Speeches ⁄ Public Speaking


  1. Students will learn how to organize and prepare a speech.
  2. Students will learn techniques for presenting information to an audience.


  1. Students will present information to an audience in an organized, professional manner.
  2. Students will use body language and verbal skills to effectively communicate information to an audience.


Students will read a book from a time period in U.S. History and communicate the main ideas of that book to an audience.

Step One

Students will read a book on a topic from United States History. As they read, they should fully complete the Reader's Notes worksheet to compile information to present to the audience when they give their speech. While taking notes, students should think about how they want to organize the information they collect.

Since an audience will hear a lot of information, it helps to organize a speech into a pattern. There are three main patterns: chronological, topical, and cause and effect.

Chronological Order

Chronological means that events are presented in the order in which they occur.

Life of Gaius Julius Caesar
A. 72 BCE—Caesar served as a military tribune
B. 60 BCE—Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance, the triumvirate that dominated Roman politics for many years
C. 45 BCE—Caesar defeats his rivals' armies and becomes the leader of Rome
D. 44 BCE—fearing Caesar's growing power, Senate members assassinate Caesar

Topical Organization

Ideas are organized according to topics.

The Job of the President
A. Enforce the laws passed by Congress
B. Make treaties with foreign nations
C. Appoint members of the Supreme Court
D. Commander of the military

Cause and Effect

Causes are listed leading to a conclusion, result, or effect.

Causes of World War II
A. World-wide depression
B. Nationalism
C. Conflicting economic systems
D. Racism
E. World War II begins

Step Two

Students need to create an outline containing all the important points (3-5) about the subject to present to the audience. An outline should contain phrases, not sentences. It should show enough so the student knows what the speech will look like. This allows the student to quickly organize their thoughts and easily make changes to the structure as needed.




Sample Outline

The first sample outline contains what should be included in the outline and how it should look. The second sample outline is a finished product. Requirements:

Sample Outline 1

sample outline

Sample Outline 2


Step Three

Students should use one 3x5 inch index card to write notes to help them deliver their speech. The index card should contain a brief outline of the speech to remind students the order in which they intend to deliver their information. USE NO MORE THAN 40 WORDS ON THE INDEX CARD. Under no circumstances should a student ever write in complete sentences or write out their speech on the index card. Students will inevitably start to read their speech. Once this happens, it is no longer a speech but a public reading.

Sample Notecard

index card

Step Four

The student should practice the speech and time themselves. The speech should be between one and three minutes. Practice, practice, practice! When the student can recite the speech without thinking about it, they have it down.

Step Five

Students will be randomly called on to sign up for one of three days in which speeches will be presented. On that day, they should give their outline speech to the teacher just before proceeding to the podium.

Sample Speech

This example shows some of the basic elements of a good speech: gestures, loud voice, eye contact with the audience, etc.