11 Start: Look at Special Occasion Speech Assignment Sheet

Start – Special Occasion Speech Assignment

Speech 1: Special Occasion Tribute Speech

Time to Celebrate! Creative Commons photo @ pexel.com.

START — Understand the Basic and Overview: Commemorative “Tribute” Speech

Purpose: You will be asked to give various speeches in your public speaking career. One of the most likely speeches you will give will be a special occasion speech, usually one of a celebratory nature. This assignment will provide an opportunity to practice these skills. This opening speech assignment is meant to be one that will put you at ease as you can choose a topic that you are connected to, find inspiring, etc.

Overview: You will give a tribute speech – or special occasion speech. You will complete an outline for the tribute.

Learning Outcomes: Students should be able to meet these Minnesota State Transfer Pathway Learning Outcomes:

1.1 Demonstrate appropriate topic selection, audience analysis, organization, and content development in a speaker-audience setting.

1.3 Practice effective verbal [language] techniques that are well suited to the occasion and audience.


creative commons photo @ pexel.com

READ – Read the Correlated Chapters and the Assignment Sheet 

  1. Read, Watch and Brainstorm — Read Unit I’s material and watch the videos posted in the content area to help you understand the process of public speaking.
      • Read the Textbook Chapters:
      • Review Samples
      • Examine the sample speech, sample outlines/notecards and complete “Unit 1” homework.
      • Now you are ready to begin to brainstorm for potential topics.
  1. Topic — The topic may be of your own choosing – it may be about a person, place or thing.  Many of you have very specialized backgrounds so feel free to personalize and tie the topic to your work, volunteer experience or future career. You can either have fun or become more serious about your topic. This speech is about paying tribute. Thus, you must personally have some connection to the topic. You must use some supporting materials – you can pick what you will say and how. I recommend quotes, testimony, and narratives. You should use some factual information as well. Citation of sources would be necessary if you use direct quotes or information that is not commonly known. You will tell us who said it, where it came from and when it was published. Most often, this speech is about a person or place you have a personal connection to, so many of the stories, examples and other supporting materials are your own ideas.


  • A family member who has impacted you.
  • The author of the book that changed my life.
  • The doctor that has cured me of a dangerous disease.
  • The tribute presentation to the partner that saved my life.
  •  A funeral tribute presentation to a best friend.
  •  Someone who, in some way, changed the course of your life, history, etc.
  • An inventor, innovator, politician, doctor, teacher. etc. you admire.
  •  A presentation of a tribute to ____ as the best superhero.
  • A tribute to an organization, group, nonprofit entity, etc.
  • What it means to a hero.
  • Be unique – a place, a pet, a person we wouldn’t think of.



  1. Time limit = 4 to 6 minutes. Practice your speech while someone keeps track of time to ensure that you are within the 4-6 minute time zone.


  1. Organize your  Outline — Speeches must follow the standard form of introduction, body, and conclusion. Transitions will be necessary between the main points. Speeches must follow a topical or chronological organizational design and will include three main points of your choice.  The worksheet leads you through the expectations for your outline. Use the Speech 1  Outline Worksheet for the correct format. Please submit your final typed outline as a PDF, Word Document or Rich Text File (no bibliography is needed for this speech) in the Dropbox, as noted in the schedule. Bring printed copies of your written work on the day of your speech.


  1. Create and Include a Visual Aid — The use of one visual aid is required. See the advice in your text on visual aids. You may NOT pass around your visual aid. It must be large enough to see from the back of the room. You may use PowerPoint (but have a second version in your Dropbox or email). You may use online sites (but make sure that it will not link to an unwanted site after you are done – e.g., this often happens with Youtube sites). You can project an image/object even with the document camera in most rooms – just make sure that there is indeed one and that you know how to use it.


  1. Deliver your Speech — Delivery will be extemporaneous – this means, “planned, but not canned.” Thus, plan out what you will say without reading or memorizing. First, organize your ideas in a full-sentence preparation outline format. In this format, your text suggests writing out the introduction and conclusion in its entirety, while outlining the body’s main points as well as subpoints. Read through the speech several times – perhaps try reading it aloud as you write it! Talk to yourself. Gradually reduce your materials to keyword notes and your speaking outline. Next, practice with keywords only – not sentences. Then, when you deliver the speech, you may use no more than 3 note cards containing only keyword notes – no sentences or tiny writing  [see samples]. You may use PowerPoint though you may not simply read it.  If you choose to bring extra notes or read the PowerPoint Screen, specifically reading more than 50% of your speech, it is grounds for failure. So, just trust that we want to hear what you have to say, look out to your audience, and say it. Think about how you will dress, what you will bring for a visual aid, how you will look at us and how you will use your voice and body to enhance your speech. Dress nicely! Wear comfortable shoes. No hats, hoodies, tanks or t-shirts. For more information on speech, delivery review your textbook’s Chapter 12.



  1. A Self-Analysis Critique – We will record speeches in class and you will complete the Self-Analysis Critique after presenting this speech in the “Quiz” area as noted in the schedule. You will need to your own recording device (camera/iPad/phone/etc) or bring a flash drive if you do not have a recording device (then I will videotape it and we can transfer the speech to your flash drive). I will ask that you set personal goals for your public speaking skills before the speech as well as after watching the speech-remember-you are the ONLY one who sees this video!!! However, you may make a meeting with your instructor to go through your speech video if you’d like.


  1. Remember that this speech is a “baseline” or a “starting point.” Note the worksheet asks you to identify your goals. You will use this for your self-analysis critique.


How will you meet the General Grading Criteria (also see the grading rubric below)

  • Strong delivery, still, is a must – full eye contact, sincere-sounding, fluent vocal variety, upper body movement and gestures, facial expressions, etc.
  • Discuss the importance of this ____ you
  • Clear use, variety, and quality of supporting materials
  • Creativity
  • Reason for being sincere
  • Organization /Coherent message
  • Effective use of a visual aid – not just words on a Powerpoint (although photos can work)
  • Time

Special Occasion Tribute Speech Worksheet


Remember: this is just a suggested outline format, you may personalize your speech, transitions, number of subpoints and sub-subpoints. Please upload a typed copy of this worksheet to D2L as noted in the schedule and class announcements.

Learning Outcomes:

Students should be able to meet these Minnesota State Transfer Pathway Learning Outcomes:

  • 1.1 Demonstrate appropriate topic selection, audience analysis, organization, and content development in a speaker-audience setting.
  • 1.3 Practice effective verbal [language] techniques that are well suited to the occasion and audience.

Personal Goals:

Set your personal goals for this speech by first, completing the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA) survey that your teacher will provide, or, take this link: http://acrossculturesweb.com/unit1/prca.html.

Regarding the PRCA, please type your answers to the questions below:

  • What were your scores?
  • Do you think the summary provided accurately matches your level of public speaking confidence? Explain.
  • What can you learn about yourself (or not) through this survey?
  • What are your goals for public speaking that you hope to achieve this semester? List three:



The introduction serves to spark the interest of the audience and thus draw us into your speech. To facilitate this, write responses to the questions below in a short paragraph:

Attention Material: To draw the audience’s attention to your speech, try a simple story, refer to the occasion, refer to recent or historical events, refer to previous speeches, refer to a personal interest, use a clever quote, use a startling statistic,  use an analogy, cite a definition, use a music/video clip, use of suspense, ask a question, etc.

Gain Goodwill of the Audience: To gain the goodwill of your audience, tell us how this relates to us in a way that all can understand. For this type of speech a statement like, “We all probably …” is fine.

Credibility Material: Generally, in this area, you will establish external credibility by stating why you care, why you can be trusted, or how you know your materials, etc. For this type of speech, show us you are sincere; tell us why you admire this person, place or thing. External sources are especially important to establish your external credibility.

Thesis & Topic Preview: (For example: ________ deserves tribute due to ____________________________. Today I will tell you first ______________, second _____________ and third ______________.)

(Transition to Body of Speech, e.g.  “Now that _____,” or,” Let’s go to ____.”)


I. Main Point #1 (first aspect, point, or idea about what or to whom you are paying tribute, for example):(Reminder – you can have more or less subpoints – the subpoints give reasons, stories, facts, reasons, analogies, video clips, etc. I have listed ideas for the subpoints, but you can adjust the structure to meet your speech goals)

A. Subpoint #1 (DEFINE the idea, e.g., “I admire ____ because ….”)


B. Subpoint #2 (ILLUSTRATE the idea, e.g., tell a story or list facts that illustrate your point, such as, “a time that this was true was when….”)


C. Subpoint #3 (EXPLAIN the relevance of the idea, e.g., explain the “take away,” e.g. “We can all learn from this story that ….”)

(Transition’s Summary of previous point: ___________________________________________________________)

(Transition’s Preview to the next point :_____________________________________________________________)


II. Main Point #2 (second aspect, point, or idea about the topic, e.g. “A second reason I admire _____ is ____.”):

A. Subpoint #1 (DEFINE the idea: e.g., “I also respect ____ due to….”)


B.  Subpoint #2 (ILLUSTRATE the idea: e.g., tell a story or list facts that illustrate the importance of your topic, such as, “An instance of this trait was when….”)


C.  Subpoint #3 (EXPLAIN the relevance of the idea: e.g., explain the “take away,” or “A lesson we can learn from this ___ is….”)


(Transition’s Summary of previous point: ___________________________________________________________)

(Transition’s Preview to the next point :_____________________________________________________________)


III. Main Point #3 (third aspect, point, or idea about your topic, e.g. “The third attribute of ___ that deserves tribute includes ____.”):

A. Subpoint #1 (DEFINE the idea: e.g., “I also believe ____ deserves tribute due to….”)


B. Subpoint #2 (ILLUSTRATE the idea: e.g., “A final story to leave you with is….”)


C. Subpoint #3 (EXPLAIN the idea’s relevance: e.g., “So, in reflection, I know that we can learn….”)


(transition to the end… ______________________________)



(Write a short paragraph of what you will say; include all of the following functions of conclusions):

Signal an End (signals to the end often begin with terms such as “in conclusion,” but of course we can be more creative, e.g. “Today we’ve….” or “So many lessons can be learned by thinking about who or what we admire as well as why….”):

Summary (please review in the order covered, as the summation should match your thesis):

Goodwill Audience Tie (tell us again how we benefit from knowing this; show the connection between you and the audience):

Concluding Clincher (never, ever end on something abrupt, e.g., “that’s it” — plan out the end, better yet, tie back in some fashion to the attention device used in the introduction):



(This rubric is based upon the National Communication Association’s Competent Communicator and created with feedback from the Rochester Community and Technical College Communication Department Faculty).



Name: ___________________

Delivery Score out of 80: _____/80 points  + Outline Score out of 20 ____/20 points


Competency 1: Narrows Topic and
Thesis Appropriately for Audience, Occasion and Time
1 2 3 4
  • Adaptation
1 2 3 4
  • Time
Competency 2: Supporting Material is Appropriate based on Audience and  Occasion Comments:
1 2 3 4
  • Used Enough Supports (Narratives, Examples, Testimony)
1 2 3 4
  • Explanations were Clear
Competency 3: Organizational Pattern is Appropriate to Topic, Audience, Occasion and Purpose Comments
1 2 3 4
  • Attention Device
1 2 3 4
  •  Goodwill Audience Tie/Credibility Established
1 2 3 4
  • Thesis
1 2 3 4
  • Clearly Organized Body
1 2 3 4
  • Transitional Statements
1 2 3 4
  • Signal of Ending
1 2 3 4
  • Summary
1 2 3 4
  • Goodwill Audience Tie
1 2 3 4
  •  Clincher
Competency 4: Language is Appropriate to Topic, Audience, Occasion, and Purpose Comments:
1 2 3 4
  •  Effective Language Use
Competency 5: Effective Vocal Delivery for Audience, Occasion and Purpose
  • Comments:
1 2 3 4
  • Clear vocal  tone with minimal Vocalized Pauses (“umms”, “ahhs”)
1 2 3 4
  •  Effective Rate/Pace
1 2 3 4
  • Conversational Style (does not sound memorized or read)
Competency 6: Effective Visual Delivery for Audience, Occasion and Purpose Comments:
1 2 3 4
  • Strong Eye Contact
1 2 3 4
  •  Use of Gestures/Body Movement
1 2 3 4
  • Use of Visual Aid



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The Public Speaking Resource Project Copyright © 2018 by Lori Halverson-Wente and Mark Halverson-Wente is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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