Online Speech Analysis


WHAT: You will write a paper that critiques the speech performance of a presidential candidate, past or present. You must choose a candidate who was/is active in politics during your own lifetime. The following website has many excellent speeches:

Your analysis should be at least four double-spaced, typed pages with a works cited section. Your work should conform to proper MLA format and be free from spelling and grammatical errors.


HOW: The specific requirements of the paper are:

• Your paper should be at least four double-spaced, typed pages with a works cited section.

• Your paper should conform to proper MLA format and be free from spelling and grammatical errors.

• Your paper must be written as an ESSAY. Do not answer in one-word responses or type your response next to the questions. The questions are just a prompting guide.

• Provide the following information in the first paragraph: Who was the speaker? What was the occasion? When and where was the speech delivered? Assume the reader has not seen or heard the speech.

• In your opinion, who is an effective speaker and presidential candidate? Support your choice by providing illustrations, examples, and facts as to why this person is effective.

• The paper should be an insightful, organized, developed and articulate analysis based on the questions being answered. Please answer most of the questions.


• Was the speech effective?
• How do you define effective?
• Where did the speech take place?
• Was it a large audience, did the speaker use a podium, stand alone, use a microphone, visual aids? If so, what kind?
• Did the speaker have structure, points, illustrations, a persuasive plan or sources?

• Did the speaker open with an introduction? Please describe the opening
• Was a hook used to effectively draw the audience into the speech? Or did the speaker open with a dry: “It’s great to be here today.”
• Did the speech open with a story? A joke? A startling statistic? A controversial statement? A powerful visual?
• Did the speech opening clearly establish the intent of the presentation?
• Was the opening memorable?
• What were the main ideas?
• Were the main ideas previewed?
• Were the maid ideas easy to follow and were they summarized?
• Was the presentation focused? Did all arguments, stories, anecdotes relate back to the primary objective?
• Were examples or statistics provided to support the arguments?
• Were metaphors or symbolism used to improve understanding?
• Was the speech organized logically? Was it easy to follow?
• Did the speaker bridge smoothly from one part of the presentation to the next?
• Were the main ideas easily identified and supported? Provide examples and illustrations.
• Did the speaker develop credibility with the audience? How?
• Did he/she use effective language, grammar, and so on? Give examples.
• Was the speaker entertaining, informing, motivating or persuading? Please select one and elaborate on the purpose. Provide details.
• Was the conclusion concise?
• Was the conclusion memorable?
• If appropriate, was there a call to action?

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Remember to give specific examples from the speech – use quotes to exemplify your points!

• What was the goal of the message?
• Was the message logical or emotional?
• What was the speaker asking the audience to do or consider?

• Did the speaker us a manuscript, notes, cards, teleprompter, or was it memorized?
• What was the style of delivery? And was it effective?
• Was it a conversational presentation?
• What was the goal of the message?
• Did the speaker seem well prepared?
• What evidence led you to believe this speaker prepared in advance?

Body Language, appearance, tone:
• Did the speaker engage his/her audience?
• Did the speaker maintain eye contact through the camera and with the audience?
• Did the speaker use gestures effectively? Were the gestures appropriately restrained? Were gestures natural, timely and complementary?
• Was the speaker neat and well groomed in appearance?
• Was the speaker’s attire appropriate?
• Did the speaker have good posture? Why or why not? Did the speaker’s posture display confidence and poise?
• Were gestures easy to see?
• Did the speaker look confident? Why? Why not?
• Did the speaker use vocal variety?
• Was the rate of speaking appropriate and effective?
• Was the loudness appropriate and effective?
• Was colorful, memorable language utilized? Please explain.
• Did the speaker have any issues with fillers/vocalized pauses?
• Did any part of the delivery distract you? (example, distracting manner)

Visuals (if utilized)
• Where they designed effectively?
• Did they complement speech arguments?
• Was the use of visual aids timed well with the speaker’s words?
• Did they add energy to the presentation or remove it?
• Were they simple and easy to understand?
• Were they easy to see? e.g. large enough
• Would an additional visual aid have helped to convey the message?

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Audience Orientation:
• How did the audience react? Was their reaction to the speaker good, bad, fair, excellence etc.? Please explain.
• How did you and the audience react to the content itself? To the speaker?
• Do you believe the impact of the speech would have been different had it been delivered by someone else? Please explain
• Has the speech changed your mind in any way?
• Did the speech impact you enough to incorporate the ideas and plan into your daily living, or provoke you to let others know about it and ideas presented?

Personal Point of View:
• What was your overall reaction to the speech presentation experience?
• If you were speaking to this particular crowd, what would you have done differently?
• List at least three strengths of the speaker during the presentation.
• List at least three weaknesses of the speaker during the presentation.
• What about the speech would you have changed, if anything?
• What about the venue or audience would you have changed, if anything?
• What about the speaker would you have changed, if anything?
• What did you feel about the speech, the venue, and the speaker that was done well?
• In your opinion, is there anything that’s mission that should have been included?
• Would you pay to hear this speaker? Why? Would you listen to this speaker again?
• How did this speaker make you feel?
• Did you enjoy the speech? The speaker? What was the “take away”?
• Would you vote for this candidate? Why or why not?

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What will you do differently when presenting your own speeches after deeply analyzing this particular speech? Explore this.

Your personal overall reflection will end your analysis.