2.5- Structures and Strategies

In preparation for our upcoming seminar delivery, the class has spent time discussing how they might approach the writing of their speeches on a structural level. Below is a summary of the discussions we have been having and some of the approaches the class has decided they may like to try.

Structure One

Hook: an interesting/engaging opening to the seminar. Many speakers use an anecdote, analogy, a prop, controversial statements, the information bombard, audience conversation or command, summary of a credible source’s experience, quotations and the extremely well worn rhetorical question. The hook can be anything that settles the audience into your speech and piques their interest. Challenge: get inventive!

The Overview (introduction): once you have them hooked, you need to reel them in. The audience needs to feel that you are a credible source of information on the topic you have selected before you begin to pull it apart. Delivering information on the ‘big picture’ is important in this section of your speech. Use the “w” (who, what, when, where, why) questions as a base and build up from there.

Perspective One: There are several things to think about before you begin developing your first perspective.

  1. Narrative POV: We have discussed that when teaching or delivering information, you usually use a third-person narrative perspective, however, there is room to ‘role play’ in a seminar and take on different personas for each perspective (first-person narrative voice). This is something that is only encouraged if you have discussed the suitability of this style with your teacher first.
  2. Tone: decide on the atmosphere that suits your topic. Look to develop a distinct tone for the perspective that fits with the way it is positioned around the overall idea of your speech. When teaching, some people are stern and serious (lecture style), other’s are more light-hearted and conversational. You need to ensure that the language effects and choices you make develop a consistent tone.
  3. Again, use the ‘w’ questions as the foundation of this section of your seminar. Be sure to logically build onto these. Facts, stats, research, anecdotes and analogies will be useful written here.
  4. Ensure you know your audience and deliver the information in a manner that is accessible and stimulating for them.

Once you have done so, you can begin explaining your first perspective. Think of this as a body paragraph of an essay.

Perspective Two: keep in mind that you need to have two distinct perspectives that look at your issue from two different angles. Check the task handout if you are unsure about this and make sure you run them past your teacher.

Your perspective: Once you have looked at both side of the story, you need to make your own judgements about your topic/issue. It may be that you side heavily with one particular point of view or that you sit somewhere in the middle. Whatever you believe is fine but you need to take your opportunity to discuss WHY you believe what you do.

Evaluation and concluding thoughts: This is your chance to evaluate the whole argument and discuss what implications, possible benefits or general emotions of society could look like. Looking at everything together, what can we learn from the information you have presented to us today. Should we heed a warning? Take action? Remember to leave us with your final thoughts on the matter.

Structure Two

We discussed how this would be set up much the same as the structure above but instead of moving through each perspective and evaluation individually, you could look at “main areas of clash” and discuss each perspective side by side.



Clash Point One: when approaching your speech in this manner, you need to know what the biggest areas of “clash” or disagreement exist within the argument. You introduce each point, present both sides perspectives on this one area and then move on to the next point of disagreement.

Your Perspective

Evaluation/Concluding thoughts

Posted by Renee Plunkett

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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