How to Write a 3-Minute Speech

A three-minute speech may sound short, but in reality, many words and thoughts can be expressed in that time frame. Despite the time frame, it is possible to prepare quickly for your three-minute speech if you are familiar with the subject material. The key is to write a solid outline that gives you space to add or omit information depending on how much time you have left. Public speaking can be difficult if you’re not prepared with time-limits, body language, speech rates, PowerPoints, eye contact, communication skills, correct subject manner, personal story touches, key points and things to say to keep the audience’s attention.

Like a 5-minute speech or 10-minute speech, time constraints are present and affect the speaker’s speaking rate, formal speech aspects for real-life performance, word counts, subject matter included, number of words shared, and call to actions through your body of your speech said in the amount of time given. Short speeches call for more attention to detail as well as smaller bullet points of subject matter as well as a more impactful end of your speech.

Write one sentence stating the topic of your speech and what you hope to relay to the audience. Decide whether this speech is persuasive, celebratory, argumentative or any other style so you can know how to proceed. This sentence is not to be read during your speech, but is rather a reference for you as you write your speech to help you stay focused.

Write an opening statement that is sure to grab the attention of your audience. Depending on the topic and the crowd, you may want to consider starting with an amusing anecdote, a startling statistic or an interesting quote from a relevant source.

Write a quick outline of the main points you want to make in your speech. Label these with Roman numerals and, if you are typing, highlight them in bold so you can find your place quickly when delivering your speech. For a three-minute speech, choose no more than five main points.

Write three to five short items that support each of your main points. Number them. Using capital letters may help differentiate them from your main points at a glance.

Write as much of your speech word-for-word as you believe you will need, inserting the sentences within the outline. The less you add, the faster you will write your speech. However, this also means you must be comfortable forming coherent sentences and thoughts in the moment of delivery.

Memorize your speech and practice it in front of anyone willing to listen. Aim to glance down at your written speech only once every ten to twenty seconds.


Do not go on a tangent with any of your points. Not only is there no time for this within a three-minute speech, but this will make the writing process much slower. Stick to only the most relevant points you want to make. Type your speech. Not only will this help you write and structure your speech faster, it is neater and easier to read.

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