The use of the lead in the planning of the speech


In journalism, the rule is that, immediately after the title, we will find the lead. This paragraph will provide us an immediate response to the most important questions about the specific piece of news:

  • What?
  • Who?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Using the lead will allow us to guide our speech responding to all the relevant questions to the theme of the speech.


Advantages of using the lead

The TED speeches have in consideration the use of a lead, and as such, these speeches are perfectly:

  • Organized;

  • Fluid;

  • Coherent;

  • Focused;

This organization allows us to add energy and dynamism to the speech. And therefore, within a specific pre defined timeframe, all the information will be transmitted focusing on the main key points.

The lead will work as a support throughout the presentation. As we have referred in previous videos, we should use a title that calls out attention and interest from the audience´s side. To achieve this, we should get to know our audience and find out the best way to captivate the public.


Essential aspects of the speech

After creating the lead, it will become easier to define/organize the body of the text. As soon as we start to elaborate the draft, we should immediately start to define our lead. When defining it, we should draw the questions we want to have answered, as well as adding examples to our answers.

Who does not appreciate a coherent speech, that is focused on the topic and thus respect the essential key points?

This plan can be applied, as it is functional in different types of speeches. It can be applied in:

  • Job interviews;

  • Academic presentations;

  • Public presentations in general, from personal to professional presentations;

  • Among others.

It is crucial that we have answers prepared to the main questions, and that we also have the capacity to illustrate those answers with examples.


Importance of the speech´s theme – question to which we want to answer.

To provide an example of a theme that was presented in a public speaking event, we can look at Sir Ken Robinson´s popular speech for TED talks – “Do schools kill creativity?” The author guides himself with the following reflection: “The potential of education is transformed if we focus on the extraordinary creativity of children, in contrast to outdated education models.”

 Ken Robinson developed a thesis in which he added different examples that give life and credibility to main concepts. He did this through essential points of his reflection, as well as using certain keywords as resource:

  • Education;

  • Children;

  • Creativity.

The lead responds fast to the audience´s questions.

Structure and Plan

When planning a presentation for an academic project such as a masters or doctoral thesis, we should immediately define which is the question that we want to have answered. Starting from there, we can:

  • Structure our presentation;

  • Define our key-points;

  • Develop our presentation;

The entire speech should be kept around that question. The goal is that, having in consideration all the essential elements around that question, we can create a summary of all our investigation work that was done previously within the final part – conclusion – of the project.


Currently I am on the verge of developing a doctoral thesis that has the following research question, to which I proposed myself to answer: How do journalists need to readapt to generation Z´s demands in terms of journalistic value?

When initiating the admission process for my PhD, I structured a speech that revolved around the key words of the question, while continuously maintaining the focused on those words, as certainly did Sir Ken Robinson when preparing his speech.


The main aspect that we want to highlight needs to be carefully reflected and previously chosen, may it be for…

With this method, we are not only centralizing our focused on a theme, rather in a lead – set of keywords / key ideas that allow us to go back to them whenever necessary throughout the presentation, serving only as main point of communication within our speech. This support will, most of all, provide us guidance, sense of safety, and transmits to the audience a coherent image in terms of our oratory.

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