The Speechwriter's Checklist

The Speechwriter’s Checklist


Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. In this post, we share our speechwriter’s checklist to help you write a speech.

I am finishing my series of five posts about speech writing today. I have written about what your audience wants from a speech, how to write a speech, how to deliver a speech, examples of brilliant speeches and why they work, and today, I’m including a checklist to tie it all together.

If you are writing an important speech, I suggest you answer all of these in detail. If it is less important, concentrate on the questions from the middle – The Structure of the Speech.

The Speechwriter’s Checklist – 25 Questions Speechwriters Need To Answer

Overall – Part One

  1. Have you written a speech that will leave your audience with the emotion you needed to convey? (From What People Expect From a Speech)
  2. Have you kept it simple?
  3. Have you checked the length?
  4. Have you written the right speech for the speaker?
  5. Have you stuck to the classic structure of a good speech?
    1. This is the problem
    2. This is what we will do to fix it
  6. Have you read it aloud? (From Delivering The Speech)
  7. Have you marked up the script? (From Delivering The Speech)
  8. Have you included the seven techniques that make us remember speeches? (From 12 Lessons Writers Can Learn From Famous Speeches)

The Structure Of The Speech

(From Part Two: The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Writing A Speech)

The Introduction

  1. Have you removed unnecessary thanks and trivialities?
  2. Have you told the audience what you are going to tell them? This is known as the problem from Question 5 above.
  3. Have you introduced your topic in a maximum of two sentences?
  4. Have you engaged the audience by asking a question or getting them to do something?

The Body

  1. Have you included the five Ws and one H about the topic: who, what, where, when, why, and how?
  2. Have you stuck to a linear timeline without getting sidetracked?
  3. Have you avoided the abstract and stuck with specifics?
  4. Have you included one or two statistics (do not include more) to support your topic?
  5. Have you included one quotation that helps your speaker make a point?
  6. Have you told the audience how you are going to fix the problem?

The Ending

  1. Have you reminded the audience what you have told them?
  2. Have you offered a solution or suggested a way forward?
  3. Have you ended your speech on a positive note?  Use a short quotation here if it works.

Overall – Part Two 

(From Part One: What People Expect From a Speech)

  1. Does your speech sound convincing?
  2. Have you made your readers think?
  3. Have you touched the hearts of your readers?
  4. Is it enough to change their minds or get them to do something?

If you need to write speeches, you should attend this course: Can I Change Your Mind?