Writing the Body of Your Speech

Writing with a Pen

“Writing” by Rubin Starset. CC-BY-NC-SA.

Once you have finished the important work of deciding what your speech will be about, as well as formulating the purpose statement and crafting the thesis, you should turn your attention to writing the body of your speech. All of your main points are contained in the body, and normally this section is prepared well before you ever write the introduction or conclusion. The body of your speech will consume the largest amount of time to present; and it is the opportunity for you to elaborate on facts, evidence, examples, and opinions that support your thesis statement and do the work you have outlined in the specific purpose statement. Combining these various elements into a cohesive and compelling speech, however, is not without its difficulties, the first of which is deciding which elements to include and how they ought to be organized to best suit your purpose.

Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful. – Dieter Rams

The main points of any speech are the key pieces of information or arguments contained within the talk or presentation. In other words, the main points are what your audience should remember from your talk. Unlike facts or examples, main points are broad and can be encapsulated in just a sentence or two and represent the big ideas you want to convey to your audience. In general, speeches contain two to seven main points[1] that collectively lead to some understanding by the end of the speech. For informative speeches, main points might include historical details that advance a particular understanding of an event. For a persuasive speech, however, your main points may be your separate arguments that, when combined, help to make your case. When writing your main points, you may want to do so in parallel structure. Parallel structure refers to main points that are worded using the same structure, perhaps by starting with a common introductory clause.[2] Main points do not stand alone; instead, speakers must substantiate their main points by offering up examples, statistics, facts, anecdotes, or other information that contribute to the audience’s understanding of the main points. All of these things make up the sub-points, which are used to help prove the main points. This is where all of your research and supporting information comes into play.

  1. Bower, G. H. (1990). Organizational factors in memory. Cognitive Psychology, 1, 1846.
  2. Verderber, R. F., Verderber, K. S., & Sellnow, D. D. (2008). The challenge of effective speaking (14th edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning.