Amazing Kids! Magazine

Changing the World One Word at a Time

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor


There are many ways to make a difference in the world, such as volunteering at a charity organization, donating money, or even offering a smile to a passing stranger on the street. However, perhaps one of the most effective methods of changing the world is persuasive speech, used to raise awareness of an issue you wish to discuss or publicize to evoke change. Martin Luther King Jr, for example, presented his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech” which impacted the Civil Rights movement. Abraham Lincoln delivered the “Gettysburg Address” to inspire the Union soldiers to fight. Not all speeches have to be as momentous as those two, however. Here are some tips for writing your own speech!

Accentuate the Theme

The most important aspect of your speech to establish is your theme. Why are you writing a speech? What is its purpose? No matter what the theme is, make sure that it is prominent in every sentence of your speech. For example, if you were running for class president, the theme of your speech would be, “Vote for me!” Everything communicated in that speech should relate to why your classmates should vote for you. This is constant for any speech. No matter what the theme is, your audience must be able to identify it at any point.

Remain on Task

One of the worst mistakes you could make in a speech is to drag it out. In order to keep a captivated audience, don’t express more than you need to, or you may risk losing your listener’s interest. Keep your speech short and sweet for your theme to resonate in the audience’s mind when you finish. It’s better that your audience long for more instead of wish for less.

Use Rhetorical Devices

While you write your speech, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. How can you engage them and keep them attentive? Rhetoric devices are extremely useful methods to ensure an engaging and convincing speech. They are used to impact an audience. Rhetoric devices include literary strategies such as similes (comparisons using “like” or “as”), hyperboles (a type of exaggeration used for emphasis), alliteration (a string of words with the same starting sounds), and many more. Try to work these devices into your speech as you write it.

Additionally, convincing tools for a persuasive speech are logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos uses facts, data, and statistics to support the claim of a persuasive speech. Pathos, on the other hand, tugs at the reader’s emotions to create sympathy for the claim. Finally, ethos assures the audience of the speaker’s reliability and the credibility of referenced sources. By producing a balanced mixture of logos, pathos, and ethos, your claim will be much more powerful.

Practice Makes Perfect

After you’ve written your speech, you need to prepare to present it. Even if you have trouble speaking in front of a large crowd, enough practice will help ensure that your speech will be a success. Here are some tips to ensure your speech goes smoothly and has the desired effect on the audience.

Read and re-read your speech. Memorize as much as you can, so that during a presentation, you can look at the audience instead of constantly looking at your speech. Practice with your friends or family and be receptive to their constructive criticism. In addition to knowing your speech, other important things to practice are hand gestures. Work on using your hands only to accentuate dialogue. Fidgeting or swaying may distract the audience from your words, which are the most important part of the speech. Remember, the more times you practice out loud, the better the delivery will be!