MORE & MORE Questions – Approaching a Platform


Writing a platform, or self-written rehearsed speech, seems like a great option. Of course it does. Of course it should. It is!

Platform speeches give us the opportunity to talk about what is important to us. But lo! As we approach a platform, more questions must be asked and this is the perfect time to ask them before the competitive season launches. Where does a speech writer start? How does someone choose a topic?  How can young speakers truly connect with an older audience and deliver a meaningful message?

Here are some guidelines as you begin to ask these questions and many more. We will start by asking questions that lie at the very core of any speech. The following elements have to be considered from the onset.

Will your speech be…

CURRENT? – having direct bearing on relevant matters; pertinent

COMPELLING? – having a powerful and irresistible effect

CREDIBLE? – worthy of belief or confidence; believable

In addition, it is best that your topic be born from your own core interests, values, or aspirations. Then you are sure to have the passion and enthusiasm that every speaker needs in order to connect with others.

As you begin to narrow down a topic, and  your coaches  concur that your message will indeed be current, compelling, and credible, here are other questions worth asking regarding content:

Do I have a clear thesis and restricted focus for this speech? A good thesis takes a position that will be defended or explained throughout the speech.

How can I be trusted with my message?              

  • What is my personal connection to the topic? Remember a good speech is never just a report.  Again, the audience must believe that you the speaker are truly interested in your topic and invested in your message.
  • Have I included sufficient credible information from others? Evidence from experts and advocates will help support your thesis throughout the speech.

What has the audience heard too often if they are familiar with a particular platform event?  If you will face judges this season who have already heard countless speeches on “subject X,” remember that your responsibility will be to deliver something that is absolutely original and unique, if you want it to be competitive.

Is there a difference between what the audience would like to hear and what they need to know about my topic?

What will my audience already know or think they know about my topic? Once again, your information will have to address any preconceived notions or misconceptions about your topic.

What NEW information will the audience learn from my speech?

How will my speech be memorable?

Will the audience have any other expectations? This includes all of the criteria stated on the ballots from your particular speech league. Review them often while writing your actual speech.

Not only is it wise to ask questions during the speech writing process, it is essential. The good answers to these questions will lay the groundwork for a platform speech packed with purpose, power, and persuasion. Revisit your questions and answers often throughout the process. Then craft your message carefully – make it meaningful and memorable.