Assignment start and due dates

Enter the date you plan to start work and the due date of your assignment.

Start date

Required. Example: 12 31 2020

Due date

Required. Example: 12 31 2020

Assignment steps

Understand your assignment

Read your assignment and aks your instructor if you have questions on what is required.

  • Who is your audience? What is your purpose? Let this guide your topic, tone and style.
  • How long is the speech? Are you using presentation software such as PowerPoint or do you need visuals or props? How many sources are required?
A speech generally needs to be written further in advance so that adequate practice and revision can occur. Preparing for your speech will help with the very common fear of public speaking.

Percent time spent on this step: 5

Select and focus topic. Begin preliminary research

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Begin to organize or outline your speech

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Draft any visuals. Gather additional research

  • Select the types of evidence to support your ideas including quotes, statistics, facts, anecdotes, etc.
  • Draft PowerPoint or visual materials. Gather images, videos or other media if needed. Learn more about using visual aids (Grand Valley State).
  • Draft any handouts or bibliography, if needed.

Percent time spent on this step: 20

Write out talking points

Start with your most important points
What is the "take home message" you want your audience to understand, believe, accept or do after they hear your speech? Write this out in one or two sentences.What evidence supports your "take home message?"
Draft transitions between your thoughts. Include attention-getting ideas:
Novelty: an unusual fact or surprising image
Conflict: an opposing viewpoints on the issue
Humor: an amusing play on words or exaggerated remark
Suspense: such as asking a provocative question
Determine how you are going to organize your thoughts as you speak.
  • Index cards (be sure to number cards)
  • An outline
  • Presentation slides

Make an online appointment with the Center for Writing to go over your outline for structure, clarity, tone, etc.

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Plan out the timing of speech

  • Add timing to your talking points.
  • Revise your talking points, PowerPoint slides and transitions.
  • Delete talking points and/or PowerPoint slides that are not crucial. Paring down or eliminating content will enhance clarity and improve the speech overall.

Percent time spent on this step: 5

Rehearse speech for content and timing

  • Be aware of your body position, foot placement, breath and eye movement.
  • Videotape or record a rehearsal to identify problems, distracting habits, etc. (Reserve an easy-to-use 1:Button video production studio)
    • Avoid reading every word--you should be presenting not reading.
    • Avoid common verbal habits such as "um", "like", "you know", "kinda", etc.
  • Practice your speech many times until you feel comfortable with the content and timing.
  • Review the scoring or evaluation guide to be sure you are meeting the requirements of the assignment.

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Rehearse speech in front of a virtual audience

  • Try a 1:Button Studio to easily record your speech.
  • Record your draft. Try Kaltura Mediaspace or Zoom or YouTube or more options from UMN OIT.
  • Virtually gather a few friends or classmates and deliver your speech.
    • Try to avoid the following common behaviors: fidgeting, looking at the computer or screen not at audience, rustling your papers, chewing gum, gesturing too much, or pacing.
    • Ask for feedback on your delivery (such as eye contact, hand gestures, speech habits, etc.) and content
    • Ask what they identified as the most important points. Do these match yours?
  • Edit or revise speech based on the feedback.

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Continue revising. Prepare for any anticipated questions

  • If your speech includes a question and answer session with your audience, spend some time to anticipate questions and briefly plan answers.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question when you are presenting.

Percent time spent on this step: 10

Continue to rehearse. Get ready to give speech

  • Make sure you have all your materials together including note cards, outlines, visuals, handouts, bibliography, PowerPoint on Flash drive, etc.
  • Record and share final version, if needed.
  • If your speech is in person, be aware you may have feelings of anxiety. This is very common and a few strategies may help including:
    • Arrive early
    • Practice on the day of your speech so you are comfortable with the content.

Percent time spent on this step: 10