How to Write & Present an Expository Speech

Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

Have you been given the task of writing an expository speech for English class? If so, this lesson is for you! Read on to learn about how to write and present an expository speech with supporting evidence.

Expository Writing

So, your teacher has given you the assignment of writing and presenting an expository speech. What does that mean? Where do you begin? Let's start with the definition. The word expository means explaining or describing something. Therefore, an expository speech is when you explain an idea, experience, or process out loud. So how do we get from writing a speech to giving the speech?

Read on to learn about the steps you can take to effectively write and present an expository speech.

Writing Your Speech

First, you need to pick a topic. Your teacher may have given you a topic, or you can select from certain types of expository writing, such as descriptions, cause and effects, how-to's, or compare-and-contrast essays.

Once we have a topic, we need to research more about it before we can explain or describe the process.


Maybe you know a lot about your topic, and you aim to explain a personal experience or write a speech based on something you've read in class. If so, you're one step ahead of the game! Take the information you have and skip to the next step.

If you don't know a lot about your topic, take time to research. You can use the library, the internet, and friends, family members, and your teacher to get help. Get enough information so that you can easily answer any question about your topic. Once we have enough information, we can begin to write!


Before you write a rough draft, think about the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Answer these questions on a separate sheet of paper. This type of brainstorming would be great for a descriptive paper. Say you were writing about your first trip to Washington D.C. A brainstorm might look like this:

Who: 8th grade class and administrators

What: White House, Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian, The Mall

When: June 8-12th 2016

Where: Washington D.C.

Why: Every class takes this trip before they graduate middle school and transfer to the high school.

Depending upon the type of expository speech you're writing, brainstorming for each may look different. You can also write down 10 important ideas from what you read to help you connect the main ideas in your paper. Now, it's time to make an outline for your speech:

  • Process/How-to: Start by listing the steps to the process, and break down each step. Pretend you have to explain this process to someone who has never heard of your topic before.
  • Description: If you are describing something, such as an experience or idea, start with the 5 Ws and the the senses. Bring your audience right into the experience. What did you see? Describe the scene in detail. Tell your audience about the colors, the smells, the sounds. Did you eat anything or have a special experience that you want to share? Jot some ideas down for each sense to ensure you capture the description from every angle.
  • Cause/Effect; Compare/Contrast: Write down each side of the argument, starting with bullet points to ensure you have covered all of the evidence you have researched.

Once you have this information, you can begin writing your speech.


The easiest way to transform your information into a speech is to organize your ideas into paragraphs. The outline below can be used for each type of speech.

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