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Student Council Speeches

By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 09-05-2022

How to write a winning speech: a template, guidelines, & an example speech

Student Council Speeches mark the end of an election campaign.

Will yours be successful?

The final answer is in the hands of your fellow students. It's entirely their decision.

However up until they mark their voting papers 'yes' or 'no' you have the potential to make their choice of candidate for the upcoming year 'you'.

Writing a student council speech step by step

You'll find everything here you need to craft a winning student council speech.

Image - colored hands waving in affirmation. The word

Understanding your speech purpose

Understanding the nature or purpose of your speech could make all the difference between winning and losing.

Student Council speeches are persuasive speeches. Their ultimate goal is to get the 'yes' vote. To help you achieve that use the template below to cover all the essential elements.

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Student Council Speeches Template

Introduction

Round button - colored hands waving in affirmation - YES.
  1. Greeting - Attention Getter - The Hook
    You'll need an opening statement or rhetorical question to sit your audience up with open ears and minds. 
  2. Who you are - your name, your place or grade in the school
  3. What you want - the role you are campaigning for: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Historian...
  4. What you are going to do for the audience - benefits to them in exchange for their vote .
    (Brief summary -you will expand this in the body of your speech.)
  5. Credibility - your qualification or expertise establishing your fitness for the role you want.
    (Brief summary - you will expand this in the body of your speech.)
  6. Transition leading to...

Body

  1. Your Main Idea 1 - Your goal for the role, what you want to achieve, how you plan to do it, the benefits to the audience, your fitness for the job, transition to...
  2. Main Idea 2 - Supporting ideas - details and examples - transition to...
  3. Main Idea 3 - Supporting ideas - details and examples - transition to...

NB. Only include a second and third idea if you have time to expand on them. If not, move through to the conclusion.

Conclusion

  1. Summary of main points
  2. Re-statement of what you want - to be elected to the role you're running for
  3. Re-statement of the benefits to the audience
  4. Closer, clincher, call for action


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Points to consider BEFORE you write

  • Research the role


    Know the scope of the position you're campaigning for.
    What tasks are you expected to fulfill?
    What qualities are you expected to show?

  • Your audience


    Who are you speaking to?
    What are their concerns?
    What do they want from you?
    What tone or choice of vocabulary is best suited to them?

    Avoid trying to impress with either 'big' words or use of slang. Both are traps! Be yourself.

    What 'hook' will you use to get them to listen? Humor?
    Humor is good if it is relevant and inclusive rather than exclusive (no 'in' jokes!).

  • Your goal in the role you want


    What exactly do you want to achieve?
    Is it possible?
    Do you have a plan?

    Avoid setting up expectations that you will deliver beyond your capability.

    Can you really reduce school hours, increase academic standards, introduce a range of exciting new extracurricular activities, as well as have a 'green day' and a movie night every month? Keep it real!

  • Your credibility or qualifications


    What makes you fit for the role? Your previous leadership experience? Your personal characteristics?

    Now is not the time either to be shy or arrogantly big-headed! Let the audience know how fitting you are for the role you want.

  • Your school's requirements


    Many schools require speeches to be submitted to staff members before they are delivered.

    If your speech does not meet pre- established criteria in any way you may find it is returned to you edited. It's safer to find out what those criteria are BEFORE writing to avoid having to re-write or worse, being disqualified entirely.

  • Fairness


    You are competing against your peers but do so in way that reflects how you would want to be treated.

    Mockery and personal insults are not clever. They boomerang back on you, letting your audience know you're not to be trusted and neither are you ready for leadership.

    Readily acknowledging the skill and expertise of your fellow candidates sincerely in a way that doesn't demean yourself shows an open mind and maturity.


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Student Council speech example: President

Here's a sample speech. I've written it from the perspective of someone running for President.

As you read it, imagine it said aloud. That will help you get the rhythm and flow of language. The speech is between 3 - 4 minutes long, depending on how quickly you speak.

Vote Sophia Clarke for Student Council President

Image: multi-colored hands waving. Text: YES! Sophia Clarke for President Student Council.

"I’ve got a question for you. I’m not asking you to shout your answer out, or raise your hand. All I’m asking is that you give it room in your mind. Let it sit for a bit, and have a think about it.

My question is – do you believe like I do, that all of us deserve the opportunity to make the best of ourselves? Not second best, 3rd, or even, highly commended. The BEST.

I’m Sophia Clarke. I’m in the 12th grade, and I’m running for president. My vision is that each student is enabled to develop the skills and confidence to become the bigger, better version of themselves. The best they can be.  Regardless of who they are, and what they need to achieve that.

It’s an audacious goal. Some would say an idealistic, rather than a realistic, one.

However I say it’s awesome. And that you’re intelligent people who realize that reaching any goal starts with taking the first step.

So let me remind you why choosing me, Sophia Clarke, for president, is also choosing a better chance for yourself, and everyone else to grow.

I know you, and I know your needs well. I’ve served on your behalf in multiple roles through my years here; secretary, auditor, public relations officer, and have successfully taken on multiple issues. You’ll know some of those through directly benefiting from them.

It was me who was behind the push to get a regular anti-bullying program running throughout the school. That was two years ago, and now the Teens Against Bullying message underpins what we expect and strive for in our every day dealings with each other.

We know incidents of bullying are far fewer as a result. As our orange tee shirts say we ‘choose kindness, acceptance and inclusion’ for each other, and our selves.

Who has been involved in our mentoring-homework program? Either as a buddy-tutor or as a student getting a helping hand? And who, like me, is passionate about making sure that everybody gets a fair go?

In the past year, under my watch that program has escalated. We have over 50% more tutors across more subject areas and more students taking up the offer of help. That is a fabulous outcome for everybody. Truly win-win.

A tick in the box alongside my name is a tick for the continued growth of those programs. Their value is proven. They allow each of us to grow and experience the strength and confidence that comes from knowing that we can make a positive difference in other people’s lives as well as our own.

When you vote me for President you get my capacity to organize, to liaise, to listen and to speak, working for the benefit of everybody.

A 'yes' for me is a 'yes' for appreciating and celebrating diversity.

A 'yes' for me, Sophia Clarke for President, is 'yes' to a better you.

And together that is a 'yes' to a better life, and a better school, for all of us."

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Tips for writing your speech

Round button - multi-colored hands waving in affirmation - Text: Vote for me!
  • Brainstorm your ideas first.
    Start with noting ideas for the body of your speech as this is the most important part before going on to the introduction and the conclusion.

  • Include your campaign slogan in your opening and conclusion.

  • Keep your style conversational rather than overly formal.
    Use smaller rather than large sentences.
    Use active rather than passive words. These convey enthusiasm.
    Check this page on using action verbs . You'll discover how to go from boring bla bla bland to dynamic excitement.

  • Lead with your strongest idea first.
    Give specific examples to illustrate it where possible.
    Eliminate 'weasel' words or padding that add nothing to your presentation.

  • Aim to have your speech ready BEFORE the deadline.
    Give yourself time to prepare thoroughly, including time to review of your opponents' campaigns.

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Timing and word count

Student Council Speeches are generally brief: around 1-4 minutes long which isn't a lot of time! That's between approximately 150 - 500 words at an average speaking rate of 150 words per minute.

To be safe say your speech out loud as if you were delivering it for real and time it because sometimes going overtime can result in being disqualified.

Going faster to fit everything in

Please do not be tempted to say it faster to get everything you planned said. As a strategy it doesn't work. You'll end up gabbling: speaking far too quickly and people won't be able to understand what you're saying.

Cutting out extra material

If you have got too much material for the time limit, cut it. Choose the least important ideas to let go of first. Then move on to rephrasing to reduce the number of words used to express a point.

When you think it's done, repeat the test. Say it out loud by as if you were giving it, and time it.

For more about word count see: how many words per minute in a speech

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AFTER you've finished writing your speech

Round button -multi-colored hands waving in affirmation - the word

Please, please rehearse your speech! Do not be tempted to wing it.

The more you rehearse the easier it will be deliver it well.

Remember it is only 1 to 4 minutes long! In that time your goal is to have your audience ready to vote for you.

You can help them make that decision by being confident and prepared. You will show that through:

  • your speaking style - natural, sincere, fluent, understandable (clear and able to be heard without straining)

  • your body language - relaxed, open gestures, good eye contact and smiling

  • your personal grooming or presentation because how you look 'speaks' too.
    Make sure that your clothing and general grooming supports your speech because, like it or not, you will be judged on both!

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 Videoed Student Council speech examples  

How do other people handle a Student Council speech? What's their content and delivery like?

Are they funny? Formal? Too hurried? Confident? Familiar?

It can help to look at what others have done. Even if it's only to decide their way will not be your way!

Image: Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, PA. USA, candidates for Student Council 2018

Click the link to access a collection ten videoed student council campaign speeches from the 2018 student council executive board candidates for Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA. 

At the foot of the article you'll find links to the videos of the school's 2015, 2016 and 2017 student council campaign speeches.

A word of warning

Elections can be very unpredictable. (That's an understatement!☺) You may have written and delivered a superb speech. You may even be the best candidate, but nevertheless you need to understand that you might lose. Be prepared to lose graciously and to sincerely congratulate the winner.

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PS. Panic not

Round button - Image -multi-colored hands waving in affirmation with the word

If you find yourself getting anxious over the thought of delivering your speech, please check this page for help.

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