How to Write a Political Speech for Beginners

Considering the pre-election time and some speeches we have heard, we wanted to say a word or two on the subject of political speeches.

Before we start, we suggest you take a look at one of the better speeches in recent years – Barack Obama’s inaugural speech:

Unfortunately, there is no formula which you can use to write a historic political speech, but you don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Churchill or JFK to give a good speech, you just need to find your own formula. We hope that, by following our advice, you will at least avoid the biggest political flaw and your speech will not be forgotten before you’re even finished giving it.

There are several ways to prepare for a speech. The first one, of course, is to write it, but our advice is not to read it from paper. The audience considers speeches that are read from paper boring and they rarely pay attention to them. Notes are a much better solution. Put the paper with main thoughts in front of you in the order in which you want to present them. By presenting a speech this way you achieve a better interaction with the audience whose interest increases with each new sentence, gesture, change in tone or small joke. Of course, this does not mean you should overdo it with the jokes or hand gestures. Your goal is to get the sympathy of your audience and not to turn yourself into a clown. A third way to prepare for your speech is not to prepare. It sounds unusual, but improvisation is also one of the ways to give a speech. However, this should be reserved for experienced public speakers that are, not only experts in their field but are also very aware of how their audience is breathing. If you are not a public speaker and rhetorician in the rank of Randy Pausch or Steve Jobs, we suggest you skip the last option and get that pen and paper.

For starters, it is important to know what is the main thought you wish to share with the auditorium and what you wish to achieve. Political speech should have a clear goal – to get the audience to support you. With that in mind, you have to decide what is it that you want them to support, whether you need their support in the elections or is it for some other purpose.

We, of course, suggest you explain to the audience why they should support you, present arguments and reasons and offer a logical sequence that will lead to your main thought. It is necessary to put some effort into explaining “why” because being a great public speaker won’t mean a thing if your argumentation and speech organisation is missing. Unfortunately, this advice is not always the most successful one in practice, because the audience is always easier to win over using emotions. That is why speeches that appeal to commons sense are always rarer than the ones that have a more pathetic tone.

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It is of crucial importance to explain your thought in the simplest possible way. Keep in mind that a large number of people will be listening to you and the goal is for your message to reach the widest possible audience. Hence, everyone must be able to understand you. To keep it short, we will use a good old quote from Nietzsche who said ‘Think complicated and speak simply. Not the other way around.’

The next thing to do is to make a distinction between a speech that is given during a party rally or a speech given in front of an audience that does not consist of party members. If the speech is for a party rally, then it is logical to talk about party ideology and to “fire up” the masses with quotes that contain party values. On the other hand, if the speech is to be given in front of a politically heterogeneous audience, then it is important that the speech is for the masses, that it speaks to everyone, regardless of party affiliation. This is best achieved if some general human values and common goals are mentioned because the wider audience will understand and accept it.

Even though the most important thing is to convey your main message to the audience, you must be careful not to constantly repeat the phrases and clichés you’re hoping to win the audience with. Never underestimate your auditorium, because by making these mistakes, your audience will often see right through your empty rhetoric, become bored and tune out.

After you have led your audience to the key point, it is time to recapitulate. Make the conclusion painless so summarise the most important messages without much repetition. Try to make the summary interesting, even though you’re repeating things you’ve already mentioned in your speech.
We advise you to end your speech with a strong sentence that will “ring” in the ears of your audience even after you’ve finished. Even if you were reading your speech up to this point, now’s the time to take a small break, raise your glance, hold it over the auditorium and say the sentence you’re hoping will give the last stamp to your grandiose speech. A certain pathetic tone is allowed at this point.
After you give a few political speeches, you will see what makes the audience reacts the best. We suggest you keep the things that ‘fire them up’ and use them again in your next speeches. It is not a bad idea to have a basic version of a speech, regardless of the occasion, that you can change and tweak from time to time. The one thing necessary for every speech, regardless of the occasion, is for it to be said by a person that oozes confidence and self-assuredness, uses reason and logic, is never confused but clear in its ideas and a person that is presenting those ideas to its listeners audibly.

If you stumbled upon this article during your own attempts to write a political speech, we advise you to write not just so those words can be read out but so that they are remembered. Before you start writing, keep the strength of a good speech in mind, because the greatest ones started revolutions, mobilised the masses, overturned governments and changed the world.

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