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How to Write an Effective Speech

  Paige Morgan             Officer Outlook

How to Write an Effective Speech

In the Order of the Arrow, Arrowmen must write speeches for various occasions, such as elections, banquets, and other formal events. Speech writing, however, can seem challenging at first, especially for those who might be new to the program. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare, write, and deliver such an address. It is important to have these skills in order to be a successful speaker throughout life.


When writing an election speech, it is essential to think about what you want to speak about. For example, writing an outline can help transform thoughts into words. To illustrate, Alex Pillis, the 2022 Eastern Region chief, said, “I would often start by looking at what kind of things I would like to change in the area I’m running for. Pick topics that you are passionate about. If you find things you care about, both writing and delivering the speech will appear more genuine to your audience.” Essentially, organizing points will help the speech run smoothly for the audience and for the speaker. This is key for leaders when they deliver a speech about change or passionate ideas.


Another helpful strategy is incorporating a small personal story to appear more genuine to your audience. This is especially helpful when writing speeches for a banquet when you can look back on the memories and successes of the year before. Sophie S., the lodge chief of Amangamek Wipit Lodge, stated, “I like to incorporate personal stories or little anecdotes to make my speeches a bit more compelling for the listeners. Having one central theme and those personal anecdotes helps me tie things together in my speeches.”


After you find your speech is written how you like it, send it to a friend for their feedback. Having someone else read your speech can improve grammar, word choice, and overall formatting. “I’ve always sent my speeches to my friends who are good at speech writing and grammar to get their input on where things need to be improved before giving the speech,” Alex stated. It is important to have different perspectives on your speech because your peers may think about something to change or add that you didn't. Additionally, you must conduct your own edits to achieve a speech ready for delivery. Make sure your speech transitions easily from topic to topic as you revise. As you make edits, note where you want certain inflections to happen and put them into words you would use daily so the speech flows naturally.


According to Sophie, however, some of the best speeches are not even written down word for word. “Being able to ad-lib off of a few key points of your speech is a great skill and makes for some of the best speeches. When preparing, write down some key bullet points, and use them to guide you when delivering your speech.”


These skills, along with confidence in yourself and your writing, can help make any speech captivating and intriguing. Writing out all your ideas, receiving feedback from others, and including personal stories are all great techniques to improve an election speech. Just be sure to stay true to yourself and the overall message you wish to convey in your address.