How to Write a Policy Speech

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Speaking in public has been around since the ancient Greeks met in the "agora," or marketplace, to discuss the policies of the day. Today, policy speeches are a part of public speaking and focus on analyzing programs and problems of governmental groups, companies or individuals. In them, the speaker discusses the background of the policy and suggests changes. She presents a solution to the current situation and proves why her plan is practical and should be adopted.

  • Research materials

1 Selecting a Topic

2 Select a topic for your policy speech

Select a topic for your policy speech. Choose something you are interested in, know about or can find out about. Consider your audience in terms of age, interests or background, and be sure your topic is appropriate. Brainstorm by listing your thoughts on items of contemporary relevance, recent experiences, discussions in the newspapers or conversations you may have had. Narrow them to one specific topic.

3 Determine the general purpose

Determine the general purpose of your policy speech. Consider examples: "The United States should restore the draft" urges the audience to consider the proposal but not go out and physically change something, while "Sign the petition to restore the draft" would be a call to action. The speech should convince the audience to think a certain way or persuade the listeners to respond to a call to action.

4 Gather material to prove your points

Gather material to prove your points. Use books, magazines, the Internet and interviews, but be sure your material is relevant and timely. Look for facts, statistics, quotes and testimony that clearly support your ideas.

5 Write an outline for your speech

Write an outline for your speech beginning with an attention-getting introduction. Use techniques for your introduction such as anecdotes, statistics, startling statements or rhetorical questions that relate to your topic and will grab your audience. For example, with the topic "Children under 16 should not be allowed to babysit," you could use an anecdote for the introduction. Tell the audience a story in which a 12-year-old babysitter had a serious problem, such as not knowing how to handle a fire. This will get the audience interested in your speech.

6 Develop the body of your speech

Develop the body of your speech. Begin with a statement of the problem you are going to address. List the main points you will cover for this speech. Put them in logical sequence. Give some background material on why the problem developed as it did. Show a need for a change in the existing situation. Recommend your proposal for a solution. Explain why it is practical or cost-effective. Tell how your solution can be enforced. Consider the proof you will use for each argument and list it in the body of the speech. Use statistics, examples and testimony. Think of or find out about other countries or organizations that may have successfully used your plan or a similar one and describe these. Be sure your proof is relevant and reliable and furthers your objective.

7 Write your conclusion by tying all the facts together

Write your conclusion by tying all the facts together. Restate the points you have made. Close your speech with something your audience will remember. If your speech is on banking, you can use a request for action such as, "Write to your local congressman to change this policy." Think of a startling statement. An example is, "If this policy isn't changed, you may go bankrupt." Ask your audience if they have any further questions.

8 Present your speech clearly and logically

Present your speech clearly and logically. Speak with feeling and conviction, and use gestures to enhance your delivery. Cover all the points. Appeal to the needs and emotions of the audience so that they will agree with your proposals to change a policy and will follow your suggestions as to how to do it.

  • 1 "The Art of Public Speaking"; Stephen E. Lucas; 2007

Based in Bellmore, N.Y., Shula Hirsch has been writing since 1960 on travel, education, raising children and senior problems. Her articles have appeared in "Newsday," "Mature Living," "Teaching Today," and "Travel News." She holds a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University and is a retired professor of English.