Question: Should a speech be long or short?

Answer: Speeches today seem to be growing shorter. Leave an audience wanting more rather than having had too much.

This speech is due: July 31st

Time limits: 3-4 minutes

Speaking notes: 10-word maximum limit. (Try speaking without them.)

Sources of information: Two are required, preferably three. For each source give the specific magazine or book it was taken from, title of the article, author’s full name, date of publication, and the chapter or pages telling where the material was found. If a source is a person, identify him completely by title, position, occupation, etc. List these on the outline form.

Outline your speech: Prepare a 75-100 word complete sentence outline. Designate the exact number of words in your outline. Use the form.


It is an accepted truth that people need to be stimulated or aroused if they are to be concerned about a proposition or problem that is laid before them. Often a speaker appeals to his audience to do something, to change their minds, to give consideration to an idea, but he does not stir them sufficiently to make them willing to be more than mildly interested. As a speaker it is to your advantage to learn the methods and approaches that cause audiences to be stimulated by speech. This assignment will provide an experience for the speech to arouse or stimulate so that you will be fully aware of the importance of this type of speech.


The speech to stimulate an audience is one that does just that – it stimulates. It makes people want to do something, perhaps generalized, to correct a problem , although a specific action may not be in mind. If its purpose is fulfilled, it touches the emotions and influences the intellect of the audience sufficiently that they feel impelled to adopt new attitudes and/or take action suggested by the speaker. The basic features of this speech are these: use of vivid language, obvious sincerity and enthusiasm on the part of the speaker, and appeals to basic drives that all persons possess. Much of the stimulation is achieved by utilizing catchy slogans, concreteness, specific examples, illustrations, and facts. Contrast is stressed by playing the big against the little, the bad against the good, the money that can be earned against that which will not be earned, the sick against the well.

Best known occasions for the speech to stimulate are anniversary memorials, dedications, commencement exercises, religious gatherings, conventions, rallies, pep meetings, sales promotions, and between-halves situations in which a coach arouses his men to a high pitch of fury accompanied by a will to win.

The speech demands that the speaker himself be aroused and vigorous. It calls for enthusiasm, energy, force, power, and spirit – the quantity and quality depending upon the response sought from the audience. But most of all it requires that the speaker be sincere.



Keep in mind that these topics are only suggested. They are intended to give you a few ideas so that you may make a selection from this group, or develop a topic of your own.

School anniversary

Memorial to a classmate

Dedication of a new athletic field, clubhouse, etc.

Any kind of commencement

Patriotic meeting

Religious gathering

Convention of any kind

Promotional meeting – sales, political sports

Rally of any kind

Any kind of campaign – Community Chest, Red Cross, Scouting, Salvation Army, election, etc.

Drugs – silent enemies

Political meeting

Rest homes

To gain a new school building or student union

Moral today

To gain support for the team

Inflation – our nation’s enemy

To secure a better social program for the school

To end terrorism

To decrease crime

To end political corruption

A call for peace

Speaker’s choice


Regardless of what kind of speech you present, it should always possess sincerity. Of all the many kinds of speeches there is none that demands sincerity from the speaker more than the speech that is intended to stimulate or arouse. Therefore, in choosing a topic from the above list or in formulating your own topic, place sincerity foremost in your thinking. Do not try to find a subject that is suitable for the national congress or for presentation over a national radio network. Find a discussion suitable for your audience, in this case, your classmates. It does not have to be something big, something startling or overwhelming. The occasion does not call for such a speech. It does call for a speech appropriate to your situation, your audience, one within the scope of your experiences, and, above all, one in which you are sincere.


Basically, you will prepare this speech according to the steps followed in preparing any speech. It is essential that you give more than passing attention to your purpose to stimulate or arouse. This purpose will be behind every statement you utter. It will be superimposed over your entire construction, hence it will receive first consideration.

Having made yourself keenly aware of your purpose, you will next set about achieving this purpose. Naturally, your attention turns to organization. We will assume that you have gathered your materials and are ready to arrange them under the various divisions of your organization. First, as always, you will think of your introduction. It may be that you will construct it or alter it after certain other parts of your speech are completed, but certainly you will give it close attention before you are ready to state that your speech is prepared. In arranging and organizing the main body of your remarks, the language will undergo no little scrutiny. Vivid phraseology, word pictures, graphic illustration, all aptly told must be presented with words that contain acute meanings and definite associations in the minds of the listeners. You may also offer slogans and catchy phrases to make your ideas stick and remain with your hearers. You will also be concrete and specific by naming certain persons and definite places that the speech calls for. You will avoid the abstract and intangible when giving examples, illustrations, and facts. This does not mean that you are to employ needless detail, but it does mean that your ideas must be aimed to hit their mark and make a strong impact. If you do not do this, it will be like trying to drive a spike with a tack hammer. As was stated in the paragraph entitled "Explanation of the Speech to Stimulate or Arouse," you will use contrast as a means of clarifying your thoughts and pointing up their significance. And last, you will stimulate your audience because throughout your entire speech you will have appealed to the basic drives in people: security from enemies, saving or making money, keeping their homes intact, gaining recognition, enjoying social prominence, having a cleaner city or town, knowing new experiences… You will have touched your listeners’ pride, their pocketbooks and bank accounts, their sympathies, their family and home affections – yes, even their fighting spirit. Once you have stimulated your audience, thoroughly arouse them, if the speech demands it, be sure to tell them what to do or what action to take, whether it be to think or perform. If you do not do this you will have generated power but failed to use it.

As usual, there is no better source of materials for a speech than the library. The librarian will gladly assist you in locating materials. You instructor will advise you also in this matter. There may be persons on the faculty or friends you know who have special knowledge that you can use. Do not overlook interviews with them.

The last step in preparing this speech will be rehearsal. Be sure you rehearse enough that you know from memory the sequence of ideas, not words, that you plan to present. Practice before a mirror and/or friends until you feel competent to stand before an audience.


A forceful, dynamic, and energetic presentation should be used unless you are speaking on a solemn occasion involving reverence, devotion or deep feeling. In such cases you voice and manner should be an animated and sincere projection of your ideas, accompanied by appropriate bodily action and gestures. On other occasions, indications should show that you are alive with your subject, full of it, and eager for others to share it. Above all, you must be sincere and earnest. Remember that your audience will reflect your activity and eloquence. They will be just as lively or solemn as you stimulate them to be.

The use of appropriate diagrams, charts, and demonstrations can add much to your speech.

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