting a Speech

Crafting a Speech

It’s competition season for Toastmasters. Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters VP of Education, Abhijeet Joshi, shared in his workshop on friday how to craft a winning speech 

Crafting a Speech, Crafting a Speech

Here are some key takeaways: 

Styles of Writing 

  • Short sentences 
  • Contractions
  • Easy words to pronounce
  • Rhetorical questions 
  • Analytical process and reactions 

Topic Selection 

  • We often select topics that are based on our interests, career, family, and education. When you include stories like family, failure, and fear, it often resonates with the audience well. 
  • If you are doing a research topic, good sources include Google, books, magazines, and newspapers. 
  • When you are preparing for your speech, write it down, consider using voice recording, and bring a notebook to write down ideas. 

Organize Your Speech

  • Most speakers often organize their speeches with structure like opening, body, and conclusion. Remember to tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them. 


  • There are various ways to have a successful opening. You can try to get the audience’s attention, introduce the topic, establish rapport. It should usually take less than 5-10% of the speech core content. 
  • Some commonly used techniques include: a quote, audience participation, arouse suspense or curiosity, tell a story or anecdote, state the importance of your topic, and use a rhetorical question. 
  • Openings to avoid: avoid acknowledging the amount of preparation, being dull or boring, displaying mention of the topic 


  • In the body paragraphs, it’s important to include obstacles, tension, and curiosity 
  • Fill the outline with key points, arrange them in order, and expand upon the key points. 
  • When you are writing your speeches, remember that good speeches are rewritten, find a chunk of time and write the draft in one-sitting, and then revisit it as frequently as needed. 
  • If you have a strong accent or like to talk very quickly, consider timing yourself to 100 words per minute. Edit your speech to the desired word count. 


  • The conclusion is arguably the most important part of the speech. It should achieve a sense of closure, make an impact, and take 5-10% of the entire speech time. 
  • Closing techniques include: 
    • Summarize your main points. Repetition reinforces your message. 
    • Call to Action. Clearly explain what action the audience should take. 
    • Refer to the beginning of the speech. Full circle often has great effect 
  • Memorize your conclusion. Prepare a few conclusions for the competition, just in case you run short on time due to audience interaction, and you can select a shorter conclusion. 
  • Refrain from adding new points. Remember to tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them. Do not introduce new points at the end of the presentation. 

Pitfalls to Avoid 

  • Boring start
  • Chronological
  • Unclear message – one message is enough 
  • No tension or curiosity 

Tips for Success:

  • Conversation style helps engage the audience 
  • Brisk start to grab audience’s attention up front 
  • Tell a compelling story with one key message 
  • Remember vocal variety to emphasize key points 
  • Reveal authentic passion 
  • Connect the audience with three main pathways to the brain 
    • 1) visual,
    • 2) auditory digital (voice, analysis, facts, and data), and 
    • 3) kinesthetic (touch, smell, and taste)

“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Here are Abhijeet’s Slides for your reference. 

Best of luck to those who are competing in club contests this month; come cheer our brave competitors this coming club meeting on Feb 24, 2021 6:00 p.m. PST.  

Crafting a Speech, Crafting a Speech

Written by Renee Yao, President of Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters

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