How to Write a Good Speech for School

by Julia Lai

Whether you are part of the high school forensics team or simply need to give an expository presentation to your class, there are several basic principles involved in giving a good speech. Your physical mannerisms, vocal projection and confidence will play an influential role in how your speech is graded. The topic of the speech must be relevant and specific to the audience; the easiest way to give a poor speech is to ramble in an unorganized fashion.

Practice and perfect your physical speech-giving skills. Place your feet a shoulder-width apart. Speak from your diaphragm. Rehearse in front of a mirror. Practice making eye contact with yourself. Check to see if you fidget or play with your hands. Eradicate these behaviors, but do not go to the other extreme and stand as stiff as a board. Be confident and comfortable in your own skin.

Choose a specific topic for your speech. Research the topic. Write the speech around a central thesis. Include short, concise sentences that lead the listener along an aural journey. Begin with a question or intriguing fact that compels the listener. Edit down the speech to its bare minimum essentials.

Practice the speech repeatedly until you are comfortable with the material, but do not practice it to the point that you recite it without intonation or thought. Enunciate clearly. Enjoy yourself, and your listeners will enjoy hearing you speak.


  • Good speeches aren't necessarily about the most titillating topics. Instead, good speeches incorporate carefully researched detail to support and substantiate the speaker's central thesis.
  • Expository speeches are the most common speeches given in high school, although many forensics clubs also emphasize debate style and more creative forms of speech. While each speech type has its nuances, the basic rules of giving a good speech apply to all forms.


  • "High Impact Speeches: How to Create and Deliver Words That Move Minds"; Richard Heller; 2003
  • "A Speech for Every Occasion - New Speeches"; A. C. Edgerton; 2007
  • "Persuasive Speaking"; Dixie Waldo; 2007

About the Author

Julia Lai is a frequent contributor to Los Angeles-based arts and literature publications. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in history and has been writing professionally since 2008.

Photo Credits

  • doing research image by Leticia Wilson from