How to Write an Inaugural Speech

by Gerri Blanc

Follow the paths of great leaders before you; write a great inaugural speech.

Close-up of President's Face on a dollar bill image by PaulPaladin from Fotolia.com

An inaugural speech captures the triumphs and hopes for the future in the winner of a political campaign. After a long and tiresome journey to the top of the political heap, you now can rejoice and let others in on your victory. But before you put that pen to paper or those fingers to the keyboard, you may want to learn a few important tips on what makes an inaugural speech great and how to inspire the citizens you preside over to create change.

Step 1

Reflect on the moments that led to your victory. Think of the setbacks and the struggles you endured to finally reach this office. You will want to jot down a few distinct memories that touched you in terms of your fight to gain the position you now have. Try to add to your notes as much detailed information of such memories so that you will write more easily when you begin.

Step 2

Recognize a theme that symbolizes your platform, as well as your fight to gain office. A recurrent theme of President Obama’s campaign was “hope,” and in his inaugural speech, he presented that theme by discussing the trials American people have faced through the years and how they always overcame them through determination and hope (see Ref 1, 3).

Step 3

Craft an outline that has at least three parts; an introduction, a body and a conclusion. In your outline, use the notes and theme to create an organized list of what you want to say in your speech (see Ref 2).

Step 4

Start the speech by writing a powerful opening that draws your audience in, making them want to hear more. You can begin with a line that sums up what your supporters feel; in Obama’s speech, he stated that “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.” Yet you can also begin with a story that mirrors the trials and tribulations you faced and will soon take on as a newly elected leader. Whatever you decide, just make sure it captures your audience’s attention.

Step 5

Write the following paragraphs addressing your citizens’ desires and fears. You can use figurative language to describe your positions on subjects, but it is best to be direct and simplistic when discussing more serious events or situations. You, as a leader, have received the office because people believed that you represented the future so you should keep them believing that, while also remaining honest and somewhat stoic. Becoming too emotional will not give you an air of leadership, so keep that in mind when writing the speech.

Step 6

End the speech with a call to arms for your fellow citizens. Let them know that you will do your best but that you can only achieve great things with their help. Bring the speech full circle by addressing your theme in a subtle way, and leave your audience with an inspirational last sentence.

Photo Credits

  • Close-up of President's Face on a dollar bill image by PaulPaladin from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Gerri Blanc began her professional writing career in 2007 and has collaborated in the research and writing of the book "The Fairy Shrimp Chronicles," published in 2009. Blanc holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and culture from the University of California, Merced.