wikiHow to Write a Speech for Someone Else

One Methods:Sample Speeches

Writing a speech for someone else can be challenging. 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.


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    Understand what ghostwriting is. The point of using a ghostwriter is to help someone communicate clearly and effectively who otherwise doesn't have the time to write his own speech or isn't as skilled or talented at writing a speech as the writer they contract to help them is.
    • When you write a speech for someone else, there is usually a strong partnership with the speaker. The speaker often provides the topic and main points for the speech, then the two must work together to create a strong speech.
    • The speech writer helps the speaker find the right words to communicate the message in an effective way. They are the wordsmiths for the speaker's ideas.
    • The speaker approves the speech before presenting it, and works with the speech writer to make sure it is written in a way that is natural for them.
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    Decide what is and is not ethical for you. People who write a speech for someone else must determine where the boundaries are. Some people feel that ghostwriting is entirely unethical and should not be done. Ghostwriting in the academic arena is often viewed as plagiarism. Others feel that it is okay under certain circumstances, like when politicians or business leaders must present multiple speeches a day, on top of their other responsibilities.
    • Identify ghostwriting that you will or will not do for a friend or client. Also identify situations where you believe people should write their own speech, or where you believe it's a viable reason to have someone else write it. Knowing where you stand on the ethics of speech writing will make it easier to accept or decline requests for your writing services.
    • Determine how much work you will do on your own, versus working with your friend or client. Some ghostwriters start with drafts written by the speaker; others write the entire speech.
    • Decide if you want to have the speaker approve the speech. This allows them to read it, talk through potential trouble areas, and make any changes before actually presenting the speech.
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    Get to know the person for whom you are writing. If this is a close friend, you should already have a good feel for their personality, values, and beliefs. If not, interview the person to learn more about them and to research and detect their speech patterns.
    • Ask some personal questions. This information will probably not end up in the speech, but it helps you understand what stirs the speaker's heart and what made them who they are today.
    • Listen to them talk. Note specific phrases or words they use, as well as where they place the emphasis in sentences. You will want to mimic these things when you ghostwrite the speech.
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    Ask the person what they want to communicate. This provides the basic material for the speech. It also helps you know their viewpoint and beliefs about the situation.
    • Identify the goal of the speech. Know what the speaker hopes to accomplish.
    • 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.
    • Examples or stories will help flesh out the main points. Ask for personal stories or examples the speaker would be willing to share. Also try to identify examples with which the audience would connect.
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    Get details about the speech. Find out how long it needs to be, where it will be given, who the speaker will be addressing, and any other relevant details. As you ghostwrite, keep these details in mind.
    • Learn about the audience. See if the speaker has a personal relationship with the group he'll be addressing or if this is a group of strangers. Identify their backgrounds, values, family situations, and anything else that will help you tailor the speech to this particular group.
    • Know the setting. Presenting a speech to a small group of colleagues is different than giving a speech to a large auditorium full of people. It affects how fast the speaker can talk, the volume at which he must talk, if he needs to hold a microphone or not, and how much lighting will be available.
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    Research. For some speeches, you will need to learn more about the topic. Take the time to research it, to learn the language associated with it, and understand the facts. Not everything you read will make it into the speech, but it creates a solid foundation for you to build on.
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    Write the speech. Practice basic speech presentation skills as you ghostwrite. The speech should be memorable and easy to follow along. Most importantly, it needs to be a reflection of the speaker, not you.
    • Get the audience's attention quickly.
    • 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.
    • Keep it brief. Stay well within the time limit that the speaker gave you, and limit the amount of information you include.
    • Maintain a strong focus on the big ideas. Use repetition.
    • Reflect the person's speaking style. Mimic their language, phrasing, and emphasis.
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    Ask the speaker to approve it. The person giving the speech needs to be on board with what you wrote. If there is anything they do not agree with or that does not seem natural for them, work with them to make it right.

Sample Speeches

Sample Political Speech

Sample High School President Speech

Sample Class Speech

Sample Encouraging Speech

Sample Orientation Speech

Sample Informative Speech

Article Info

Categories: Speechwriting