How to Write a Speech for School Elections

Four Parts:Crafting Your MessageStructuring Your SpeechPreparing for DeliverySample Speeches

If you’re running for office in school elections, delivering your candidate speech can be one of the most important — and nerve-wracking — parts of the whole process. One of the keys to delivering a good speech is writing a good speech. Yes, there are school election speech templates on the internet that let you just paste in your name, etc.,[1] but a speech written by you, that represents you, holds a much better chance of making an impact on your classmates/voters. If you take the time to write a speech that presents a clear, concise message in an engaging manner that reflects your individual personality, you might just win, and regardless, you'll know you gave it your best shot.

Part 1
Crafting Your Message

  1. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 1
    Brainstorm your main points. Start by jotting down all your big plans, all the things you’d like to accomplish in office, and all the things you want your fellow students to know about your goals as a candidate.[2]
    • Right now, it doesn’t matter if your ideas are not feasible or even downright silly — your desire to outlaw homework on weekends, for instance — just put them down on paper.
    • Then, start to whittle down your list to about three to five key points of emphasis — adding healthy food options at lunch, expanding a tutoring program, or working to reduce bullying, perhaps — and think about how they connect to your overall plan as a candidate.
  2. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 2
    Create a slogan. From “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” to “We Like Ike” to “Hope and Change,” Presidential candidates have used (and won with) slogans that can seem simplistic or just plain strange, and yet succeed because they reflect the image the candidate is trying to project.[3]
    • Slogans don’t just fit nicely on campaign signs, they provide a quick glimpse of your personality and your plans.
    • They can be lighthearted (“The Right Manuel for the Job”) or serious (“Your Voice for Change”), focused on one issue (“Save the Spring Formal”) or aimed more broadly (“Let’s Fly Higher Together”). The slogan should suit you, make people think of you when they hear or see it, and give them an idea of how you’ll serve their interests.
    • When writing a slogan, avoid negative language. The best slogans are positive and forward-thinking.
  3. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 3
    Be clear, direct, and realistic. With your grand plans narrowed down to a few solid ideas and your slogan chosen, you can begin to craft the overall message of your speech.
    • First things first, find out how much time you have to give your speech. School election speeches are often limited to only 1-2 minutes, which is only about 150-250 words.[4] If so, you need to be laser-focused on what you want to say and how you want to say it. You may have to further cut down your campaign ideas to two or three, or maybe even just one for the speech.
    • Even if you don’t have a short time limit, people rarely complain that speeches are too short. Don’t waste time on unreasonable promises, unnecessary details, or anything else that detracts from the directness of your message.
    • Establish the need you see, what you believe can be done to address it, and why you are the person to do it.[5]
  4. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 4
    Be yourself. If you are the class clown, make your speech fun. If you are naturally quiet and reserved, talk about how you “speak softly but carry a lot of big ideas.” Be the candidate you are, not the candidate you think others think you should be.[6]
    • You might just assume that the popular kids win all the school elections, but often it is the person who seems most genuinely interested in doing the job who earns the most votes. It is easier to express that enthusiasm when being true to who you are.
  5. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 5
    Write a speech, not an essay. With all the focus here on writing a speech, it can be easy to forget that your speech is meant to be heard, not read. As you begin pulling together your ideas and writing the speech, remember that how it looks on the page is far less important than how it presents on the stage as a statement on you-as-candidate.
    • Your English teacher won’t be grading your speech text, so utilize a more conversational tone and worry less about grammar rules. Use short sentences and even sentence fragments to keep your message fresh and clear throughout the speech.[7]
    • You need to build a rapport, a sense of connection, with the audience very quickly and hold it throughout the speech. Slogans and simply-stated goals suit this need, and so too does a speech that doesn’t lose the audience along the way with long or complicated sentences, jargon, or unnecessary asides.

Part 2
Structuring Your Speech

  1. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 6
    Introduce yourself and your message. Within the first handful of seconds of your candidate speech, you want everyone listening to know who you are, what you are running for, and why. You can win over or lose the interest of an audience very quickly based upon how you begin your speech. [8]
    • Give a few details about why you're the right person for the position. This doesn't have to be your whole resume, but a solid detail or two about your past responsibilities or personal traits will help you "sell" yourself as the right candidate.[9]
    • Plant your slogan in this introduction. Make them associate that phrase with you and the plans you are about to lay out in the body of the speech.
    • Something as simple as “Hi. I’m Jane Thomas, and I want to be your class president because I am dedicated to ‘Making Butler High Better Together’” can work.
    • Or, if better suited to your personality: “Some people say that Leon Lawson is too wild and not serious enough to be vice-president. Well, I am Leon Lawson, and I say that I’m ‘Seriously Wild’ about shaking things up in our student government.”
  2. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 7
    Identify your main issue(s). While there are likely dozens of causes you’d like to champion and things you’d like to change, remember that time is short and you need to establish a quick, clear, relatable connection with your voting audience. By targeting in on one or at most a couple of main issues, you can explain why the issue is of importance to everyone.[10][11]
    • This is one of your chances to build a rapport with your audience. You want them to feel like all of you are on the same page, facing the same issues, and seeking solutions together.
    • For instance: “Bullying is an epidemic at Adams High School. Odds are that you have been bullied, seen someone being bullied, or even been a bully yourself. We can all do better.”
    • When stating the issue, avoid mudslinging or negative comments aimed at a particular person or group. Even when you're talking about something you want to change, keep your comments framed positively. This will reflect well on your candidacy and encourage others to see you as someone dedicated to fixing issues, not blaming others for them.
  3. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 8
    Outline your actions. Politicians always seem to promise more than they can ever possibly deliver, and you probably won’t be able to accomplish everything you think or say you can either. But, by sticking to a short list of items that seem realistic and relate to your major point(s) of emphasis, you can build confidence in your ability to deliver on your promises.[12]
    • If you’re running for re-election or have held a different office, talk about a few things you have done and a few you will do. Make it clear how they all link together. For example, "As my time as President of Spanish Club shows, I can manage a team of people to achieve common goals. I will use this experience in pursuing change at our school."
    • Make your actions sound active. Use active verbs to describe what you have done/will do. Some examples include: “pursue,” “follow,” “take up,” “initiate,” “present,” “represent,” “create,” “build,” and “lead.”[13]
  4. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 9
    Bring it to a close. In two minutes, or whatever short time you have to make your speech, you only really have time to identify (yourself and your cause), briefly explain (your plans), and reiterate (both).[14]
    • Go back to your slogan somewhere in the brief conclusion. Such repetition can help tie everything together.
    • For example: “We all know that there are too many cliques and factions that divide us as students here at West Branch High. This Friday, please consider voting for me, Ben Davis, for student council. I’ll make it my number one job to bring all West Branch Eagles together so we can ‘Fly High as One.’”
  5. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 10
    Leave them wanting more. This is partly a function of delivering a short speech that cannot possibly cover all your ideas and goals. But it also means that you’ve inspired the audience members to think about their own ideas for addressing your shared concerns, and to feel an interest in speaking with you about it.
    • Consider, perhaps, a simple sentence near the end along the lines of: “I have several additional ideas for ways to bring back more Tiger pride to our school, and I would love to hear your ideas as well.”

Part 3
Preparing for Delivery

  1. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 11
    Practice, practice, practice. Once you’ve written your speech, you need to make sure that you know it inside and out. Without a strong delivery, even the best-written speech will be a dud.[15]
    • Practice in front of a mirror, in front of your cat, and in front of anyone who will listen. Record yourself and play it back to get a better sense of your tone and pace.
    • If permitted, practice giving the speech in the location where you will present the real one. Get a feel for the room and the podium so you’ll be that much more comfortable come speech day.[16]
  2. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 12
    Be ready to speak, not read. Audience members want to feel as though you are speaking directly to them, not reading from a sheet of paper. Without general eye contact, it is hard to establish any sort of connection with the audience.[17]
    • Practice your speech often enough that you only need to have some notes for reference. Look down only occasionally, as needed, and practice looking around the room. You don’t necessarily have to make direct eye contact with anyone, just make it seem as though you are.
    • You also, however, don’t want to sound as though you have simply memorized every word of your speech and are now regurgitating it. You want to know the speech, not just the words, so that you can seamlessly adjust to a misstated phrase or an unexpected opportunity during the speech.
  3. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 13
    Present your best self. Yes, you probably want to comb your hair and put on some nice clothes, but this also means displaying an air of confidence. Think about and practice how you will walk on stage, stand at the podium, provide the right facial expression, etc.
    • You want to be “real,” to look and act like the fellow student the audience knows — maybe just an extra-polished, comfortable, and confident version of your “real” self.
  4. Image titled Write a Speech for School Elections Step 14
    Relax and let it happen. Accept that you are going to be nervous, no matter how great the speech you’ve written and how prepared you are to present it. Accept also that it will all be over before you know it and that a few imperfections here or there won’t necessarily sink your election chances.
    • Rely on whatever relaxation techniques work for you to get ready for your performance. If that means employing the old trick of imagining the audience naked, go for it — maybe just watch who you tell about having used it!

Sample Speeches

Sample High School President Speech

Sample High School Election Acceptance Speech

Sample High School Treasurer Speech


  • If you make a mistake while giving your speech, don't panic. Laugh it off and move on. This will show that you are flexible and adaptable, and will encourage others to see you as someone who can meet challenges without losing her cool.

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Categories: School Leadership | Speechwriting