Four Methods of Delivering a Speech

by Sarah Trevino ; Updated September 26, 2017
Public speaking is an art form; from writing to delivery.

For a seasoned speaker, the process of writing and delivering a speech is second nature. For others, the delivery methods are unknown. Between the preparation of writing a speech and getting ready to present the speech, a speaker must decide which speech method to use. There are four main types of speech delivery, each having their own benefits and drawbacks.


The manuscript method of delivering a speech involves writing a manuscript used for reference during the speech and for official records. Manuscript delivery should avoid reading the manuscript word for word, otherwise the speaker risks sounding mechanical. The use of eye contact and facial expressions helps bring personality to this type of speech delivery.


The memorization method involves memorizing a speech word for word. This can run the risk of sounding as mechanical as the manuscript method. As in the manuscript method, memorizing key talking points gives the speaker a more personal approach. Add personality with voice inflection, eye contact and facial expressions.

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The impromptu method involves speeches with little or no time for preparation and speech writing. In situations like this, speakers should do everything in their power to take a few minutes to prepare themselves. Organizing a speech and breaking it down into parts is a quick way to mentally prepare a speech. Preparation should be started at the beginning of an introduction, or as soon as a speaker realizes they may be called on to speak. The typical organizational format includes a main point, proof, additional proof if possible, and a conclusion.


The extemporaneous method has more preparation than the impromptu method. It involves writing, rewriting and editing. In addition, the delivery is practiced, recited, and main points are memorized. Typically, a speaker uses an outline for the main points and the exact wording is not concrete until the delivery is given. Audiences typically perceive extemporaneous speeches as spontaneous, while the speaker still maintains control of the speaking points.

About the Author

Sarah Trevino has been a freelance writer since 2005 and specializes in food and wine, television, home and garden, and weddings. She has written for numerous websites and publications, including OMG!, Procter & Gamble and various blogs. Trevino holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a graduate certificate in health and wellness.

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