A speech is a planned and practised text that you will need to perform in front of other class members. It should be approximately two minutes, although your teacher will make this clear. Speech topics range from the more serious ‘Present a global issue affecting the planet in the twenty-first century’, or the light-hearted ‘Persuade the class to watch a film of your choice.’ No matter what the topic, you will need a clear message with a concise argument. It is no use shrugging your shoulders and saying ‘I don’t know.’ You will need to be proactive with your research and opinions.


Watch the following video on Michelle Obama:


How well written is the speech?

How does she perform the speech?

How well written is the speech?

Obama has clearly structured her speech. She has memorised the planned words.

How does she perform the speech?

  1. Use of pauses

Obama allows for audience reaction and response. It is is easy to fear pauses, but let the audience have time to consider the message of your speech. Note that she does not stutter or stumble over her words.

  1. Use of voice

Obama considers where the emotion in her voice should lie. As she is discussing her children, her voice sounds warmer and more emotional.

  1. Use of hand movement

Obama does not keep her hands still. She allows herself to show her emotion through her hand gestures. You need to keep still but allow yourself to express feeling.


How should you structure your speech?

You must structure your speech according to purpose and topic:

  1. Introduction - clearly state your view and
  2. Arguments - provide 3 clear arguments. They should all strengthen and build upon your introduction. Think of each argument as a hamburger:

Speeches, figure 1

Each detail should be well researched. Provide statistics for your audience that are useful and support your argument. Your ‘colourful vocabulary’ should adhere to the purpose of your speech.

  1. Conclusion - reiterate your argument clearly. Ensure you end with a strong finish.

What is Standard English?

There are two types of English: Standard English and non-Standard English. Standard English is widely considered to be the ‘correct’ form of the language, whilst the non-Standard form is a more informal form of the language.

Look at these two sentences:

  1. 2mrw I go 2 the cinema 4 my brthday.
  2. Tomorrow, I will go to the cinema for my birthday.

Which is Standard and which is non-Standard?

  1. 2mrw I go 2 cinema 4 brthday (non-Standard)
  2. Use of numbers instead of letters
  3. Incorrect spelling
  4. Use of tense is incorrect
  5. Lack of accurate grammar
  6. Lack of accurate punctuation
  7. Tomorrow, I will go to the cinema for my birthday (Standard)
  8. Letters are used
  9. Correct spelling
  10. Tense is correct
  11. Accurate grammar
  12. Accurate punctuation

It is incredibly important that the speech is written in Standard English, so that you sound professional and formal.


It’s important to practise your speech and not just use the tips for memorising:

  1. Use a video recorder or phone and record yourself. Watch the tape and ensure you are looking still and confident.
  2. Practise in front of the mirror. You can add different body movements to show your confidence.
  3. Ask the family to be an audience. They will probably love to be involved in your school project. It does not matter how well they speak English but they can tell you if you are standing still and looking confident!

Remember to write a list of possible questions down that you might be asked by your teacher or fellow students. You must plan the answers.


You will be nervous on the day and the words will probably escape you. Your classmates will all be feeling exactly the same.


  1. Stand confidently
  2. Do not fidget
  3. Speak loudly and clearly
  4. Do not be scared to show emotion in your voice
  5. Do not laugh

You need to look professional when you are performing your speech.


You will be assessed immediately and feedback should be provided straight away. There are a few official forms to complete, so try not to be surprised if your teacher is writing lots of notes. You may even be asked to peer assess other members of the class.

What makes an effective speech?
Which technique will you use for memorising your speech?
How should you perform your speech?