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How To Write A Good Speech About Another Person

08 Jan 2022

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✏️A Speech About Famous Person

☝️A Speech About Someone You Know

✅Make Your Speech Excellent

Students are often asked to write a speech about other people. You can be assigned to talk about your friend, relative, teacher, or famous person. To do it well, you should concentrate on what you can tell about this person to others and what you can write about him or her. It is necessary to understand how to write a speech about someone if you have such a task and should do it quickly. It is not very difficult, but it requires some research on the subject of your essay and analysis of information.

Be careful with what you write on paper. If those whom you describe are close to you and you surely met them personally, try not to expose their secrets or any information they don’t want to be shared with others. You should also do in-depth research to create a good study of a famous writer, actress, etc. If you already have specific facts, it doesn’t mean that they are true. That’s why all information should be checked.

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Tips On Writing A Persuasive Speech About Famous Person

Here are a few tips for those who are creating such a presentation. These tips could be useful if you have to develop a short or funny speech about someone you don't know or if you don’t understand how to work with such a type of assignment.

Start when you feel like it. This is a simple tip, but a huge one. How to start a speech about someone? Just start as you are talking to something. All speeches are designed to be spoken. They are not something you will read while in your bed! As you are moving forward, add the main points and just continue. You can always edit and make the content better afterwards.

Use short words and very short sentences. In order to write an informative speech, your writing process will have to change. You need to make sure the main points are there you need to write as you talk. This means short words and also short sentences. The main point here is to make the whole paper sound easier and more appealing when you read it out loud. Now, write a speech and try using this tip. Then, complete another with long words and longer sentences. Read out loud, both. You will see the difference, and you can imagine the effect on the audience's attention. Yes, you still need to write a speech outline.

Even if you are a friend of the person you describe, if he or she inspires you, it would be recommended to do some additional research on his or her biography, find more facts, and use them. Many facts about interviewed famous people are not true, that is why you need to analyze them wisely.

Check everything you read, and be sure you use only verified information. Get facts from credible media and make references to them in your paper. If it is needed, it is recommended to use many forms of media, and you will get information from different sides.

Define the goals of your graduation or other speech. You may want just to talk about a person, concentrate on their childhood, highlight their most notable achievements, or show how clever or friendly this person is.

When you work on a speech for someone, you should always try to relate and make a personal story told. In most cases, when you work on a speech for someone, this is not an option. But if it is, make sure to include it.

Always make a catchy introduction to your speech. Try to grab the attention of your audience in the first few seconds. An informative speech will sound much better instantly. It is one of the main points we all need to know about.

Don’t be prejudiced. If you admire the subject of your paper and want to speak from the heart, you shouldn’t repeat too many good words or invent good facts. If you dislike them, you should explain what the reasons for disliking the person are.

Writing a speech about another person can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know them very well. However, with careful research and creativity, you can craft an informative and inspiring speech that will bring your subject to life. To get started, write your personal essay in a relevant way by including new information about the person you are talking about. Research their life, accomplishments, and experiences to provide context for your audience and create a meaningful connection between the subject of your speech and the listeners.

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How to write a speech about someone you know.

Writing about people you already know is both a simple and difficult task, simply because you are familiar with these people and can tell many stories. It is also difficult because you should pick only a few stories that describe them correctly. Here you can find a few tips on writing a speech about someone you admire, about your friends, relatives, classmates, and other people you know and want to tell your readers about them.

  • Concentrate on the objectives of your essay. You can describe people from different sides, and you should define any points of view before working on the paper. People can be described as good relatives, kind and reliable friends, or professionals in their jobs.
  • Provide all information that isn’t available to your readers. If you connect with people well, you may not notice that others don’t know your subject as well or even didn’t know about the subject before your speech.
  • Even if you work on a speech for someone, you will need to try and include a personal anecdote. This does make a lot of difference and can help you. Now you can write a speech that sounds much better and more interesting.
  • Don’t expose any information about the subject of your speech that shouldn’t be shared. In the story of every person, there are many private moments, and you should think wisely about what moments should be described.
  • He is the hero. When you try to introduce someone in this form, readers will want to know all about him. As such, you can try to make him a hero of the story. If you’re writing about a close friend, he or she will be grateful in the end.

If all these things don’t help, you can order speech writing services from an academic essay writing service . They work well with such tasks and write them fast. Writers of these services are experienced in working on different types of papers.

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What Will Make Your Speech About A Person Excellent?

If you wonder how to write a good speech, you should read it several times before you show it to others. This is mandatory for all types of writing, and there are no other means you can use to get the same effect. Also, be especially focused on small elements of the life of that person and definitely include appealing and interesting ones that your audience wants to know. But you are probably going to write this in the form of an essay for a professor, and he already knows those things. As such, you need to add possible things about the person and make an accent that they are controversial, but the audience still needs to know about them.

If you have to tell your speech to a big audience, you should try it in an empty room or with friends before. You can also use multimedia devices to screen your speech and watch it later and find mistakes.

Notice that there are different methods of writing a speech about famous people. That is why you should check your requirements before starting your writing and define your goals, then, you can start creating your draft.

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When writing a speech of this kind, always try to put yourself in your audience's shoes. What do they want to hear? Why they are even reading this? What do they want to know specifically? if you answer these questions in a proper manner, you will have excellent content and your reader or readers will be impressed.  You can even use a speech writing service because it can help you with any type of task and hire the best quick writers experienced in this field.

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How to Write a Speech About Someone Else: Creative Ways

How to Write a Speech About Someone Else: Creative Ways

When asked to write a speech about someone else, a student reasonably starts posing questions for themselves. Among multiple things they might wish to discover, there will be the following questions:

  • How to write a worthy introduction for a speech?
  • Which approach will suit for crafting an address about someone you (don’t) know?
  • And, probably, the most important one: how to write a good speech ?

In contrast to speech about oneself , an assignment may touch different people. A professor might ask you to craft a presentation of your family member, favorite tutor, classmate, celebrity, or a person you could call your idol, for example. To craft a worthy presentation, it would be cool if you focus on things you know about that personality for sure and then turn on your creativity.

Here is a thing to understand first: writing a speech about someone is not too challenging. However, you should take care of your timing: check if you have enough time to conduct thorough research touching the subject of that assignment and to analyze the data gathered in that way before starting to write.

Treat facts and descriptions you are going to use in a speech about a person carefully. In case you describe someone you know in person, and you two know each other closely enough, there is a tip to keep up with at all costs: never reveal a person’s secrets or private details they wouldn’t be happy to tell anyone else on their own. That’s more than just a good tone which you should maintain anyway. It’s about mutual trust, and your friendship is at stake here, too.

On the other hand, if a speech by one person you are asked to craft is about someone known to the public (like J. R. R. Tolkien, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michelle Obama, or Cristiano Ronaldo, for example), you should focus on some other point. It is research.

When writing an introductory speech about someone else or any other presentation about people, trustworthiness, and relevance of information are always critical. Your current knowledge (either about a celebrity or a friend) at any random moment is not a guarantee that the fact is real. So, make sure you checked everything thrice before including it in your address’s content.

Writing a Speech About Someone Well-Known: Creative Hints

How to start a speech about someone else? Or, what’s more important, how to write about someone well? Your creativity is the key here, and in fact, you are not limited in the possible tools. For example, creative ways to introduce someone in a speech may include:

  • Reflecting on your first memories or special occasions with them 
  • Praising their qualities that impress you the most
  • Paying respects to their achievements
  • Telling the audience about the influence that person had on you or other people, etc.

No speech on people should be limited to one of these four tips. Feel free to go in for heavy brainstorming and generate great ideas on talk introductions. Coming up with creative, non-typical ideas about how to introduce someone in a speech or to describe their achievements is not only a cool exercise for your mind but also a perfect way to make the presentation much more interesting to listen to.

Universal Tips on Admiration Speech or Any Presentation about a Person

It would be nice to come up with a list of structured recommendations to develop the topic. These are universal to create a nice introducing a person speech that can be either funny or serious, long or short. The list of recommendations below includes both the “pre-production” and “production” stage. Here are the tips:

  • A thorough research session is obligatory in case you craft a presentation about a human you are not familiar with. Gather all the facts you can find. That’ll let you discover their personality and biography, which are crucial to know if you want to find nice things to say about someone in a speech about them.
  • In case the subject of your description is someone you think you know well (a friend or an idol), it’s not an option to start writing about them instantly. Most probably, you are not aware of some interesting facts of their biography. So, some extra research might cut it here quite well. You may also want to check examples of speeches about someone known available online.
  • Double-check every source of info you find. Again, it is crucial to include only confirmed facts. In case your subject is a celebrity, use all the media in your reach: read articles, check news podcasts, YouTube videos by trusted and official channels, see Facebook and Instagram profiles, etc.
  • Know the focus goals of a presentation. Do you need only to mention a person’s achievements? Talk about their childhood? Show their personality? Or simply introduce them shortly before their own, longer lecture (see introducing a classmate speech examples)?
  • Make sure your intro here contains a hook , just like that in any essay you write . You don’t have any other chance to get the listeners involved in your words.
  • Prejudice doesn’t suit here. In case you like a person, don’t try to make them look better than they really are by adding unnecessary details or thinking up fake facts. If you don’t like them for some reason, that reason should be explained.  

How to Start a Speech About a Person You Know and Craft It Well

Starting a speech about a person known to you may seem to be easy first. Like, you know your subject, so there is more than enough information at your disposal. Crafting that paper must be a piece of cake.

And then it comes to writing. And the task becomes difficult. It is impossible to fit all the facts and stories you know about a person in a short address. So, you need to choose. Here are key recommendations:

  • Don’t forget the goals of a presentation. Is it a descriptive speech ? An introductory one? Should you describe your family member or a friend as a person, or is it better to concentrate on their professional qualities and skills? Everything matters, as there are different ways to describe the same person.
  • Come up with the info unknown to the audience. Your mutual connection with the subject of your presentation may mean there is something valuable about them worth mentioning and known to you while the others remain unaware of that fact.
  • This point is worth noting once again: make sure you don’t reveal anything that the subject of your address would like to keep private. Choose moments to describe with wisdom and care.

Introductory Speech about Someone Else: How to Make it Perfect?

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Whether in a work meeting or at an investor panel, you might give a speech at some point. And no matter how excited you are about the opportunity, the experience can be nerve-wracking . 

But feeling butterflies doesn’t mean you can’t give a great speech. With the proper preparation and a clear outline, apprehensive public speakers and natural wordsmiths alike can write and present a compelling message. Here’s how to write a good speech you’ll be proud to deliver.

What is good speech writing?

Good speech writing is the art of crafting words and ideas into a compelling, coherent, and memorable message that resonates with the audience. Here are some key elements of great speech writing:

  • It begins with clearly understanding the speech's purpose and the audience it seeks to engage. 
  • A well-written speech clearly conveys its central message, ensuring that the audience understands and retains the key points. 
  • It is structured thoughtfully, with a captivating opening, a well-organized body, and a conclusion that reinforces the main message. 
  • Good speech writing embraces the power of engaging content, weaving in stories, examples, and relatable anecdotes to connect with the audience on both intellectual and emotional levels. 

Ultimately, it is the combination of these elements, along with the authenticity and delivery of the speaker , that transforms words on a page into a powerful and impactful spoken narrative.

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What makes a good speech?

A great speech includes several key qualities, but three fundamental elements make a speech truly effective:

Clarity and purpose

Remembering the audience, cohesive structure.

While other important factors make a speech a home run, these three elements are essential for writing an effective speech.

The main elements of a good speech

The main elements of a speech typically include:

  • Introduction: The introduction sets the stage for your speech and grabs the audience's attention. It should include a hook or attention-grabbing opening, introduce the topic, and provide an overview of what will be covered.
  • Opening/captivating statement: This is a strong statement that immediately engages the audience and creates curiosity about the speech topics.
  • Thesis statement/central idea: The thesis statement or central idea is a concise statement that summarizes the main point or argument of your speech. It serves as a roadmap for the audience to understand what your speech is about.
  • Body: The body of the speech is where you elaborate on your main points or arguments. Each point is typically supported by evidence, examples, statistics, or anecdotes. The body should be organized logically and coherently, with smooth transitions between the main points.
  • Supporting evidence: This includes facts, data, research findings, expert opinions, or personal stories that support and strengthen your main points. Well-chosen and credible evidence enhances the persuasive power of your speech.
  • Transitions: Transitions are phrases or statements that connect different parts of your speech, guiding the audience from one idea to the next. Effective transitions signal the shifts in topics or ideas and help maintain a smooth flow throughout the speech.
  • Counterarguments and rebuttals (if applicable): If your speech involves addressing opposing viewpoints or counterarguments, you should acknowledge and address them. Presenting counterarguments makes your speech more persuasive and demonstrates critical thinking.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is the final part of your speech and should bring your message to a satisfying close. Summarize your main points, restate your thesis statement, and leave the audience with a memorable closing thought or call to action.
  • Closing statement: This is the final statement that leaves a lasting impression and reinforces the main message of your speech. It can be a call to action, a thought-provoking question, a powerful quote, or a memorable anecdote.
  • Delivery and presentation: How you deliver your speech is also an essential element to consider. Pay attention to your tone, body language, eye contact , voice modulation, and timing. Practice and rehearse your speech, and try using the 7-38-55 rule to ensure confident and effective delivery.

While the order and emphasis of these elements may vary depending on the type of speech and audience, these elements provide a framework for organizing and delivering a successful speech.


How to structure a good speech

You know what message you want to transmit, who you’re delivering it to, and even how you want to say it. But you need to know how to start, develop, and close a speech before writing it. 

Think of a speech like an essay. It should have an introduction, conclusion, and body sections in between. This places ideas in a logical order that the audience can better understand and follow them. Learning how to make a speech with an outline gives your storytelling the scaffolding it needs to get its point across.

Here’s a general speech structure to guide your writing process:

  • Explanation 1
  • Explanation 2
  • Explanation 3

How to write a compelling speech opener

Some research shows that engaged audiences pay attention for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Other estimates are even lower, citing that people stop listening intently in fewer than 10 minutes . If you make a good first impression at the beginning of your speech, you have a better chance of interesting your audience through the middle when attention spans fade. 

Implementing the INTRO model can help grab and keep your audience’s attention as soon as you start speaking. This acronym stands for interest, need, timing, roadmap, and objectives, and it represents the key points you should hit in an opening. 

Here’s what to include for each of these points: 

  • Interest : Introduce yourself or your topic concisely and speak with confidence . Write a compelling opening statement using relevant data or an anecdote that the audience can relate to.
  • Needs : The audience is listening to you because they have something to learn. If you’re pitching a new app idea to a panel of investors, those potential partners want to discover more about your product and what they can earn from it. Read the room and gently remind them of the purpose of your speech. 
  • Timing : When appropriate, let your audience know how long you’ll speak. This lets listeners set expectations and keep tabs on their own attention span. If a weary audience member knows you’ll talk for 40 minutes, they can better manage their energy as that time goes on. 
  • Routemap : Give a brief overview of the three main points you’ll cover in your speech. If an audience member’s attention starts to drop off and they miss a few sentences, they can more easily get their bearings if they know the general outline of the presentation.
  • Objectives : Tell the audience what you hope to achieve, encouraging them to listen to the end for the payout. 

Writing the middle of a speech

The body of your speech is the most information-dense section. Facts, visual aids, PowerPoints — all this information meets an audience with a waning attention span. Sticking to the speech structure gives your message focus and keeps you from going off track, making everything you say as useful as possible.

Limit the middle of your speech to three points, and support them with no more than three explanations. Following this model organizes your thoughts and prevents you from offering more information than the audience can retain. 

Using this section of the speech to make your presentation interactive can add interest and engage your audience. Try including a video or demonstration to break the monotony. A quick poll or survey also keeps the audience on their toes. 

Wrapping the speech up

To you, restating your points at the end can feel repetitive and dull. You’ve practiced countless times and heard it all before. But repetition aids memory and learning , helping your audience retain what you’ve told them. Use your speech’s conclusion to summarize the main points with a few short sentences.

Try to end on a memorable note, like posing a motivational quote or a thoughtful question the audience can contemplate once they leave. In proposal or pitch-style speeches, consider landing on a call to action (CTA) that invites your audience to take the next step.


How to write a good speech

If public speaking gives you the jitters, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of the population feels nervous before giving a speech, and another 10% percent experiences intense anxiety and sometimes even panic. 

The fear of failure can cause procrastination and can cause you to put off your speechwriting process until the last minute. Finding the right words takes time and preparation, and if you’re already feeling nervous, starting from a blank page might seem even harder.

But putting in the effort despite your stress is worth it. Presenting a speech you worked hard on fosters authenticity and connects you to the subject matter, which can help your audience understand your points better. Human connection is all about honesty and vulnerability, and if you want to connect to the people you’re speaking to, they should see that in you.

1. Identify your objectives and target audience

Before diving into the writing process, find healthy coping strategies to help you stop worrying . Then you can define your speech’s purpose, think about your target audience, and start identifying your objectives. Here are some questions to ask yourself and ground your thinking : 

  • What purpose do I want my speech to achieve? 
  • What would it mean to me if I achieved the speech’s purpose?
  • What audience am I writing for? 
  • What do I know about my audience? 
  • What values do I want to transmit? 
  • If the audience remembers one take-home message, what should it be? 
  • What do I want my audience to feel, think, or do after I finish speaking? 
  • What parts of my message could be confusing and require further explanation?

2. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is crucial for tailoring your speech effectively. Consider the demographics of your audience, their interests, and their expectations. For instance, if you're addressing a group of healthcare professionals, you'll want to use medical terminology and data that resonate with them. Conversely, if your audience is a group of young students, you'd adjust your content to be more relatable to their experiences and interests. 

3. Choose a clear message

Your message should be the central idea that you want your audience to take away from your speech. Let's say you're giving a speech on climate change. Your clear message might be something like, "Individual actions can make a significant impact on mitigating climate change." Throughout your speech, all your points and examples should support this central message, reinforcing it for your audience.

4. Structure your speech

Organizing your speech properly keeps your audience engaged and helps them follow your ideas. The introduction should grab your audience's attention and introduce the topic. For example, if you're discussing space exploration, you could start with a fascinating fact about a recent space mission. In the body, you'd present your main points logically, such as the history of space exploration, its scientific significance, and future prospects. Finally, in the conclusion, you'd summarize your key points and reiterate the importance of space exploration in advancing human knowledge.

5. Use engaging content for clarity

Engaging content includes stories, anecdotes, statistics, and examples that illustrate your main points. For instance, if you're giving a speech about the importance of reading, you might share a personal story about how a particular book changed your perspective. You could also include statistics on the benefits of reading, such as improved cognitive abilities and empathy.

6. Maintain clarity and simplicity

It's essential to communicate your ideas clearly. Avoid using overly technical jargon or complex language that might confuse your audience. For example, if you're discussing a medical breakthrough with a non-medical audience, explain complex terms in simple, understandable language.

7. Practice and rehearse

Practice is key to delivering a great speech. Rehearse multiple times to refine your delivery, timing, and tone. Consider using a mirror or recording yourself to observe your body language and gestures. For instance, if you're giving a motivational speech, practice your gestures and expressions to convey enthusiasm and confidence.

8. Consider nonverbal communication

Your body language, tone of voice, and gestures should align with your message . If you're delivering a speech on leadership, maintain strong eye contact to convey authority and connection with your audience. A steady pace and varied tone can also enhance your speech's impact.

9. Engage your audience

Engaging your audience keeps them interested and attentive. Encourage interaction by asking thought-provoking questions or sharing relatable anecdotes. If you're giving a speech on teamwork, ask the audience to recall a time when teamwork led to a successful outcome, fostering engagement and connection.

10. Prepare for Q&A

Anticipate potential questions or objections your audience might have and prepare concise, well-informed responses. If you're delivering a speech on a controversial topic, such as healthcare reform, be ready to address common concerns, like the impact on healthcare costs or access to services, during the Q&A session.

By following these steps and incorporating examples that align with your specific speech topic and purpose, you can craft and deliver a compelling and impactful speech that resonates with your audience.


Tools for writing a great speech

There are several helpful tools available for speechwriting, both technological and communication-related. Here are a few examples:

  • Word processing software: Tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or other word processors provide a user-friendly environment for writing and editing speeches. They offer features like spell-checking, grammar correction, formatting options, and easy revision tracking.
  • Presentation software: Software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides is useful when creating visual aids to accompany your speech. These tools allow you to create engaging slideshows with text, images, charts, and videos to enhance your presentation.
  • Speechwriting Templates: Online platforms or software offer pre-designed templates specifically for speechwriting. These templates provide guidance on structuring your speech and may include prompts for different sections like introductions, main points, and conclusions.
  • Rhetorical devices and figures of speech: Rhetorical tools such as metaphors, similes, alliteration, and parallelism can add impact and persuasion to your speech. Resources like books, websites, or academic papers detailing various rhetorical devices can help you incorporate them effectively.
  • Speechwriting apps: Mobile apps designed specifically for speechwriting can be helpful in organizing your thoughts, creating outlines, and composing a speech. These apps often provide features like voice recording, note-taking, and virtual prompts to keep you on track.
  • Grammar and style checkers: Online tools or plugins like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor help improve the clarity and readability of your speech by checking for grammar, spelling, and style errors. They provide suggestions for sentence structure, word choice, and overall tone.
  • Thesaurus and dictionary: Online or offline resources such as thesauruses and dictionaries help expand your vocabulary and find alternative words or phrases to express your ideas more effectively. They can also clarify meanings or provide context for unfamiliar terms.
  • Online speechwriting communities: Joining online forums or communities focused on speechwriting can be beneficial for getting feedback, sharing ideas, and learning from experienced speechwriters. It's an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and improve your public speaking skills through collaboration.

Remember, while these tools can assist in the speechwriting process, it's essential to use them thoughtfully and adapt them to your specific needs and style. The most important aspect of speechwriting remains the creativity, authenticity, and connection with your audience that you bring to your speech.


5 tips for writing a speech

Behind every great speech is an excellent idea and a speaker who refined it. But a successful speech is about more than the initial words on the page, and there are a few more things you can do to help it land.

Here are five more tips for writing and practicing your speech:

1. Structure first, write second

If you start the writing process before organizing your thoughts, you may have to re-order, cut, and scrap the sentences you worked hard on. Save yourself some time by using a speech structure, like the one above, to order your talking points first. This can also help you identify unclear points or moments that disrupt your flow.

2. Do your homework

Data strengthens your argument with a scientific edge. Research your topic with an eye for attention-grabbing statistics, or look for findings you can use to support each point. If you’re pitching a product or service, pull information from company metrics that demonstrate past or potential successes. 

Audience members will likely have questions, so learn all talking points inside and out. If you tell investors that your product will provide 12% returns, for example, come prepared with projections that support that statement.

3. Sound like yourself

Memorable speakers have distinct voices. Think of Martin Luther King Jr’s urgent, inspiring timbre or Oprah’s empathetic, personal tone . Establish your voice — one that aligns with your personality and values — and stick with it. If you’re a motivational speaker, keep your tone upbeat to inspire your audience . If you’re the CEO of a startup, try sounding assured but approachable. 

4. Practice

As you practice a speech, you become more confident , gain a better handle on the material, and learn the outline so well that unexpected questions are less likely to trip you up. Practice in front of a colleague or friend for honest feedback about what you could change, and speak in front of the mirror to tweak your nonverbal communication and body language .

5. Remember to breathe

When you’re stressed, you breathe more rapidly . It can be challenging to talk normally when you can’t regulate your breath. Before your presentation, try some mindful breathing exercises so that when the day comes, you already have strategies that will calm you down and remain present . This can also help you control your voice and avoid speaking too quickly.

How to ghostwrite a great speech for someone else

Ghostwriting a speech requires a unique set of skills, as you're essentially writing a piece that will be delivered by someone else. Here are some tips on how to effectively ghostwrite a speech:

  • Understand the speaker's voice and style : Begin by thoroughly understanding the speaker's personality, speaking style, and preferences. This includes their tone, humor, and any personal anecdotes they may want to include.
  • Interview the speaker : Have a detailed conversation with the speaker to gather information about their speech's purpose, target audience, key messages, and any specific points they want to emphasize. Ask for personal stories or examples they may want to include.
  • Research thoroughly : Research the topic to ensure you have a strong foundation of knowledge. This helps you craft a well-informed and credible speech.
  • Create an outline : Develop a clear outline that includes the introduction, main points, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Share this outline with the speaker for their input and approval.
  • Write in the speaker's voice : While crafting the speech, maintain the speaker's voice and style. Use language and phrasing that feel natural to them. If they have a particular way of expressing ideas, incorporate that into the speech.
  • Craft a captivating opening : Begin the speech with a compelling opening that grabs the audience's attention. This could be a relevant quote, an interesting fact, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking question.
  • Organize content logically : Ensure the speech flows logically, with each point building on the previous one. Use transitions to guide the audience from one idea to the next smoothly.
  • Incorporate engaging stories and examples : Include anecdotes, stories, and real-life examples that illustrate key points and make the speech relatable and memorable.
  • Edit and revise : Edit the speech carefully for clarity, grammar, and coherence. Ensure the speech is the right length and aligns with the speaker's time constraints.
  • Seek feedback : Share drafts of the speech with the speaker for their feedback and revisions. They may have specific changes or additions they'd like to make.
  • Practice delivery : If possible, work with the speaker on their delivery. Practice the speech together, allowing the speaker to become familiar with the content and your writing style.
  • Maintain confidentiality : As a ghostwriter, it's essential to respect the confidentiality and anonymity of the work. Do not disclose that you wrote the speech unless you have the speaker's permission to do so.
  • Be flexible : Be open to making changes and revisions as per the speaker's preferences. Your goal is to make them look good and effectively convey their message.
  • Meet deadlines : Stick to agreed-upon deadlines for drafts and revisions. Punctuality and reliability are essential in ghostwriting.
  • Provide support : Support the speaker during their preparation and rehearsal process. This can include helping with cue cards, speech notes, or any other materials they need.

Remember that successful ghostwriting is about capturing the essence of the speaker while delivering a well-structured and engaging speech. Collaboration, communication, and adaptability are key to achieving this.

Give your best speech yet

Learn how to make a speech that’ll hold an audience’s attention by structuring your thoughts and practicing frequently. Put the effort into writing and preparing your content, and aim to improve your breathing, eye contact , and body language as you practice. The more you work on your speech, the more confident you’ll become.

The energy you invest in writing an effective speech will help your audience remember and connect to every concept. Remember: some life-changing philosophies have come from good speeches, so give your words a chance to resonate with others. You might even change their thinking.

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Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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How to write a good speech in 7 steps

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 09-11-2022

- an easily followed format for writing a great speech

Did you know writing a speech doesn't have be an anxious, nail biting experience?

Unsure? Don't be.

You may have lived with the idea you were never good with words for a long time. Or perhaps giving speeches at school brought you out in cold sweats.

However learning how to write a speech is relatively straight forward when you learn to write out loud.

And that's the journey I am offering to take you on: step by step.

To learn quickly, go slow

Take all the time you need. This speech format has 7 steps, each building on the next.

Walk, rather than run, your way through all of them. Don't be tempted to rush. Familiarize yourself with the ideas. Try them out.

I know there are well-advertised short cuts and promises of 'write a speech in 5 minutes'. However in reality they only truly work for somebody who already has the basic foundations of speech writing in place.

The foundation of good speech writing 

These steps are the backbone of sound speech preparation. Learn and follow them well at the outset and yes, given more experience and practice you could probably flick something together quickly. Like any skill, the more it's used, the easier it gets.

In the meantime...

Step 1: Begin with a speech overview or outline

Are you in a hurry? Without time to read a whole page? Grab ... The Quick How to Write a Speech Checklist And come back to get the details later.

  • WHO you are writing your speech for (your target audience)
  • WHY you are preparing this speech. What's the main purpose of your speech? Is it to inform or tell your audience about something? To teach them a new skill or demonstrate something? To persuade or to entertain? (See 4 types of speeches: informative, demonstrative, persuasive and special occasion or entertaining for more.) What do you want them to think, feel or do as a result of listening the speech?
  • WHAT your speech is going to be about (its topic) - You'll want to have thought through your main points and have ranked them in order of importance. And have sorted the supporting research you need to make those points effectively.
  • HOW much time you have for your speech eg. 3 minutes, 5 minutes... The amount of time you've been allocated dictates how much content you need. If you're unsure check this page: how many words per minute in a speech: a quick reference guide . You'll find estimates of the number of words required for 1 - 10 minute speeches by slow, medium and fast talkers.

Use an outline

The best way to make sure you deliver a perfect speech is to start by carefully completing a speech outline covering the essentials: WHO, WHY, WHAT and HOW.

Beginning to write without thinking your speech through is a bit like heading off on a journey not knowing why you're traveling or where you're going to end up. You can find yourself lost in a deep, dark, murky muddle of ideas very quickly!

Pulling together a speech overview or outline is a much safer option. It's the map you'll follow to get where you want to go.

Get a blank speech outline template to complete

Click the link to find out a whole lot more about preparing a speech outline . ☺ You'll also find a free printable blank speech outline template.  I recommend using it!

Understanding speech construction

Before you begin to write, using your completed outline as a guide, let's briefly look at what you're aiming to prepare.

  • an opening or introduction
  • the body where the bulk of the information is given
  • and an ending (or summary).

Imagine your speech as a sandwich

Image: gourmet sandwich with labels on the top (opening) and bottom (conclusion) slices of bread and filling, (body). Text: Key ingredients for a superb speech sandwich.

If you think of a speech as a sandwich you'll get the idea.

The opening and ending are the slices of bread holding the filling (the major points or the body of your speech) together.

You can build yourself a simple sandwich with one filling (one big idea) or you could go gourmet and add up to three or, even five. The choice is yours.

But whatever you choose to serve, as a good cook, you need to consider who is going to eat it! And that's your audience.

So let's find out who they are before we do anything else. 

Step 2: Know who you are talking to

Understanding your audience.

Did you know a  good speech is never written from the speaker's point of view?  ( If you need to know more about why check out this page on  building rapport .)

Begin with the most important idea/point on your outline.

Consider HOW you can explain (show, tell) that to your audience in the most effective way for them to easily understand it.   

Writing from the audience's point of view

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

To help you write from an audience point of view, it's a good idea to identify either a real person or the type of person who is most likely to be listening to you.

Make sure you select someone who represents the "majority" of the people who will be in your audience. That is they are neither struggling to comprehend you at the bottom of your scale or light-years ahead at the top.

Now imagine they are sitting next to you eagerly waiting to hear what you're going to say. Give them a name, for example, Joe, to help make them real.

Ask yourself

  • How do I need to tailor my information to meet Joe's needs? For example, do you tell personal stories to illustrate your main points? Absolutely! Yes. This is a very powerful technique. (Click storytelling in speeches to find out more.)
  • What type or level of language is right for Joe as well as my topic? For example if I use jargon (activity, industry or profession specific vocabulary) will it be understood?

Step 3: Writing as you speak

Writing oral language.

Write down what you want to say about your first main point as if you were talking directly to Joe.

If it helps, say it all out loud before you write it down and/or record it.

Use the information below as a guide

Infographic: The Characteristics of Spoken Language - 7 points of difference with examples.

(Click to download The Characteristics of Spoken Language  as a pdf.) 

You do not have to write absolutely everything you're going to say down * but you do need to write down, or outline, the sequence of ideas to ensure they are logical and easily followed.

Remember too, to explain or illustrate your point with examples from your research. 

( * Tip: If this is your first speech the safety net of having everything written down could be just what you need. It's easier to recover from a patch of jitters when you have a word by word manuscript than if you have either none, or a bare outline. Your call!)

Step 4: Checking tone and language

The focus of this step is re-working what you've done in Step 2 and 3.

You identified who you were talking to (Step 2) and in Step 3, wrote up your first main point.  Is it right? Have you made yourself clear?  Check it.

Graphic:cartoon drawing of a woman sitting in front of a laptop. Text:How to write a speech: checking tone and language.

How well you complete this step depends on how well you understand the needs of the people who are going to listen to your speech.

Please do not assume because you know what you're talking about the person (Joe) you've chosen to represent your audience will too. Joe is not a mind-reader!

How to check what you've prepared

  • Check the "tone" of your language . Is it right for the occasion, subject matter and your audience?
  • Check the length of your sentences. You need short sentences. If they're too long or complicated you risk losing your listeners.

Check for jargon too. These are industry, activity or group exclusive words.

For instance take the phrase: authentic learning . This comes from teaching and refers to connecting lessons to the daily life of students. Authentic learning is learning that is relevant and meaningful for students. If you're not a teacher you may not understand the phrase.

The use of any vocabulary requiring insider knowledge needs to be thought through from the audience perspective. Jargon can close people out.

  • Read what you've written out loud. If it flows naturally, in a logical manner, continue the process with your next main idea. If it doesn't, rework.

We use whole sentences and part ones, and we mix them up with asides or appeals e.g. "Did you get that? Of course you did. Right...Let's move it along. I was saying ..."

Click for more about the differences between spoken and written language .

And now repeat the process

Repeat this process for the remainder of your main ideas.

Because you've done the first one carefully, the rest should follow fairly easily.

Step 5: Use transitions

Providing links or transitions between main ideas.

Between each of your main ideas you need to provide a bridge or pathway for your audience. The clearer the pathway or bridge, the easier it is for them to make the transition from one idea to the next.

Graphic - girl walking across a bridge. Text - Using transitions to link ideas.

If your speech contains more than three main ideas and each is building on the last, then consider using a "catch-up" or summary as part of your transitions.

Is your speech being evaluated? Find out exactly what aspects you're being assessed on using this standard speech evaluation form

Link/transition examples

A link can be as simple as:

"We've explored one scenario for the ending of Block Buster 111, but let's consider another. This time..."

What follows this transition is the introduction of Main Idea Two.

Here's a summarizing link/transition example:

"We've ended Blockbuster 111 four ways so far. In the first, everybody died. In the second, everybody died BUT their ghosts remained to haunt the area. In the third, one villain died. His partner reformed and after a fight-out with the hero, they both strode off into the sunset, friends forever. In the fourth, the hero dies in a major battle but is reborn sometime in the future.

And now what about one more? What if nobody died? The fifth possibility..."

Go back through your main ideas checking the links. Remember Joe as you go. Try each transition or link out loud and really listen to yourself. Is it obvious? Easily followed?

Keep them if they are clear and concise.

For more about transitions (with examples) see Andrew Dlugan's excellent article, Speech Transitions: Magical words and Phrases .

Step 6: The end of your speech

The ideal ending is highly memorable . You want it to live on in the minds of your listeners long after your speech is finished. Often it combines a call to action with a summary of major points.

Comic Graphic: End with a bang

Example speech endings

Example 1: The desired outcome of a speech persuading people to vote for you in an upcoming election is that they get out there on voting day and do so. You can help that outcome along by calling them to register their support by signing a prepared pledge statement as they leave.

"We're agreed we want change. You can help us give it to you by signing this pledge statement as you leave. Be part of the change you want to see!

Example 2: The desired outcome is increased sales figures. The call to action is made urgent with the introduction of time specific incentives.

"You have three weeks from the time you leave this hall to make that dream family holiday in New Zealand yours. Can you do it? Will you do it? The kids will love it. Your wife will love it. Do it now!"

How to figure out the right call to action

A clue for working out what the most appropriate call to action might be, is to go back to your original purpose for giving the speech.

  • Was it to motivate or inspire?
  • Was it to persuade to a particular point of view?
  • Was it to share specialist information?
  • Was it to celebrate a person, a place, time or event?

Ask yourself what you want people to do as a result of having listened to your speech.

For more about ending speeches

Visit this page for more about how to end a speech effectively . You'll find two additional types of speech endings with examples.

Write and test

Write your ending and test it out loud. Try it out on a friend, or two. Is it good? Does it work?

Step 7: The introduction

Once you've got the filling (main ideas) the linking and the ending in place, it's time to focus on the introduction.

The introduction comes last as it's the most important part of your speech. This is the bit that either has people sitting up alert or slumped and waiting for you to end. It's the tone setter!

What makes a great speech opening?

Ideally you want an opening that makes listening to you the only thing the 'Joes' in the audience want to do.

You want them to forget they're hungry or that their chair is hard or that their bills need paying.

The way to do that is to capture their interest straight away. You do this with a "hook".

Hooks to catch your audience's attention

Hooks come in as many forms as there are speeches and audiences. Your task is work out what specific hook is needed to catch your audience.

Graphic: shoal of fish and two hooked fishing lines. Text: Hooking and holding attention

Go back to the purpose. Why are you giving this speech?

Once you have your answer, consider your call to action. What do you want the audience to do, and, or take away, as a result of listening to you?

Next think about the imaginary or real person you wrote for when you were focusing on your main ideas.

Choosing the best hook

  • Is it humor?
  • Would shock tactics work?
  • Is it a rhetorical question?
  • Is it formality or informality?
  • Is it an outline or overview of what you're going to cover, including the call to action?
  • Or is it a mix of all these elements?

A hook example

Here's an example from a fictional political speech. The speaker is lobbying for votes. His audience are predominately workers whose future's are not secure.

"How's your imagination this morning? Good? (Pause for response from audience) Great, I'm glad. Because we're going to put it to work starting right now.

I want you to see your future. What does it look like? Are you happy? Is everything as you want it to be? No? Let's change that. We could do it. And we could do it today.

At the end of this speech you're going to be given the opportunity to change your world, for a better one ...

No, I'm not a magician. Or a simpleton with big ideas and precious little commonsense. I'm an ordinary man, just like you. And I have a plan to share!"

And then our speaker is off into his main points supported by examples. The end, which he has already foreshadowed in his opening, is the call to vote for him.

Prepare several hooks

Experiment with several openings until you've found the one that serves your audience, your subject matter and your purpose best.

For many more examples of speech openings go to: how to write a speech introduction . You'll find 12 of the very best ways to start a speech.

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

That completes the initial seven steps towards writing your speech. If you've followed them all the way through, congratulations, you now have the text of your speech!

Although you might have the words, you're still a couple of steps away from being ready to deliver them. Both of them are essential if you want the very best outcome possible. They are below. Please take them.

Step 8: Checking content and timing

This step pulls everything together.

Check once, check twice, check three times & then once more!

Go through your speech really carefully.

On the first read through check you've got your main points in their correct order with supporting material, plus an effective introduction and ending.

On the second read through check the linking passages or transitions making sure they are clear and easily followed.

On the third reading check your sentence structure, language use and tone.

Double, triple check the timing

Now go though once more.

This time read it aloud slowly and time yourself.

If it's too long for the time allowance you've been given make the necessary cuts.

Start by looking at your examples rather than the main ideas themselves. If you've used several examples to illustrate one principal idea, cut the least important out.

Also look to see if you've repeated yourself unnecessarily or, gone off track. If it's not relevant, cut it.

Repeat the process, condensing until your speech fits the required length, preferably coming in just under your time limit.

You can also find out how approximately long it will take you to say the words you have by using this very handy words to minutes converter . It's an excellent tool, one I frequently use. While it can't give you a precise time, it does provide a reasonable estimate.

Graphic: Click to read example speeches of all sorts.

Step 9: Rehearsing your speech

And NOW you are finished with writing the speech, and are ready for REHEARSAL .

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Please don't be tempted to skip this step. It is not an extra thrown in for good measure. It's essential.

The "not-so-secret" secret of successful speeches combines good writing with practice, practice and then, practicing some more.

Go to how to practice public speaking and you'll find rehearsal techniques and suggestions to boost your speech delivery from ordinary to extraordinary.

The Quick How to Write a Speech Checklist

Before you begin writing you need:.

  • Your speech OUTLINE with your main ideas ranked in the order you're going to present them. (If you haven't done one complete this 4 step sample speech outline . It will make the writing process much easier.)
  • You also need to know WHO you're speaking to, the PURPOSE of the speech and HOW long you're speaking for

The basic format

  • the body where you present your main ideas

Split your time allowance so that you spend approximately 70% on the body and 15% each on the introduction and ending.

How to write the speech

  • Write your main ideas out incorporating your examples and research
  • Link them together making sure each flows in a smooth, logical progression
  • Write your ending, summarizing your main ideas briefly and end with a call for action
  • Write your introduction considering the 'hook' you're going to use to get your audience listening
  • An often quoted saying to explain the process is: Tell them what you're going to tell them (Introduction) Tell them (Body of your speech - the main ideas plus examples) Tell them what you told them (The ending)

TEST before presenting. Read aloud several times to check the flow of material, the suitability of language and the timing.

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How to Write a Speech: Top Tips

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Ashleigh Ferguson

how to write a speech

Table of Contents

9 engaging speech writing tips, what are the different speech types , how to find help writing a speech.

A great speech is impactful and engaging. It should eloquently and clearly express your ideas.

Whatever the topic, a good speech should showcase your authority on a topic and demonstrate excellent communication and leadership skills.

Many people don't know how to write a speech, so the process seems daunting. But there are a few best practices and tips that can make the writing process easier.

In this article, we’ll discuss some best practices to help you write an effective speech that engages and captures your audience.

Public speaking can be nerve-racking. However, having a well-written speech can decrease some of that anxiety.

Even if you’ve never written a speech before, there are still best practices you can follow. 

An engaging speech should be clear, to the point, and follow a logical order. But how do you ensure your speech follows these criteria? Follow these nine engaging speech writing tips.

speech writing tips

Know Your Audience

Analyze your target audience to improve the effectiveness of your speech because different audiences will have different expectations. 

Consider your audience’s age, level of understanding, attitudes, and what they expect to take away from your speech, then tailor your message accordingly. 

For example, if your audience members are teenagers, it’s unlikely that references to the ’70s will be effective.

Start With a Clear Purpose

Decide on the main point of your speech, and make sure all your content supports that point. Choose a topic that fits the following criteria:

A topic that is relevant to your audience

A topic you’re excited about

A topic you have reasonable knowledge about

Organize Your Ideas 

Use a speech outline to organize your thoughts and ideas logically. 

Identify the introduction, body, and conclusion of your speech to help you stay focused and make your speech easier to follow.

Use Strong, Clear Language

Choose your words carefully, and use simple language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon or technical terms that your audience may not be familiar with. 

Again, your word choice will depend on your audience. For example, you’ll want to steer clear of slang when speaking to an older, conservative crowd.

Use Transitions

Speech transitions are words and phrases that allow you to move smoothly from one point to another. Use transitional words and phrases like “besides” to help your audience follow your thought process and understand how your points are connected.

Add Variety to Speech

A speech that is monotonous or lacks variety may cause your audience to lose interest. 

Including a variety of elements in your speech, such as anecdotes, examples, and visual aids, can help keep your audience engaged and interested. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice your speech out loud to ensure it flows well and you’re comfortable with the material. Read your speech in front of the mirror or before someone you trust to give you critical feedback. Note the points for improvement, and incorporate them into how you deliver your speech.

End With a Strong Conclusion

How would you like to leave your audience members: inspired, informed, or mesmerized? Aim to end your speech on a high note. Summarize your main points, and leave your audience with a memorable takeaway.

Edit and Revise

Proofread and revise your speech to ensure it’s well written and error free. Use a grammar checker, such as ProWritingAid, to correct any grammar issues. You’ll also get suggestions on how to improve your sentence structures and transitions.

How to Write a Good Speech Introduction

speech introduction tips

The introduction can make or break your speech. It’s where you grab your audience’s attention to keep them engaged and state the purpose of your speech. 

An introduction also gives you the opportunity to establish your credibility. You should aim to give your audience a reason to listen to the rest of the speech rather than tuning out.

Here are some tips on how to create a positive first impression.

Start With a Hook

Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab your audience’s attention and make them want to listen. There are several options for a hook:

A statistic

A personal anecdote

Reference to a current or historical event

When thinking of an attention grabber, consider how appropriate and relevant it is to your audience and the purpose of the speech. For example, if you’re giving a speech to an older audience, you can make a historical reference that they can easily relate to.

speech hook ideas

Provide Context

Provide context by giving your audience some background information about the topic of your speech. This will help them understand the importance of what you are talking about and why they should care.

State Your Thesis

Clearly and concisely state the main point or purpose of your speech. Your thesis should be easy to follow and clearly outline the main argument and your stance. This will give your audience a clear understanding of what they can expect to learn from your presentation.

Preview Your Main Points

Give your audience a sense of the structure of your speech by briefly outlining the key points or arguments you will be making. They’ll know what to expect, and your speech will be easier to follow. 

Keep It Short

Your introduction should be concise and to the point, so don’t spend too much time on it. It’s important to keep your speech brief, and avoid including unnecessary or unrelated information. 

The goal is to engage and interest your audience, not bore them, so aim for a few well-chosen words rather than a lengthy introduction. Aim for your introduction to be about 10-15% of the total length of your speech.

4 types of speeches

A speech is just like any other piece of writing. You’ll need to identify your purpose, audience, and intention and then write accordingly. There are many types of speeches, and each type has its own expectations.

Let’s look at some of the most popular speeches and how to write them.

How to Write a Short Speech

Short speeches may be the most tedious to write because of how condensed and concise the information has to be. However, if you ever have to give a farewell, birthday tribute, or just a quick welcome, there are still some tips available to make your speech great.

Start by identifying your topic, title, and the purpose of your speech, which will set the foundation of your outline. Then, determine the main points of your speech; keep it short with two to three points. Remember, a short speech is typically less than ten minutes long, so keep your points concise and to the point.

Since you have limited time to make the most impact, incorporate powerful words or other engaging elements. For example, you could throw out a thought-provoking question or anecdote, which will grab your audience’s attention and keep them engaged.

Finally, once you’ve written your speech, review it for brevity and clarity. 

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

How to Write a Presentation Speech

A presentation speech is used to inform, persuade, explain, or demonstrate a particular topic.

Presentation speeches are well structured and follow a logical flow. They have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Use transition words and phrases to help your speech flow smoothly and prevent it from appearing disjointed.

You can use ProWritingAid to organize your speech and make it even clearer. ProWritingAid’s transition report will show you whether you’re using transitions effectively in your speech.

How to Write a Debate Speech

A debate is a formal argument on a particular topic. Debate speeches are persuasive since the aim is to convince the audience to agree with a stance.

Like most other speeches, a debate speech also follows the introduction, body, conclusion outline. This format helps the audience follow the speaker’s point in a linear and logical way.

When writing your introduction, clarify your stance so it’s clear to the audience. Anyone reading or listening to your speech shouldn’t have any doubt about your position on the topic. Take some time to prepare a solid opener, which can be an interesting fact, a personal story, or even a powerful quote.

The introduction also gives you the opportunity to explain terms your audience will need to understand throughout the speech. You should also provide an overview of your main points, but don’t spend long divulging too much.

Each body paragraph should cover a main point, whether that’s a key idea or a main claim, and each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. The topic sentence is an initial sentence that summarizes the idea being presented. 

Your conclusion should be a simple and clear reiteration of the points you made in the thesis statement and body paragraphs. Add an attention-grabbing element to leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Remember to use strong and emotive language throughout your speech, which makes it more likely for your audience to feel emotionally connected to your stance.

Always use transition words and phrases to maintain a logical flow between your arguments. Finally, edit and proofread your work for any potential grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes.

How to Write an Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a brief speech that’s used to pitch a product, service, expertise, or credentials.

You have 30–60 seconds to persuade someone to act how you’d like: the same time as a quick elevator ride.

An effective elevator speech should contain an introduction, a clear value proposition, and a strong conclusion. 

elevator speech definition

Your introduction should be polite and clear. Briefly explain who you are, what you do, and what you are offering. For example, if you’re pitching your expertise, condense your background into two sentences. Include things that will make your audience remember you.

End your speech with what you want to achieve. What are you trying to accomplish with this speech? Perhaps it’s a job opportunity, a follow-up meeting, or an internship.

Once you’ve written your speech, be sure to revise it for brevity. Then practice and record yourself to ensure you don’t go over the time limit.

Writing a good speech takes time, but these tips are a good start to improving your speech-writing process. If you encounter writer’s block, look up popular speeches for inspiration. Ask someone you trust to give you feedback once you’ve written your speech.

Finally, while ProWritingAid can’t write your speech for you, it can help you write in a cohesive and logical manner. It highlights any grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues. It also shows you suggestions on how to improve your sentence structure, transition, pacing, and readability, so your next speech can be impactful and memorable.

Ashleigh Ferguson is a Copywriter on the ProWritingAid Team. With an affinity for learning new things, you can always count on her to know some random fact. She’s a self-proclaimed ‘Fix-it Felix’ and a newly minted ‘candle lady’.

Get started with ProWritingAid

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Small Talk Topics

The Best and Worst Things to Talk About

Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Best Small Talk Topics

  • Small Talk Topics to Avoid

How to Start Small Talk

Frequently asked questions.

Small talk topics are good conversation starters between people who don't know each other well. If you live with  social anxiety disorder (SAD) , making small talk can be anxiety-provoking. It can also be difficult if you tend to be more introverted.

Small talk refers to an informal, polite conversation that often focuses on unimportant or trivial topics. While such social transactions focus on inconsequential topics, they serve as important ways to build rapport, connection, and relationships.

Learning to make small talk can help build the confidence you need to start conversations, make connections, and develop your social skills . Even if you are uncomfortable, avoiding small talk altogether only serves to worsen anxiety in the long run.

Rather than being scared of small talk, make a point of overcoming your fear of it. One good way to alleviate anxiety is to know what things to talk about and what to avoid.

Arts and entertainment

Celebrity gossip

Politics and religion

Personal gossip

Offensive jokes

Narrow topics

Past relationships

If you are looking for some good conversation starters, here are a few topics to consider.

Gavin Allanwood / Unsplash

Although talking about the weather may seem mundane, it is a good neutral topic that everyone can discuss. Did a big storm just blow through? Are you in the middle of a heatwave?

Look no further than outside your door for conversation starters such as:

  • Lovely day, don't you think?
  • Looks like rain is in the forecast.
  • Did you order this beautiful weather?

Practice making small talk about the weather by asking someone one of these questions the next time you find yourself in the middle of an awkward silence. They may open up other topics as the conversation progresses.

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and entertainment topics that are good conversation starters include:

  • Movies and television shows
  • Popular restaurants
  • Popular music

Examples of things you might ask are:

  • Are you reading any great books? I could use some recommendations.
  • Are there any podcasts you love? 
  • Have you tried any new apps or games lately that you really like? I could use some suggestions.

Skip talking about movies, television, or books that your conversation partner has not seen or read. If no one else has seen the movie, don't go into detail about the plot or the funny scenes. Find some common ground and build your discussion from there.

You might have to ask several people before you get someone interested in talking with you—that's okay. Be okay with rejection, or actually seek it out. It's all just practice, after all.

Remember that small talk is about building a bridge between you and another person. It doesn't matter so much what you talk about, but rather that you start talking .

Sports topics are good things to talk about with people you don't know very well. They can include:

  • Favorite or local teams
  • Sporting events
  • Tournaments or championships

Keep track of what sports are played during which seasons—such as football, soccer, hockey, and golf—so you are on top of the current action. The Olympic Games are always a good option if they are taking place as everyone is sure to be buzzing about them.

If your conversation partner supports a rival team, avoid trash-talking. Instead, focus on keeping your discussion on things like team or player performance.

Ask someone, "Did you catch that golf tournament over the weekend?" While this might feel uncomfortable the first few times you do it, eventually, it will feel more natural to you.

Simon Ritzmann / Getty Images

People are likely to ask you about your family . Conversation starters about family may include:

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?
  • How long have you been with your partner?
  • Where does your family live?

Be prepared for these types of questions and reciprocate by asking others about their families. Engaging in this type of small talk displays your communication skills . It also helps you learn a lot about a person in a short period of time.

Although family can be a great conversation starter, use caution when asking about potentially sensitive topics. For example, asking someone if they have kids or plan to have kids can be difficult if that person is experiencing infertility. If the other person brings up their children, however, feel free to ask about them.

Maskot / Getty Images

Food can be a great topic for small talk as long as you keep it neutral and focus on the positive . You might ask someone for recommendations for local restaurants, ask what their favorite dish to order is, or if they enjoy cooking at home.

Some examples of food-based topics include:

  • Have you tried any new restaurants lately?
  • What's your favorite meal to cook at home?
  • Do you have any ideas for good work lunches? I'm out of ideas and I'm sick of sandwiches.

As with other conversation starters, stick to positive topics and avoid complaining about foods you dislike.

Another popular small talk topic is work. You may be asked what you do or whether you like your job . If you do something unusual that is hard to explain, consider keeping business cards in your wallet. This works particularly well if your company has a website that people can visit.

You might start a chat with an opener such as:

  • How long have you worked as a [insert job title]/How long have worked at [insert company]?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • That is an interesting line of work. How did you get into it?

Always focus on what you'd like to learn about others and things you enjoy talking about. This will make the process of small talk feel more like fun than work.

Be careful to avoid getting into complaints or grievances about work , however. Others might develop poor perceptions of you based on these negative interactions.

People like to hear about vacations . If you travel, be ready to answer questions and give your opinions about the places you have visited.

Ask others about their favorite travel spots and what they recommend. Many people like to help and will be happy to share their experiences. This can also be a great way to put your conversation partner in a happy frame of mind by allowing them to recount a joyful vacation.

Celebrity Gossip

It isn't necessary to follow celebrity gossip to make small talk. However, it is a good idea to know a little bit about some of the most popular celebrities in case the topic comes up.

Save this type of small talk for informal gatherings or casual parties, not work events. Unless everyone else at your work conference is discussing a celebrity, it's best to lead with something else.

Joining a Conversation

If you are trying to break into a group conversation , always establish eye contact, smile, and introduce yourself first. Then listen and remember the names of the other people in the group.

Hero Images / Getty Images

People like to talk about their hobbies and are likely to be interested in yours. If you don't have any hobbies, consider trying something new. Not only will you have something to talk about, but having a hobby will give you a chance to meet others with similar interests.

Be sure to ask follow-up questions as you listen to someone talk about their hobbies. Listen between the lines, as well. If someone says, "That was the last time I ever went skiing," for instance, ask why.

In a small talk situation, you might be asked about your hometown. For example:

  • How is where you grew up different from where you live now?
  • Why did you leave?

Have an interesting anecdote or story ready to tell. Ask others about their hometowns as well. You never know who might be from the same place as you, making this a good opportunity to form a connection.

How to Remember Names

How can you remember people's names? Focus, repeat the name, think of someone you know with that name, use the name in conversation, and say it again when leaving the conversation .

Worst Small Talk Topics

Once you know a few good conversation starters, it's helpful to also recognize what type of small talk topics you're better off avoiding.

Asking personal financial questions of people you've just met is inappropriate. It is fine to ask what someone does for work or the positive aspects of that career, but do not ask about their salary. Most people will find this question intrusive and inappropriate, and it may bring up some bad vibes if they have financial stress .

Politics and Religion

The problem with talking about politics is that you never know who in the crowd may have strong opinions. Stay away from this topic unless you want to risk ending up in the middle of a heated conversation. Religion is another extremely personal and potentially sensitive topic that should be avoided.

Talking about sex or asking questions of an intimate nature is inappropriate during small talk. When talking with strangers, avoid talking openly about sexual topics and refrain from making sexual innuendos. Both are likely to make others uncomfortable.

Death  is another heavy topic that should be avoided during small talk. When you are in the company of strangers, do not bring up emotional topics that have the potential to be upsetting.

Yadira G. Morel / Getty Images

Unless you know someone well, don't ask their age. Although the question might seem simple to you, it can be a hot topic for some.

In addition, avoid questions related to appearance . Do not ask anyone if they are pregnant or comment that they have lost weight. You never know the reason for weight gain or loss and, as a result, could be left in an uncomfortable situation.

Personal Gossip

While celebrity gossip is fair game during small talk, gossip about people you know personally is not. Gossiping about others not only paints you in a bad light but you never know who might know each other. Not bad-mouthing others can save you from potential embarrassment.

Offensive Jokes

Making sexist or racist jokes is offensive and a quick way to end a conversation. Save your sensitive jokes for your best friends—or better yet, replace them with jokes that don't have time and place restrictions.

Sometimes people make jokes they don't realize might offend others. If the joke pokes fun at someone due to their race , culture, sex, or sexual orientation , skip it. Also avoid jokes that touch on hot-button, controversial, or political issues. 

If your joke is at the expense of someone else, it's best to avoid it.

Narrow Topics

Avoid talking at length about topics that are one-sided. This might include specialized expertise in a particular field or uncommon hobbies of which your conversation partner has no knowledge.

This doesn't mean you don't have to avoid mentioning these topics entirely. If someone asks you what your hobbies are, for instance, mentioning some uncommon ones can be an interesting jumping-off point for certain conversations.

The key is to keep the discussion more general and skip getting into long-winded speeches about highly specialized things you are passionate about (unless the other person shares those same passions).

Watch for signs that others have lost interest and, if they appear, find a quick ending to your story.

Past Relationships

Avoid talking about past relationships on a  first date or within other small talk conversations. When forging new romantic connections, making comparisons or talking endlessly about a past love interest is a turnoff and may ensure you don't get a second date.

Talking about past relationships tends to focus on negative topics, which is generally something you should try to avoid when making small talk. Your conversation partner may be hesitant to talk, as well, if it seems like you might talk negatively about them in the future.

Health issues tend to make poor choices for small talk. While you might be tempted to share the latest health kick you're trying, or ache and pain you're suffering, the person you are sharing it with may be less interested. Some topics to avoid include:

  • Telling people how they should feel about a health condition
  • Offering "quick cures" for complex medical issues
  • Suggesting that people could lose weight or get fit by following your tips

Avoid discussing potentially sensitive health issues, whether they are your own or somebody else's. Asking others about their health can come off as intrusive, so it's best to avoid it.

There are a number of things you can do to help make small talk easier, whether you are meeting new people or dealing with social anxiety at a party . Asking open-ended questions and engaging in active listening can help you have great conversations with new people.

Some good small talk questions that can help initiate a conversation include:

  • What do you do?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Have you been enjoying the nice weather?
  • Have you been enjoying the food here?
  • What have you been watching on tv lately?
  • Have you read any good books lately?
  • How are you today?
  • Did you happen to catch the game this week?

Try to stay positive and discuss optimistic topics. Avoid complaining, airing grievances, or displaying a pessimistic attitude. If you do bring up something that isn't generating interest or find yourself in an awkward conversation , change the subject and move on to something else. 

A Word From Verywell

Remember, making small talk gets easier with practice. Consider starting conversations and rehearse some topics that you might want to use and you will find it easier to talk to strangers—without feeling stressed .

Small talk is a good way to start a conversation with someone you don't know or don't know well. If the talk progresses, it can even start a friendship . Small talk is also a good way to pass the time in certain situations, such as when waiting in line at the store.

If small talk makes you truly uncomfortable, you can avoid it by politely excusing yourself from the conversation. If you are engaged in a book or have your earbuds in, it's also less likely that someone will try to start a conversation with you.

That said, if your goal in avoiding small talk is to have more meaningful conversations, asking open-ended questions is a good way to prompt a more in-depth discussion.

Practice, practice, and practice some more. Like anything in life, if you want to get better at making small talk, you benefit from doing it more often. One way you can practice making small talk is to try starting a conversation with people you don't know whenever you can. Stores, waiting rooms, and other public places are good places to practice your small talk skills.

Some introverts hate small talk because they're shy and talking with people they don't know makes them feel uncomfortable. Others simply prefer to be alone and find social interactions mentally draining. Introverts also tend to enjoy deeper conversations more. So, small talk might not stimulate them mentally.

Small talk involves three parts: an ice breaker (which initiates the conversation), rapport (where you ask further questions to continue the conversation), and an exit (which involves gracefully ending the conversation).

Methot J, Rosado-Solomon E, Downes P, Gabriel A. Office chitchat as a social ritual: The uplifting yet distracting effects of daily small talk at work . Acad Managem J . 2021;64(5). doi:10.5465/amj.2018.1474

Brown ML. Learning the art of small talk . American Library Association.

University of Illinois Graduate College. Tips for networking events .

Sergeevna K. The use of small talk technique as a means of practising communicative skills for students of non-linguistic university . Innov Trends Develop Russian Sci . 2020:159-60.

Kangan Institute. 11 tips to help you network better!

Northwestern Mutual. Why we dislike talking about money — and what to do about it .

Sun J, Harris K, Vazire S. Is well-being associated with the quantity and quality of social interactions? . J Pers Soc Psychol . 2020;119(6):1478-96. doi:10.1037/pspp0000272

By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

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how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How To Write a Speech Everyone Will Remember (In a Good Way)

How To Write a Speech Everyone Will Remember (In a Good Way)

Speeches have the power to move, inspire and celebrate some of life’s greatest moments—or make your audience scout out the nearest exit. To keep an audience engaged and deliver a meaningful or persuasive speech—you have to do more than stand up and give an impromptu talk to a room full of people. You need to know how to write a good speech.

A person writing a speech on a tablet

Whether you’re speaking at a graduation or a wedding reception, every good speech follows four important guidelines:

1. Keep it short & sweet. One of the best markers of a good speech is that it ends before people get antsy.

2. Don’t make it about you. You may have everyone’s attention, but keep the spotlight where it belongs—on the audience.

3. Practice, practice, practice. Practice with a friend, use a free coaching tool , or record yourself and listen for any parts that venture off topic or don’t need to be included.

4. Watch your grammar. Run a grammar check on your script to avoid embarrassing errors or even possible bias in your final speech.

Different types of speeches have special considerations, too. Here are some of the most common types, along with additional tips to deliver them well.

How to write a best man speech or maid of honor speech :

  • Be generous with compliments. Thank the other speakers, congratulate the newlyweds, and say a few nice words about the ceremony, the other guests, and the couple themselves. Convey the warmth that the occasion brings.
  • Be strategically funny. You’ll probably have people from different generations and cultures there to celebrate, and possibly even the boss or colleagues of the bride and groom. Humor is great, but don’t cross the line with things like inappropriate jokes, references to exes, or embarrassing anecdotes that could make Grandma blush and give the newlyweds something to fight about on their honeymoon.
  • End on a celebratory note. Leave the happy couple and their guests feeling even more joyful. Read a memorable quote or love poem, and then propose a toast or invite the guests to applaud the happy couple.

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How to write a graduation speech :

Gather inspiration. Some of history’s best graduation speeches are posted online as transcripts and videos. Watch them for inspiration on topics, delivery, and overall themes that you can emulate in your own speech.

  • Acknowledge the graduates and their supporters. Thank and acknowledge the faculty and families while you name and celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates. Hitting an educational milestone is a team effort that deserves broad recognition.
  • End with an inspirational look toward the future. Graduation is an ending that is also a beginning. End your speech with a positive quote or your own heartfelt message about a bright future.

How to write a persuasive speech :

  • Describe the current situation in detail. Set the stage by giving context to the idea or argument you’re going to introduce. Describe the current state along with any different viewpoints that are being widely shared.
  • Share the drawbacks of inaction. Describe the pitfalls of not adopting an idea, changing an approach, or doing the thing you’d like them to do. Provide supporting facts that demonstrate how important it is to find a solution.
  • Introduce your solution. Share your idea or solution and describe why it’s the best approach. Paint a picture of how things will be once the solution is in place. Clearly tie it to the pitfalls you described before. End with a clear call to action.

How to write an informative speech:

  • Create a strong thesis. After you set the context with a brief introduction, deliver a strong, clear thesis statement. Make a note to follow your statement with a pause to emphasize the importance of your thesis statement and allow the audience to fully take it in.
  • Consider the audience. Focusing on your audience, decide what type of information and what level of detail they’ll be most interested in. Include stories or anecdotes that will resonate.
  • End with a concluding statement. Summarize the information you shared and why your audience should care. End your speech with a strong, concise conclusion that reiterates your thesis statement and leaves your audience with the main takeaway of your speech.

Above all, have fun. A good speech is a gift to your audience that they’ll remember for years to come.

A person editing a speech on a Surface tablet

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How to Write a Good Speech About a Person in Your Life

A well written speech can leave people talking long after the last word has been spoken. School children continue to memorize Lincoln's Gettysburg address more than a century after it was written and people continue to quote John F. Kennedy's inaugural address decades after his death. While your speech about a person in your life might not go down in history you can leave your audience with a chuckle or two and stories to ponder.

Choose someone who has an interesting story or who has made a strong impression on you and taught you something. Think of your own experiences with the person and jot down anecdotes that come to mind.

Gather additional information about the person. Talk to him directly and to people who know him. Get details and stories about his childhood, work life, social and community activities. Find out from others what makes your subject stand out.

Sketch an outline for your speech. Make a note of an opening joke or story about the individual to begin. Note the points and the anecdotes you want to include in the body of the speech. Include examples and personal narratives to illustrate your message. Look for an ending that leaves the audience with something to think about.

Fill out your outline. Engage the audience from the start. Tell a story or a joke or describe the person in the introduction; or begin by speaking about values and show how this person demonstrates those values. Use a sentence or phrase to let the introduction flow into the body of the speech. In conclusion, encourage the audience to imitate the standards of your subject or to reflect on what they have learned from people in their own lives.

Revise your speech for structure, content and flow. Your points must be clear and logically ordered. Make sure all details and examples effectively illustrate your points. Practice your speech silently and then in front of someone else for feedback. Make additional revisions as needed based on your own impression of the speech and suggestions you receive.

  • If you can speak comfortably from an outline, do not write the speech out word for word because this can make your presentation seem too rehearsed and unnatural.
  • Hamilton: Speech Introductions and Conclusions
  • Six Minutes Speaking and Presentation Skills: Speech Preparation #5: Six Power Principles for Speech Editing

Ellen McCormick has been writing education, family and religion-related articles since 2003. She has contributed to Mater Ecclesiae institutional publications, Circle Press and a variety of websites. McCormick has a Licentiate (a U.S. Master of Arts equivalent) in educational development from Anahuac University and a second in religious sciences from Regina Apostolorum University.

  • EXPLORE Random Article

How to Write a Speech for Someone Else

Last Updated: July 14, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by Lynn Kirkham . Lynn Kirkham is a Professional Public Speaker and Founder of Yes You Can Speak, a San Francisco Bay Area-based public speaking educational business empowering thousands of professionals to take command of whatever stage they've been given - from job interviews, boardroom talks to TEDx and large conference platforms. Lynn was chosen as the official TEDx Berkeley speaker coach for the last four years and has worked with executives at Google, Facebook, Intuit, Genentech, Intel, VMware, and others. This article has been viewed 84,339 times.

Writing a speech for someone else can be a stimulating task to take on. It can also be challenging to write a speech for another person with a different voice than your own. As a ghostwriter, you write secretly, with little-to-no acknowledgment of your work. Whether you ghostwrite for a professional career or choose to help a friend with a wedding toast, learning how to write a speech for someone else can be a satisfying experience. To write a speech for someone else, learn about ghostwriting, prepare to write the speech, and finally, write the speech.

Getting Ready to Write

Step 1 Get to know the person for whom you are writing.

  • Note words and phrases that are repeated as they speak.

Step 4 Determine how much work you will be responsible for.

  • Make sure the speaker is aware of how much work they are responsible for.

Step 5 Learn about the audience.

  • Big ideas and main points provide the basic structure of the speech. Understand exactly what the speaker wants to communicate so you can make these points clear.

Writing the Speech

Step 1 Get details about the speech.

  • For example, if it is a commencement speech, ask the speaker about their experience in school and getting out into the “real” world for the first time.
  • Make sure the stories connect well with the subject and main point of the speech.

Step 3 Research the facts.

  • Get the audience's attention quickly. This can be done by stating a surprising fact or starting out with a humorous or interesting story.
  • Keep the speech organized. Use transitions and guiding words like "first," "second," and "finally."
  • Use rhetorical devices, like examples, alliteration, imagery, and questions. Balance facts with examples.
  • Reflect the person's speaking style. Never fall into your voice during the writing process. Mimic their language, phrasing, and emphasis.

Step 5 Maintain a strong focus on the big ideas.

  • Limit the amount of information you include. The audience will only remember so much information.

Step 7 Ask the speaker to approve the speech.

Understanding the Challenges of Ghostwriting

Step 1 Learn what ghostwriting is.

  • You can learn more about ghostwriting by looking up books on ghostwriting in your local library, researching articles about ghostwriting online, and by looking for famous examples of ghostwriting.
  • A few examples of famously ghostwritten speeches are John F. Kennedy's inauguration speech, Reagan's “Boys of Pointe du Hoc” speech, and drafts of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech “I Have a Dream.”

Step 2 Decide what is and is not ethical for you.

  • Knowing where you stand on the ethics of speech writing will make it easier to accept or decline requests for your writing services. [12] X Research source
  • Ghostwriting in the academic arena is often viewed as plagiarism. Others feel that it is okay under certain circumstances, like when politicians, business leaders, or celebrities must present multiple speeches a day, on top of their other responsibilities.

Step 3 Form a partnership with the client.

  • Writing a speech for someone you find difficult to get along with is most likely not a good idea. You can write a speech for a person that has different ideas than you, as long as you find it possible to keep your ideas to yourself.

Step 4 Ask for the speaker's approval.

  • The ghostwriter must learn to adopt a range of voices outside of their own.

Sample Speeches

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Expert Q&A

Lynn Kirkham

  • Take notes when you are observing the way the person speaks and acts. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Work with the other person throughout the writing process. It will be easier to rewrite sections that need to be changed rather than the entire, completed speech being rejected. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure not to plagiarize from parts of other speeches. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Feelings can get hurt and disagreements can arise during the writing process. Neither party should take the challenging of ideas or decisions personally. Remember, you are writing a speech for someone else to take credit for. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

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How to Start a Conversation with Someone You Don't Know over Text

Last Updated: March 17, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Suzanna Mathews and by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger . Suzanna Mathews is a Dating and Relationship Coach and the Founder of The Date Maven. With over a decade of experience, she specializes in creating mindset tools, social strategies, and digital strategies that help her clients elevate dating and deepen connections. Suzanna holds a BA in Communications from Bethel College, North Newton, and an MA in Theater and Dramatic Arts from Wichita State University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 100,691 times.

Texting someone new can feel a little tricky. You want to get to know them and show them a little about who you are, but you don't want to seem like you're trying too hard. Luckily, you don't have to overthink things. We're here with plenty of tips that will help you get a conversation going!

Tell them who you are the first time you text.

Include your name and how you met.

  • For instance, you might say, "Hey, this is Leah from the gym earlier!"
  • Or, you could say, "Hi Jim, this is Chris from work!

Bring up a shared interest.

Think back to a previous conversation or look at their profile.

  • If their profile has a picture of them with their dog, you could say something like, "What's your dog's name? I have a lab named Max!"
  • You might also say something along the lines of, "I remember you said you were into skiing. I'm going with some friends this weekend. Do you have any tips?"

Open with part of a story to get them interested.

Leave them wondering what you're going to say next.

  • "Okay you're going to laugh at me but I have to tell you what I did..."
  • "The craziest thing just happened to me!"
  • "Well, my morning just took an interesting turn."
  • "Please tell me you heard about..."

Give them a compliment.

Make the other person feel good early on.

  • Keep it simple and sweet by saying something like, "I really enjoyed meeting you!"
  • You could also say something like, "You seem really cool. We should hang out again soon!"
  • Or, you could make it more specific by saying something like, "You have an awesome sense of humor. I'm still laughing at your joke about the turtle!"

Ask for a recommendation.

Show them you value their opinion.

  • For instance, if you noticed that the person you're talking to is a really sharp dresser, you might send them a picture of two shirts and say, "Which one do you think I should wear to my interview?"
  • If their profile says they love to cook, you could say, "I'm having friends over to grill tomorrow, do you have any awesome tips for cooking steak?"

Send them a funny meme or GIF.

Try starting a conversation without saying anything at all.

  • For instance, if you're tired after a long day, you might send a GIF of someone collapsing on the floor. If you just want to say hi, you might send a clip of someone waving.

Share an interesting article.

Show the other person you paid attention to their interests.

  • If you like the same type of music, for instance, you might share a blog post where your favorite band announced a new tour.

Keep building on the conversation.

Try not to hop around from one topic to another.

  • If the person is talking about their day at work, you could ask a follow-up question, or you might share something about what you did that day.

Ask open-ended questions.

Give them a chance to elaborate on their answer.

  • Instead of saying, "Do you like pizza?" you might say, "What's your favorite pizza topping?"
  • Or, instead of saying, "Did you have a good day at work?" you could say, "What's your favorite thing about your job?"
  • Similarly, try to answer questions with a full sentence instead of just a one-word answer. [11] X Research source

Be lighthearted and fun.

Don't take yourself too seriously.

  • Try to avoid sarcasm—it doesn't usually translate well through text. In addition, avoid sensitive subjects like politics, religion, illness, sex, or finances. It's better to wait until you know someone better to talk about that stuff, and it's better to discuss them in person, anyway.

Take a break from texting if they aren't responding.

Respect the other person's time.

  • If they always respond to your texts with short answers, they might not be interested in texting you. That doesn't necessarily mean they don't like you, though—some people just don't like to text, and that's okay!

Sample Questions to Ask over Text

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

Expert Q&A

Suzanna Mathews

  • Emojis can be a fun way to spice up your texts, but don't go overboard—especially if you're texting someone you work with or a professional contact. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

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Struggling to Write a Wedding Speech? It’s All in the Details.

If you’ve been charged with saying a few words about the newlyweds, here are some tips to help ease your anxiety and inspire you to speak from the heart.

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

By Dina Gachman

Massive parties with 10-piece bands and champagne fountains gave way to backyard microweddings and Zoom celebrations during the pandemic. But one tradition has stayed strong, and even thrived, over the last year: the wedding speech.

Love them or hate them, “a speech gives people something to talk about, and it’s an amazing bonding juice,” says Heidi Ellert-McDermott, the founder of Speechy , a British company that creates bespoke speeches for weddings around the world. “It can really kick-start a party.”

Public speaking, whether it’s in front of 10 people or 100, can be intimidating, and if you’ve ever sat through a lengthy, cliché-riddled wedding speech, you know it’s not so easy to pull off a memorable toast.

“We’re all so acutely aware that no one has any idea what tomorrow will bring,” said Marisa Polansky, a founder of the Brooklyn-based speech writing service Speech Tank with Kristine Keller. “The fact that two people want to tackle that tomorrow together feels especially noteworthy. As such, there’s more pressure on speeches to bring a weightiness or gravitas to the event, I think. But it’s an opportunity, too.”

If you’ve been charged with saying a few words about the couple, there are a few things to remember that will help you ease your anxiety and inspire you to speak from the heart.

Ask Yourself ‘Why Me?’

If you’re staring at a blank page, take a step back and think about your relationship to the couple. “Start by asking yourself why you’re giving the speech,” said Tess Barker , 38, a Los Angeles-based comedian who has a “deep résumé as a bridesmaid.” Thinking about your relationship to the couple can help you focus on memories you share, and remind you that you’re not giving a State of the Union address — you’re simply speaking to someone you care about.

Don’t Do It Alone

There’s a tendency to think of the speech-writing process as something solitary, but Speechy’s Ms. Ellert-McDermott suggests making it a group effort. “Don’t confine it to this secret thing that has to be done in a dark room the night before when you’re panicking,” she said. Ms. Ellert-McDermott suggests inviting the couple or other friends to brainstorm with you. Gather stories or find out traits or quirks about the couple that other friends or family love.

Ditch the Thank Yous

Don’t start your speech by thanking the guests, the DJ, the florist, the parents, and the band. “Anyone who has listened to an Oscars acceptance speech knows that thank yous are boring,” Ms. Ellert-McDermott said. You can thank people individually, and instead center your speech on stories, humor and emotion. A quick, “Thanks for coming” won’t ruin a speech, but it shouldn’t be the focus.

Find a Theme

Instead of talking about everything there is to know about the couple , narrow it down by identifying a theme. “It will help you stay focused and not be too long-winded, and build an outline,” said Carla Eustache, 38, the owner of Style Perfect Events , which is based in Charlotte, N.C. Ms. Eustache said she has noticed an increase in speeches about resilience and perseverance since the pandemic, but your theme doesn’t have to be lofty. It can center on the bride’s obsession with finding the perfect taco, or the groom’s horrible singing voice. “If you can spot a theme in all the randomness, then that’s how it all comes together,” Ms. Ellert-McDermott said.

[ Sign up for Love Letter and always get the latest in Modern Love, weddings, and relationships in the news by email. ]

Cut the Clichés

It’s easy to panic and Google a wedding speech template, but cut-and-paste jobs rarely make memorable speeches. If you find yourself writing a string of clichés, toss your speech and get down to basics, said Jason Mitchell Kahn , a New York-based wedding planner and the author of “Getting Groomed: The Ultimate Wedding Planner For Gay Grooms.” “When a client comes to me,” he said, “we focus on three points to hit: how you met, what you loved about them before they met each other, and how you’ve seen their lives enriched as they’ve commingled.” Another tip: Don’t say things like “they’re perfect for each other,” because, as Ms. Ellert-McDermott said, “nobody’s perfect.” Also, try to avoid quotes. “We’ve never heard a good speech that started, ‘As Jane Austen once said,’” said Ms. Keller of Speech Tank.

Know Your Audience

The pandemic has caused many weddings to become smaller and more intimate, which means speeches can get more personal and casual. The key is to read the room, whether it’s virtual or in person. “Don’t talk about a wild night in Vegas on drugs,” Ms. Barker said. “Remember there might be grandparents there.” She also suggests addressing both of the newlyweds. “When someone just gushes over one of the parties, it can get awkward.” Another key to avoiding awkwardness is not leaving people out. “Inside jokes always fall flat,” Ms. Eustache added.

Keep It Short, and Speak Up

Longer doesn’t equal better. Most speech-writing experts suggest three to five minutes, tops. “No one ever gets upset if a speech is too short,” Ms. Keller said. Most experts also prefer holding a piece of paper to scrolling through a phone or device, since that can affect the flow of your speech. Leave the phone at the table, practice, memorize as much as you can, and don’t forget to breathe. With the popularity of outdoor weddings becoming a post-pandemic trend, Mr. Kahn offers another important tip: “Always have a microphone,” he said. “There’s nothing more frustrating than a good speech that people can’t hear.”

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook ( Styles and Modern Love ), Twitter ( Styles , Fashion and Weddings ) and Instagram .

Weddings Trends and Ideas

Vows: Worried about writing your own vows? Consider hiring a professional .

Marrying at Home : From stoops and staircases to backyards and balconies, couples are choosing the comforts of home as wedding locations .

Vendors: For many couples, working with businesses that share their values and support people from diverse backgrounds is an important part of the planning process .

Swimwear: Beaded and bedazzled, fancy and frilly, lacy and Lycra-fitted — bridal bikinis are here .

Weather Forecasts: Want to avoid a rainy ceremony? This expert can help .

Dress Shopping: As more brides seek personalized shopping experiences and distinctive designs, the bridal industry is shifting to accommodate their needs .

Wedding Night Sex:  If you fell asleep on the big night, don’t worry: You are in good company .

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100 Best How To Speech Topics & Ideas In 2023

how to topics

How to topics make students feel like experts. They also allow them to practice non-fiction writing. That’s because these topics require them to explain how a person can do something. It can be something simple like how to follow more topics on Pinterest or something complex like how to create a nuclear reactor.

When writing about how to essay topics, students should dissect processes from the beginning to the end. They should also include all the necessary information to enable the reader to achieve their desired results. Essentially, essays and speeches on these topics should guide readers into doing something successfully.

The Purpose of How To Speech Topics

Good how-to topics make learners more confident and competent nonfiction writers. Some students consider this as their writing genre. These topics describe how certain tasks are completed. Something good about this writing genre is that it allows learners to describe processes that they are familiar with.

This enables learners to focus on writing while enjoying the experience that’s enjoyed by experts. They also feel good about communicating something meaningful to their audiences. In most cases, students are asked to write how-to speeches. That means they have to choose how to topics for demonstration speech. And, this genre has many topics that students can choose from. Here are some of the major categories of how to speech ideas.

How To Speeches Topics for High School Students

Some high school teachers ask students to write speeches demonstrating how certain things are done. If you’ve been asked to write on such a topic, here are good how-to speech topics to choose from.

  • How to write an admission letter for university or college
  • How to remain safe in an unfamiliar or new environment
  • How to make new friends at a new college
  • How to choose a college or university
  • How to choose a study program
  • How to choose a career
  • How to choose the best game
  • How to become a public speaker
  • How to choose activities that improve self-esteem and confidence
  • How plants produce and use oxygen
  • How to put off something you don’t like without hurting others
  • How to prepare for a marathon or a long race
  • How to get a scholarship to study overseas
  • How to stay fit in high school
  • How to grow flowers indoors or in a garden
  • How to create something like a painting or building at home
  • How to prepare French fries at home
  • How to prepare for college
  • How to search for academic articles on the internet
  • How to prepare for a trip with family

These are great how-to speech topics that can earn top grades for high school students when researched and written properly. It’s, however, important that learners choose the topics they are familiar with and comfortable writing about.

How To Topics for Second Grade

Second grade is the time when children are developing writing skills. At this time, children start to express their opinions and recount narratives. They can also provide instructions in writing. Here are some of the best topics of how to teach writing to second-grade children. Asking second-grade children to write about these topics will engage them in writing and spark their creativity.

  • How to be kind to other people
  • How to make your birthday special and memorable
  • How to build a beautiful house
  • How to read a bedtime story
  • How to tell a story
  • How to make chocolate
  • How to play your favorite games
  • How to tie your shoes
  • How to keep a friend
  • How to take care of your pet
  • How to get a good school report card
  • How to make a friend
  • How to prepare for dinner
  • How to sharpen a pencil
  • How to blow bubbles
  • How to draw a picture
  • How to paint the best picture
  • How to tidy your room
  • How to tidy your desk
  • How to give a pet a bath

These are great how to presentation topics that can enable second-grade children to express their opinions with simple words and improve their writing skills.

How To Speeches Topics for College Students

College time provides a chance to sharpen writing skills. This is the place where students learn to research, analyze, organize, and present solid ideas. Here, students are expected to write on how to process speech topics that can be used to do something professionally.

Here are great how to demonstration speech topics community college students can choose from:

  • How to use a Smartphone to complete homework
  • How to avoid peer pressure
  • How to avoid recurring nightmares
  • How to write a great essay
  • How to write a research paper
  • How to look stylish and fashionable in college
  • How to choose a major
  • How to avoid procrastination in college
  • How to avoid stressful situations in college
  • How to finish Aleks topics fast
  • How to study for exams
  • How to write a great film review
  • How to start a business after college
  • How to improve your writing skills
  • How to improve your public speaking skills
  • How to enhance your leadership skills
  • How to survive a recession
  • How to start an online business
  • How to avoid drug addiction in college
  • How to learn a second language in college

These are also amazing how to topics for speech or presentation. However, they should be researched properly to come up with informative pieces.

Topics for How To Speech for University

Maybe you’ve been asked to write a speech and present it to demonstrate how to do something. Here are amazing how to process speech topics that you can choose from.

  • How to survive a pandemic
  • How to introduce a topic for an essay
  • How to write a narrative essay
  • How to choose an essay topic
  • How to devise a lesson plan for teaching preschool children
  • How to campaign for a leadership position
  • How to search for academic journals on the internet
  • How to write a book review
  • How to research a topic before writing a paper
  • How to effectively manage finances and save money
  • How to perform a qualitative study using people as your subjects
  • How to avoid stress in the workplace
  • How to start and run an online cosmetic business
  • How to stay fit during a pandemic
  • How to prepare for a new job
  • How to prepare for an interview
  • How to install new software on a laptop or desktop computer
  • How to stay fit without skipping essential meals

Funny How To Topics

Perhaps, you want to write the most interesting speech or essay. In that case, consider the following topics.

  • How to fail exams easily
  • How to become the best in procrastination
  • How to look more intelligent
  • How to use hobbies to judge others
  • How to catch a liar
  • How to persuade your parents to do homework for you
  • How to use the horoscope to explain failures
  • How to boost your IQ by playing computer games
  • How to convince your friends to pay your bills
  • How to determine the intelligence level of your pet
  • How to teach your pet to talk
  • How to become the most annoying person in your school
  • How to make your parents accommodate you when you are already 30 years old
  • How to ensure that your parents do not spend a lot of time on social media
  • How to make your first date a total failure
  • How to be the happiest person in your family
  • How to make your girlfriend or boyfriend love you forever
  • How to make other people hate you
  • How to make people love you
  • How to push an annoying person away

Every student knows how it feels to walk into hot topics. If you don’t want to struggle to search for the information required to write an essay or a speech, consider topics in this category. Ask our thesis writers to help you, if you cannot make your choice.

Choosing topics in this genre can mark the beginning of the nonfiction writing journey for most students. Nevertheless, learners should know how to come up with story ideas and research them properly to come up with informative, solid essays or speeches.

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Don’t Know What to Say? How to Know What to Talk About

Scientifically reviewed by Viktor Sander B.Sc., B.A.

Don’t Know What to Say? How to Know What to Talk About

But over the years, I’ve learned exactly what to do whenever I find myself thinking, “I don’t know what to say. ”

First of all: If you’re wondering, “Is it normal to have nothing to talk about?” the answer is “YES!” I used to have similar worries, and I believed there was something wrong with me.

It turned out that I simply needed to learn some strategies to deal with those moments when my mind goes blank. You see, social skills aren’t something we’re born with. They’re just that: skills. They can be practiced and improved.

Here are my tricks for how to know what to say, even when you don’t know what to say.

1. Memorize some universal questions

“I don’t know what to do after I say hello. What do I say to open a conversation?”

When you’ve just met someone, you need to make small talk. Think of small talk as a warm-up exercise that paves the way for more interesting discussions later on. But how do you start a conversation?

These are the questions I always have in the back of my head, ready to go whenever I need something to say. (Just knowing they are there as a safety net makes me feel more relaxed.)

Don’t fire them off all at once. Use them when a topic dies out.

The questions:

  • “How do you know the other people here?”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • “What brings you here?”
  • “What do you do?”

(See my guide on how to start a conversation for more opening lines and advice on how to have more to say when chatting to new people.)

These questions are open, meaning that they encourage the other person to give a more in-depth answer than “Yes” or “No.”

Be careful not to flood the other person with questions. You don’t want to interrogate them. It’s important that you share an equal amount of information about yourself. This leads me to the next tip.

2. Switch between sharing and asking questions

“Why don’t I know what to say after someone replies to my questions? It’s hard for me to keep a conversation flowing without feeling as though I’m interrogating the other person.”

Ever come across someone who constantly asks questions? Annoying.

Or someone who NEVER asks questions? Self-absorbed.

For years, I wondered how to find a balance between talking about myself and asking questions.

We don’t want to constantly ask questions, nor do we want to constantly talk about ourselves. The IFR method is all about finding that balance. Here it is:

Inquire: Ask a sincere question.

Follow up: Ask a follow-up question.

Relate: Share something about yourself that relates to what the other person just said.

You can then repeat the sequence to keep the conversation going.

Here’s an example. The other day, I was talking to someone who turned out to be a filmmaker. Here’s how the conversation went:

Inquire: What kind of documentaries do you make?

She: Right now, I’m doing a movie on bodegas in New York City.

Follow up: Oh, interesting. What’s your takeaway so far?

She: That almost all bodegas seem to have cats!

Relate: Haha, I’ve noticed that. The one next to where I live has a cat who always sits on the counter.

And then I inquired again, repeating the IFR sequence:

Inquire: Are you a cat person?

Try to make the conversation go back and forth like that. The pattern goes like this: they talk a bit about themselves, we talk about ourselves, then we let them talk again, and so on.

Notice that when you use the IFR method, it’s easier to come up with things to say.

  • If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t know what to say” after you’ve asked someone a question, follow up on what you just asked.
  • If you don’t know what to say after you’ve asked a follow-up question, say something related to what you just asked.
  • If you don’t know what to say when you’ve related to someone’s answer, inquire about what you’ve just said.

3. Focus all your attention on the conversation

“I don’t know what to say in conversations because I get so worried about what the other person is thinking of me. How do you think of something to say when you’re in this situation?”

When therapists work with shy people, people with social anxiety, and others who completely lock up in conversations, they use a technique called Shift of Attentional Focus . They instruct their clients to focus all their attention on the conversation they’re having, rather than thinking about how they come across and what they should say next. [ 1 ]

(It’s hard, especially in the beginning, but gets surprisingly easy with some practice.)

Anxiety level depending on attentional focus

Participants who focused on the conversation rather than themselves felt less anxious. [ 2 ]

Here’s how to do this in practice:

Say that you ask someone how their week was. They reply, “I went to Paris with my friends last weekend. It was great!”

Here’s what I would have thought before I learned about this method:

“Oh, she’s been to Paris! I’ve never been there. She’ll probably think I’m boring. Should I tell her about that time I went to Thailand? No, that’s stupid. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!”

But if you use the Shift of Attentional Focus technique, you constantly move your thoughts back to the conversation.

Let’s REALLY focus on what she just said. What questions might we come up with to move the conversation forward?

  • What was Paris like?
  • How long was she there?
  • Is she jet-lagged?
  • How many friends did she go with?

You don’t have to fire off all these questions. The idea is to give the other person your full attention and let your natural curiosity come up with things to ask. You can then choose which questions would be most suitable for the conversation.

Reread her reply above and see if you can come up with even more questions.

4. Keep the conversation centered on the other person

Another thing you can do to come up with things to say is to stop trying to come up with conversation topics . I know this sounds weird, so let me show you what I mean.

Of course, if you’re already feeling nervous, it might not be so easy to just “relax and stop worrying about it.” But there’s a trick that you can try.

Shift the conversation over to the other person by asking sincere questions. This keeps the conversations going, and as it moves forward, you can throw in small facts about yourself that you feel comfortable sharing.

For example, if the topic of work comes up, you can ask basic questions like:

  • “Is your work stressful?”
  • “How well do you like your job?”
  • “What exactly do you do at your job?”
  • “What do you want to be doing in 5 years?”
  • “Is the company good to work for?”
  • “Why did you pick that career?”

These Why, What, How questions can be used in a conversation about any topic. Break up the questions by sharing a little bit about yourself every now and then, as I described in the IFR method section.

Here’s our guide for how to have a conversation without asking too many questions .

5. Jump back to a previous topic

“I don’t know how to respond when a conversation starts drying up. It feels really awkward and embarrassing. How do you talk when you have nothing to say?”

One of my favorite methods to know what to say is Conversational Threading . It’s not only helpful for continuing your conversations but also makes them more dynamic.

In short, Conversational Threading relies on the fact that your interactions don’t have to be linear .

For example, if you’ve exhausted the current topic, you can always jump back to something you’ve talked about earlier.

If your friend mentioned that they saw a movie last weekend, and then the conversation moves on to, say, work, and then the work topic dies out, you can say:

“By the way, you said that you saw a movie last weekend, was it good?”

Here’s a video that explains conversational threading with a real-world conversation:

6. View silence in conversations as something good

Often, I didn’t know what to say because:

  • There was a silence in the conversation.
  • I panicked and froze up.
  • I couldn’t come up with anything to say because I was nervous.

My friend, a coach and behavioral scientist, made me realize something powerful: Silence is not necessarily awkward .

I used to think that periods of silence in a conversation was always my fault and that I had to “fix it” somehow.

In reality, most conversations contain some silences or long pauses. We tend to interpret that silence as a negative sign, but it doesn’t mean the conversation is going badly. Rather than assuming the worst, use the moment to catch your breath and move forward from there.

A silence isn’t awkward until you start stressing out about it.

If you come off as relaxed about silences during a conversation, people around you will follow your lead. When you feel more relaxed, it’s easier to come up with the next thing to say.

Besides, it’s important to know that there can be many reasons for a break in a conversation.

Reasons like:

  • The other person is nervous too.
  • The conversation would benefit from a silent moment in which you can both breathe before carrying on.
  • One of you is having an off day and doesn’t feel like talking much, which is okay!

Remember this: As two people get to know each other, they are more comfortable sharing moments of silence.

LESSON LEARNED: Practice being comfortable with silence rather than trying to eliminate it. It takes the pressure off you and makes knowing what to say easier.

7. Challenge your inner critical voice

“I’m quiet because I don’t know what to say. It feels like everyone else is so much more socially skilled than me.”

Being a self-conscious introvert, I would often exaggerate and overdramatize social situations in my head.

I’d feel like people were judging me for “failing at having a good conversation” whenever I’d say something “stupid.” Sure, people do judge us based on what we say, as well as how we say it. But they probably don’t judge us half as harshly as we judge ourselves .

So don’t get stuck thinking about that one wrong thing you’ve said five minutes ago because even if the other person did notice it, they probably didn’t think anything of it.

In reality, most of our blunders go by completely unnoticed by others because they are often just as nervous and worried as we are about how they come across.

Changing your self-talk can make you more confident and believe more in yourself.

Changing Self-talk Improves Confidence

People who went through training aimed at changing the way they talked to themselves started believing more in themselves. [ 3 ]

Practice being realistic by doing the following:

  • Every day, remind yourself that everyone gets nervous. We all have moments when our negative thoughts take over, like “Argh, I can’t talk to people!” or “Why do I feel like I have nothing to say?”
  • Remind yourself that people care as little about your hiccups as you care about theirs.
  • Remember that just because you think that people will judge you negatively doesn’t mean that they will.
  • Realize that if you are naturally quiet, that’s fine. Being quiet is a normal personality trait, and there’s no need to force yourself to be more outgoing. However, if you want to learn how to be more talkative, read this guide on how to stop being quiet .

Identifying and challenging your inner critical voice can be really tricky on your own. Many therapists are experts at helping you identify and overcome your inner critic.

We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy, since they offer unlimited messaging and a weekly session, and are cheaper than going to a therapist's office.

Their plans start at $64 per week. If you use this link, you get 20% off your first month at BetterHelp + a $50 coupon valid for any SocialSelf course: Click here to learn more about BetterHelp .

(To receive your $50 SocialSelf coupon, sign up with our link. Then, email BetterHelp’s order confirmation to us to receive your personal code. You can use this code for any of our courses.)

8. Know that it’s OK to make obvious statements

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do you hold a good conversation?” you might have thought, “By making other people think I’m really fascinating and witty!” But when I made friends with socially skilled people, they taught me something fundamental about what to say:

What you say doesn’t need to be thoughtful, interesting, or make you appear smart.

When people hang out with you, they usually want to have a good time. They want to relax and enjoy themselves. People DON’T want a constant stream of thought-provoking clever remarks. If you attempt to sound smart all the time, they may think you are a try-hard or simply annoying.

Often, small talk is just fine. Have you EVER judged someone for saying something too simple? I’m guessing not. So why would anyone judge you?

Stop trying to say smart things all the time. (You can say smart things when they naturally pop into your head, but you don’t need to force them.)

My friend Andreas, for example, is great in social settings. He’s also a member of Mensa with an IQ of 145. When he talks to people, he says things like:

  • “I love the weather right now.”
  • “Look at the tree over there, it’s so nice.”
  • “That car looks cool!”

He doesn’t come off as smart for saying smart things, but for being socially savvy.

LESSON LEARNED: When you stop trying to say smart things, it’s easier to know what to say because you take the pressure off yourself. Say what you want to say, and don’t filter yourself too much.

9. Comment on something around you

If you want to know how to always have something to talk about, simply look around you!

Looking around my workplace right now, I can see a bunch of stuff that could inspire statements, which in turn could start a conversation.

For example:

  • “I like those plants.”
  • “This is nice music. What band is it?”
  • “I like that painting.”

Here’s an exercise you can do right now: Look around you. What can you see? What kind of statements could you make to get a conversation started?

10. Ask follow-up questions

Dare to dig deeper into topics you find interesting. Don’t be afraid to move beyond surface-level questions. (Make sure you share something about yourself in between the questions so that the other person doesn’t think you’re a spy.)

How do you know when to dig in? By listening carefully!

Here are some signs you should go beyond surface-level questions and dig more deeply:

  • The other person keeps subtly steering the conversation back to the topic.
  • You feel a genuine desire to learn more about the topic.
  • You know that asking questions about the topic would lead to a conversation that involves sharing feelings or opinions.

Let’s say that someone told you that they work as a golf trainer.

You can dig deeper by asking:

  • “What’s it like to work as a golf trainer?”
  • “What type of clients do you have?”
  • “What made you decide to be a golf trainer in the first place?”

Naturally, you would take a break between questions to share something about yourself.

Digging deeper also helps you uncover commonalities. Talking about what you have in common will make the conversation more enjoyable for both of you.

11. Give simple, sincere responses when someone shares a sad story or upsetting news

No guide can tell you how to always know what to say in every type of difficult conversation.

However, it helps to stay calm, show empathy, listen carefully, and offer emotional support if it’s appropriate.

For example, if someone tells you that a close relative has died, you could say:

  • “It sounds like you’ve been through a terrible time.”
  • “I’m so sorry. It’s really hard to lose a loved one.”

If you know the other person well, you can add, “I’m here to listen if you want to talk.”

Make sure your body language matches your words. Maintaining eye contact, nodding slightly, and speaking in a steady tone of voice signals that you care about the other person.

Do not make trivializing comments like “Everything happens for a reason,” because you will come across as insensitive.

It’s OK to say, “I just need a moment to process that” if their news is particularly shocking.

12. Remember “F.O.R.D.” when you run out of things to say

F.O.R.D. stands for:

This acronym is useful because these topics are relevant to everyone. Even if someone doesn’t have a job or hobbies, you can ask them what they’d like to do.

You can start with a couple of simple, fact-based questions and then dig deeper to learn more about the person you’re talking to.

  • “What do you do for a living?” is a surface-level “Occupation” question.
  • “What’s your favorite part of your job?” is slightly more meaningful and encourages them to provide more details.
  • “It sounds like you’ve had a great career so far. Is it everything you hoped it would be?” is much more personal and could move the conversation to a discussion about hopes and dreams.

13. Do some background research before going to a social event

Thinking of questions and conversation topics in advance of a social occasion can make it much easier to know what to say.

For example, let’s say that you have a friend who works for an architecture firm. They have invited you to dinner, along with two of their architect colleagues who you have never met before.

It’s very likely that these two people will be happy to talk about design, architecture, buildings, and art in general. With this in mind, you could prepare questions like:

  • “Who’s your biggest design inspiration?”
  • “What city do you think has the best architecture?”
  • “I’m taking a trip to Italy next year. Which buildings should I make time to see?”

Memorizing a few questions can make the conversation a lot smoother.

14. Try the echo technique when a conversation starts to flag and you don’t know what to say

Even if someone is giving you very short, minimal answers, there’s a quick trick you can use to keep the conversation alive.

Try this: Simply repeat the last part of their response using an inquisitive tone of voice.

You: “What was the best part of your vacation?”

Them: “Probably when I went scuba diving.”

You: “Cool. Do you go diving a lot, or was it a new experience?”

Them: “It was kind of a new experience, but also not.”

You [Echoing]: “Also not?”

Them: “Yeah well, I mean I did try diving once a long time ago, but it hardly counted because I only spent 10 minutes in the water. What happened was…”

  • Hazen, R. A., Vasey, M. W., & Schmidt, N. B. (2009). Attentional retraining: A randomized clinical trial for pathological worry . Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43 (6), 627–633.
  • Zou, J. B., Hudson, J. L., & Rapee, R. M. (2007). The effect of attentional focus on social anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(10), 2326–2333. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.03.014
  • Cooper, K. M., Hendrix, T., Stephens, M. D., Cala, J. M., Mahrer, K., Krieg, A., … Brownell, S. E. (2018). To be funny or not to be funny: Gender differences in student perceptions of instructor humor in college science courses. PLOS ONE, 13(8), e0201258. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201258 

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

David Morin is the founder of SocialSelf. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more .

How To Keep A Conversation Going (With Examples)

How To Keep A Conversation Going (With Examples)

How to Never Run Out of Things to Say (If You Blank Out)

How to Never Run Out of Things to Say (If You Blank Out)

How to Stop Being Quiet (When You’re Stuck in Your Head)

How to Stop Being Quiet (When You’re Stuck in Your Head)

Don’t Know What to Say? How to Know What to Talk About

How To Be More Talkative (If You’re Not a Big Talker)

My big issue is trying to care about what the other person is saying. Honestly, I’m the only person on the planet I care about and I really just don’t want to hear what other people say. My total lack of care for what other people say has resulted in me walking away in the middle of somebody else’s sentence pretty much every time I’m forced to talk to strangers in public. And I didn’t even realize they were talking until they got upset with me for walking away in the middle of a sentence.

interesting and I would like to be less talkative, speak less or not to speak at all most of the time. thank you

what to do if the other person is introverted

I really love this article and gave it to one of the members of a community I lead to help her learn to actually reciprocate in conversation. Is there a way to view this site without all the ads? They really distract from the really brilliant message you share and I Think it would be worth a membership or something if I could get it ad free.

and if you have to talk to them everyday OR every week then you are DOOMED!!

the intro conversations, the greetings are easy. After that you go blank then you are DOOMED!!

That can be so tough! Maybe this guide we wrote can help you, on how to keep the conversation going:

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Notify me when someone responds to my comment.

To get advice relevant to you, choose below:

What is your relationship status, how would you describe your social skills, what statement best describes you, how motivated are you to deepen your friendships, how motivated are you to find like-minded friends, do you agree with this statement “i want to be more likable”, do you agree with this statement “i want to be more interesting to talk to”, do you agree with this statement “i want to be less awkward”, what best describes you, responses successfully analyzed, where should we send your personalized tips.

how to write a speech about someone you don't know

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Inheritance tax & insurance, eulogy writing guide, funeral speeches for a work colleague, tribute speech to dad from daughter, best friend funeral speech examples, funeral speech writing advice, how to write a eulogy for someone you dont know.

  • June 16, 2023


How To Write A Eulogy For Someone You Dont Know Table of Contents

Gather information about the deceased, focus on the impact they had on the lives of those who knew them, organise the information into a coherent structure, include encouraging and comforting words to the grieving family and friends, practice your speech.

Losing someone we love is difficult, but eulogising someone you didn't know can be even more challenging. Writing a eulogy for someone you didn't know comes with a sense of responsibility and can feel daunting. Yet, it's important to find the right words to express your heartfelt respect and honour their memory in a meaningful way.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a thoughtful, genuine eulogy for someone you didn't necessarily have a personal relationship with. By following these steps and learning how to listen to the stories of those who knew the deceased best, you can craft a eulogy that pays tribute to their life and achievements.

  • Speak to family members and friends who knew the person well. Ask them for stories, anecdotes, and any defining moments they remember that would help shape your speech.
  • Learn about the person's background, including their occupation, achievements, hobbies, interests, and any organisations or groups they participated in.
  • Talk to friends, family, and co-workers about how the deceased affected their lives and the memories they will cherish.
  • Highlight any lasting impacts they had on their community, workplace, or other spheres of life.
  • Create an outline that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. This will help to keep your eulogy organised and easy to follow.
  • In the introduction, briefly mention their name and relationship to the audience, and explain your intent to honour their life and legacy.
  • In the body, share the stories and insights you've gathered in a way that captures their unique personality and the positive aspects of their life.
  • Conclude by expressing your hope that the deceased's memory will live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew them and encouraging others to share their stories as well.
  • Offer sympathy and support to the family during this difficult time.
  • Emphasise the strength and unity of the community in supporting one another through grief.
  • Give yourself ample time to keep refining your eulogy and practice so you feel confident and comfortable when delivering it.
  • Rehearse in front of someone who is familiar with the deceased and can offer constructive feedback.

How To Write A eulogy For Someone You Dont Know Example:

An example eulogy for someone you didn't know


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Good afternoon. My name is [Your Name], and although I did not have the privilege of knowing [Deceased's Name] personally, I am honoured to be here today to share a few words in memory of their life, achievements, and the lasting impact they had on those who knew and loved them.

[Deceased's Name] was a talented musician, and during their time with us, they brought joy and inspiration to the lives of those around them. Many people here today have shared stories of their kindness, warmth, and willingness to support anyone who had the good fortune of knowing them.

In speaking with family, friends and coworkers, a recurring theme emerges – that [Deceased's Name] was a tireless worker who dedicated their time, energy, and passion towards creating a better community for everyone. Their involvement with local charities, school events, and volunteering their expertise whenever needed speaks volumes about their character.

As we remember [Deceased's Name] today, it's important to honour the legacy they've left behind and to find comfort in the knowledge that our lives have been enriched by their presence. Let us all keep the memory of [Deceased's Name] alive and well, by sharing our own stories and experiences. In this way, their spirit will continue to touch our hearts and inspire us to live our lives with passion, kindness, and empathy.

Writing a eulogy for someone you didn't know is a challenging task, but by taking the time to gather information and listen to the stories and insights of those who knew them best, you can create a heartfelt and genuine tribute. Though you didn't know the person directly, your words can offer comfort to the grieving family and friends and honour the legacy of the deceased. Take comfort in the fact that your dedication and effort will be appreciated by all. If you found this guide helpful and would like to share or explore other eulogy writing resources, be sure to check out eulogy Assistant.

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November 15, 2023

How Does Your Brain Remember and Retrieve Words?

Here's a look at how the brain uses its mental dictionary to remember and retrieve language

By The Conversation & Nichol Castro

Illustration of head and upper torso in white with a circle of random letters in white circling

Your brain processes letters, words, sounds, semantics and grammar at breakneck speed.

StudioM1/Getty Images

The days of having a dictionary on your bookshelf are numbered. But that’s OK, because everyone already walks around with a dictionary – not the one on your phone, but the one in your head.

Just like a physical dictionary, your  mental dictionary  contains information about words. This includes the letters, sounds and meaning, or semantics, of words, as well as information about parts of speech and how you can fit words together to form grammatical sentences. Your mental dictionary is also like a thesaurus. It can help you connect words and see how they might be similar in meaning, sound or spelling.

As a  researcher who studies word retrieval , or how you quickly and accurately pull words out of your memory to communicate, I’m intrigued by how words are organized in our mental dictionaries. Everyone’s mental dictionary is a little bit different. And I’m even more intrigued by how we can restore the content of our mental dictionaries or improve our use of them, particularly for those who have language disorders.

Language is part of  what makes humans special , and I believe everyone deserves the chance to use their words with others.

Your mental dictionary

While a physical dictionary is helpful for shared knowledge, your personal mental dictionary is customized based on your individual experiences. What words are in my mental dictionary might overlap with the mental dictionary of someone else who also speaks the same language, but there will also be a lot of differences between the content of our dictionaries.

You add words to your mental dictionary through your educational, occupational, cultural and other life experiences. This customization also means that the size of mental dictionaries is a little bit different from person to person and varies by age. Researchers found that the  average 20-year-old American English speaker  knows about 42,000 unique words, and this number grows to about 48,000 by age 60. Some people will have even larger vocabularies.

By now, you might be envisioning your mental dictionary as a book with pages of words in alphabetical order you can flip through as needed. While this visual analogy is helpful, there is a lot of debate about how mental dictionaries are organized. Many scholars agree that it’s probably not like an alphabetized book.

One widely rejected theory, the  grandmother cell theory , suggests that each concept is encoded by a single neuron. This implies that you would have a neuron for every word that you know, including “grandmother.”

While not accepted as accurate, the aspect of the grandmother cell theory suggesting that certain parts of the brain are more important for some types of information than others is likely true. For example, the  left temporal lobe  on the side of your brain has many regions that are important for language processing, including word retrieval and production. Rather than a single neuron responsible for processing a concept, a model called  parallel distributed processing  proposes that large networks of neurons across the brain work together to bring about word knowledge when they fire together.

For example, when I say the word “dog,” there are lots of different aspects of the word that your brain is retrieving, even if unconsciously. You might be thinking about what a dog smells like after being out in the rain, what a dog sounds like when it barks, or what a dog feels like when you pet it. You might be thinking about a specific dog you grew up with, or you might have a variety of emotions about dogs based on your past experiences with them. All of these different features of “dog” are processed in slightly different parts of your brain.

Using your mental dictionary

One reason why your mental dictionary can’t be like a physical dictionary is that it is  dynamic and quickly accessed .

Your brain’s ability to retrieve a word is very fast. In one study, researchers mapped the  time course of word retrieval  among 24 college students by recording their brain activity while they named pictures. They found evidence that participants selected words within 200 milliseconds of seeing the image. After word selection, their brain continued to process information about that word, like what sounds are needed to say that chosen word and ignoring related words. This is why you can retrieve words with such speed in real-time conversations, often so quickly that you give little conscious attention to that process.

Until … you have a breakdown in word retrieval. One common failure in word retrieval is called the  tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon . It’s the feeling when you know what word you want to use but are unable to find it in that moment. You might even know specific details about the word you want, like other words with similar meaning or maybe the first letter or sound of that word. With enough time, the word you wanted might pop into your mind.

These tip-of-the-tongue experiences are a normal part of human language experience across the life span, and they increase as you grow older. One proposed reason for this increase is that they’re due to an  age-related disruption  in the ability to turn on the right sounds needed to say the selected word.

For some people, though, tip-of-the-tongue experiences and other speech errors can be quite impairing. This is commonly seen in  aphasia, a language disorder  that often occurs after injury to the language centers of the brain, such as stroke, or neurodegeneration, such as dementia. People with aphasia often have difficulty with word retrieval.

Fortunately, there are  treatments available  that can help someone improve their word retrieval abilities. For example,  semantic feature analysis  focuses on strengthening the semantic relationships between words. There are also treatments like  phonomotor treatment  that focus on strengthening the selection and production of speech sounds needed for word production. There are even  apps that remotely provide  word retrieval therapy on phones or computers.

The next time you have a conversation with someone, take a moment to reflect on why you chose the specific words you did. Remember that the words you use and the mental dictionary you have are part of what make you and your voice unique.

This article was originally published on  The Conversation . Read the  original article .


  1. Speech Writing

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    how to write a speech about someone you don't know

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    how to write a speech about someone you don't know

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    how to write a speech about someone you don't know

  6. 23+ Sample Speech Examples

    how to write a speech about someone you don't know


  1. How to write a speech about someone

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  4. How to Write a Speech FAST! Public Speaking Tips

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  1. Advice for doing a best man speech for someone you hardly know?

    :) posted by iheijoushin to Human Relations (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite Be vague. Just talk about marriage in general and express your wishes for the couple's happiness. Don't go for humor, just be sincere and pedestrian. It's two minutes. You can do two minutes.

  2. How To Write a Speech About Someone Else

    08 Jan 2022 Quick Navigation ️A Speech About Famous Person ☝️A Speech About Someone You Know Make Your Speech Excellent Students are often asked to write a speech about other people. You can be assigned to talk about your friend, relative, teacher, or famous person.

  3. Here's How to Write a Perfect Speech

    Joanna Cutrara Updated on May 22, 2019 Writing Tips Writing a speech isn't all that different than writing for other mediums. You need to know your audience, the required length, and the purpose or topic. This is true whether your speech is for a business conference, a wedding, a school project, or any other scenario.

  4. How to Write a Speech About Someone Else: Creative Ways

    Reflecting on your first memories or special occasions with them Praising their qualities that impress you the most Paying respects to their achievements Telling the audience about the influence that person had on you or other people, etc. No speech on people should be limited to one of these four tips.

  5. How to Write a Good Speech: 10 Steps and Tips

    Create an outline: Develop a clear outline that includes the introduction, main points, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Share this outline with the speaker for their input and approval. Write in the speaker's voice: While crafting the speech, maintain the speaker's voice and style.

  6. How to write a good speech [7 easily followed steps]

    How to write a speech How to write a good speech in 7 steps By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 09-11-2022 - an easily followed format for writing a great speech Did you know writing a speech doesn't have be an anxious, nail biting experience? Unsure? Don't be. You may have lived with the idea you were never good with words for a long time.

  7. 26 Ways To Start a Speech and Capture People's Attention

    4. Ask a survey question. Another effective method for starting your speech is to ask a question. You might ask a literal question and have the audience answer by a show of hands or calling out answers. This can encourage audience involvement and engagement in your speech. 5. Pose a problem.

  8. How to Write a Speech: Top Tips

    Many people don't know how to write a speech, so the process seems daunting. But there are a few best practices and tips that can make the writing process easier. In this article, we'll discuss some best practices to help you write an effective speech that engages and captures your audience. 9 Engaging Speech Writing Tips

  9. Small Talk: The Best and Worst Things to Talk About

    Small talk topics are good conversation starters between people who don't know each other well. If you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), making small talk can be anxiety-provoking. It can also be difficult if you tend to be more introverted.

  10. How To Write a Speech Everyone Will Remember

    1. Keep it short & sweet. One of the best markers of a good speech is that it ends before people get antsy. 2. Don't make it about you. You may have everyone's attention, but keep the spotlight where it belongs—on the audience. 3. Practice, practice, practice.

  11. How to Write a Speech: 6 Tips for a Powerful Address

    Second Part: Describes a possible solution or set of solutions. Third Part: Summarizes how the solutions will solve the problem. 3. Write in the same tone as you speak. One of the most important public speaking tips is to remember that you are writing something that you will be speaking out loud for people to hear.

  12. How to Write a Good Speech About a Person in Your Life

    Fill out your outline. Engage the audience from the start. Tell a story or a joke or describe the person in the introduction; or begin by speaking about values and show how this person demonstrates those values. Use a sentence or phrase to let the introduction flow into the body of the speech. In conclusion, encourage the audience to imitate ...

  13. Writing a speech

    Using powerful language. The language used in a speech should be interesting for the listeners. The acronym A FOREST is an easy way to make sure your language is powerful. It stands for: T ...

  14. 9 Ways To Kick Off A Conversation With Someone You Don't Know

    Share to Linkedin. Prepared sentence starters can help you kick off any conversation. getty. The holidays can be a time of celebration and relaxation, but they can also induce feelings of anxiety ...

  15. How to Write a Speech for Someone Else

    For example, if it is a commencement speech, ask the speaker about their experience in school and getting out into the "real" world for the first time. Make sure the stories connect well with the subject and main point of the speech. 3. Research the facts. For some speeches, you will need to learn more about the topic.

  16. How to write a speaker intro or bio or introduce someone

    The best way to introduce a speaker, and pro tips for when you have to provide or write your own introduction. Public Speaking Coach Marianna gives you easy, straightforward methods for both.

  17. How to Start a Conversation with Someone You Don't Know over Text

    Try to stay generally positive, clever, and funny when you're texting. [12] Everything doesn't have to be a joke, but if your attitude is generally upbeat, you'll be more likely to keep the other person engaged in what you're talking about. [13] Try to avoid sarcasm—it doesn't usually translate well through text.

  18. Struggling to Write a Wedding Speech? It's All in the Details

    Keep It Short, and Speak Up. Longer doesn't equal better. Most speech-writing experts suggest three to five minutes, tops. "No one ever gets upset if a speech is too short," Ms. Keller said ...

  19. Top 100 How To Speech Topics & Ideas for Your Speeches

    How to draw a picture. How to paint the best picture. How to tidy your room. How to tidy your desk. How to give a pet a bath. These are great how to presentation topics that can enable second-grade children to express their opinions with simple words and improve their writing skills.

  20. Tips on writing to someone you don't know

    If you are typing your letter, perhaps use a handwriting-style font. We have very few Don'ts - we ask you don't give cancer advice as everyone's experience is personal. Please don't talk about religion as we don't know the faith of the recipient. And please don't write Get Well Soon, as we never know the prognosis of the recipient.

  21. Don't Know What to Say? How to Know What to Talk About

    Here are my tricks for how to know what to say, even when you don't know what to say. 1. Memorize some universal questions "I don't know what to do after I say hello. What do I say to open a conversation?" When you've just met someone, you need to make small talk. Think of small talk as a warm-up exercise that paves the way for more ...

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  23. How To Write A Eulogy For Someone You Dont Know

    In the introduction, briefly mention their name and relationship to the audience, and explain your intent to honour their life and legacy. In the body, share the stories and insights you've gathered in a way that captures their unique personality and the positive aspects of their life.

  24. How Does Your Brain Remember and Retrieve Words?

    Using your mental dictionary. One reason why your mental dictionary can't be like a physical dictionary is that it is dynamic and quickly accessed. Your brain's ability to retrieve a word is ...

  25. Farewell speech to a colleague whom I do not know well

    All of those who are around longer than you and the retiring college knows that you both don't have much work experience together. Keep it that way, keep it simple. "Unfortunately we did not get much chance to work together, but they were surely an asset to the company and will be missed thoroughly. All the best for the next round of your life.