It is said that public speaking is one of the top fears that people face.   But It doesn’t have to be that way. Most of the fear comes from uncertainty or lack of preparation.

The first step in writing a speech is preparing an outline of what to say.  An outline consists of three major sections, an introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Below are 5 tips to help you write a talk.

Select your topic and theme.  This is one of the most important steps. New speakers often select topics that are too broad or too vague.  An example of a topic that is too broad would be ‘Mammals’. A better topic would be ‘Aquatic Mammals’.  Even better would be ‘Aquatic Mammals of Tasmania’ 

Now determine your theme. A theme is specific and includes an implied or explicit suggestion of action.  The theme should also capture your audience’s attention.  One suggestion is to phrase it as a question such as: ‘How Can We Protect the Platypus’

Do some research.  You may want to look on the internet to generate some ideas.  Sites like Wikipedia are good for basic research.  Next, go to your local library and look for books, magazines, and newspaper article that discuss your topic (yes, topic not theme).  Photocopy the articles

Write the body first. Select the main points you want to discuss. Select any sub-points you would like to support your main points. This will form the body of your talk. So a body with two main points would look like this:


Platypus Habitat and Range


-Eastern Australia



-Inland Fishing  

Write the introduction.  Next we write the introduction.  We write the introduction after writing the body because now we have a better understanding of our topic. 

The introduction should arouse interest in the talk to come. You might want to ask a question that will be answered in one of your key points such as ‘What is the greatest danger the platypus faces today?’  Questions get people to think.

Write the conclusion.  Finally, write your conclusion.  You may wish to use a concluding summary where you reiterate some of the points from the body.  Include a call to action in your conclusion. 

Now that your outline is ready, practice your talk!  Always practice from start to finish.  Keep going even if you mess up.  Use a timer so you know how long each section will take. After a couple of practice sessions, you will have the talk down, it will be easier to deliver, and you will not be as nervous!