Centre for Continuing Education

Speechwriting Course

Business Communication. Sharpen your communication skills.

Learn Business Communication the smart way with Business Communication courses at CCE, the University of Sydney.

Speeches are a foundational leadership tool. What makes a great speech? How can speeches be used to inform, move and inspire? How can leaders use the principles of narrative and storytelling to create connection between a speaker and an audience? Speeches draw together the poetic with the strategic. They should always be an act of leadership.

Whilst speechwriting is an essential skill for leaders from all backgrounds, the essence of speechwriting is rarely taught. However, it is essential in understanding how speeches move and how they create meaning for communities, organisations and countries.

This course will consider how to frame a message and the techniques available to make a speech memorable. We will consider the importance of audience, setting, research and delivery. We will listen to real world examples and ask what makes this speech memorable?


This course aims to give speakers the tools to craft speeches which are meaningful and beautiful, and to meet the strategic aims of the speaker. It also aims to communicate how the development of a shared narrative is an essential function of modern leadership.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Describe the framework and structure of public narrative and discuss how moral choice is at the centre of storytelling, speech writing and leadership.
  2. Discuss how the principles of moral choice, meaning and shared identity can create a leadership narrative.
  3. Unpack the rhetorical tools from Aristotle to modern speech writers and apply them to their speech writing.
  4. Create a call to action – drawn from individual and community experiences.
  5. Dissect a series of speeches and identify the principles and tools that underpin the speeches.
  6. Develop a short speech using the principles of public narrative, rhetoric and moral choice.


This course covers the following topics:

  • Audience
  • Speech structure
  • Moral choice as part of storytelling
  • Creating shared meaning and identity
  • Linking speech making and strategy
  • Sourcing beauty for speeches
  • Fast checking and road testing speeches
  • The linkage between speech making and leadership that is strategic and thoughtful.

Intended Audience

This course is suitable for anyone wishing to try their hand at writing or giving speeches – as well as corporate affairs and public relations professionals who will need to write speeches as part of developing their skill set.

Delivery Style

This course is delivered as an interactive workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to analyse and reflect on speeches by Robert Kennedy, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and others. They will study narrative theory, watch well known and less known speeches and then discuss their impact. The following questions will be asked: Why did this speech work for me or not? What tools did the speaker deploy? Where they appropriate? Could they have been done better?

Recommended Reading

Fullilove, M. 2014, Men and Women of Australia! Our Greatest Modern Speeches, Random House.

Noonan, P. 2010, What I saw at the revolution, Random House Trade Paperbacks NY.

Ritchie, P. 2010, Stay on Message, Fremantle, Vivid Pub, WA.

Safire, B. 2004, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History, W. W. Norton & Company.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion