How to Write an Expository Speech

A Successful Speech

Much of the success of a speech relies on careful preparation. Writing the speech is a vital step, which should continue to be perfected throughout the planning stage. An expository speech is simply an explanation of how something works or the steps of how to do something. Both styles of an expository speech should follow certain guidelines to be both informative and interesting.

The introduction of an informational speech should capture the attention of the audience. To do this, tell a humorous or emotional story, a joke, a quote, or give an interesting statistic. No matter the "attention-getter," this introduction should be related to the topic and be able to transition into the main part of the speech easily. After the attention-getter, list the points of the speech in a logical order. Create at least three points, more if the speech is long or the topic complicated. The points should cover the topic, dividing it into logical areas of discussion.

Start talking about the first point by using a transition sentence such as, "First of all. . ." and then stating your first point. When ending, restate the first point and then transition into the second point by saying, "The next part. . ." or "Next, I will talk about. . ." or any other cue that lets the audience know a new point has begun. Be sure to use ending and beginning cues between each point for clarity. Repetition is necessary for the audience to retain the information.

Begin the conclusion by repeating the points. End with an poignant statement that creates a "full circle" by referring to the same idea presented in the introduction. For instance, finish the story or explain the quote. Just be sure the conclusion feels complete.

Use an attention-getter to begin a how-to speech. As with any other speech, the quote, statistic, or other introductory device should support the topic. Present the points next. These should be the actual steps to the project stated in a logical order.

The body of the speech contains the points, or steps, of the topic. State the first step, explain, then end by repeating the point again. Begin the next section by stating the second point. Be sure to use these transitions between points so that the audience will clearly recognize the new section. As opposed to essay writing in which too much repetition bores a reader, a speech should repeat key ideas since the audience cannot review previous sections as in a paper.

In the conclusion, first repeat the points again and then end by "coming full circle," which means referring to the introduction. If the attention-getter in the introduction was a statistic, maybe end with "Follow these steps and maybe you can avoid becoming another statistic. . . ." Word the conclusion to give the feeling of finality.

  • Because a speech is auditory, repeating key points and information is necessary for the audience to both hear and retain the message. Using visuals such as a marker board with key points listed, an overhead of pictures or a PowerPoint, or physical props will also enhance the impact of the speech. Include examples, metaphors, statistics, quotes, or stories to further support the points.

Tara Hornor has a B.S.E. in secondary English with an emphasis in composition. After college, she taught in a private school but found her passion as a homeschool teacher. Two years ago, she decided to make writing her career and be a stay-at-home mom.