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'.
You'll find everything here you need to craft a winning student council speech.
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.
NB. Only include a second and third idea if you have time to expand on them. If not, move through to the conclusion.
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!).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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
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:
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!
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.
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.
If you find yourself getting anxious over the thought of delivering your speech, please check this page for help.