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How to Write an Abstract for a Speech


Writing an abstract for a speech may be the difference between fully understanding the material presented or simply being physically present without having truly acquired the information. Knowing that you will be writing an abstract is a useful way to keep focused during a speech, and it gives purpose to taking notes. An abstract for a speech also might be used to promote a speaker’s upcoming presentation. In this case, the abstract becomes another marketing tool to get people interested enough in the subject to attend the actual speech. In either case, writing the abstract follows the same rules.

Define the space limits of your abstract. The most common length is between 100 and 300 words. If your abstract will be published somewhere such as a website that will be promoting the speech, then you should find out if the website publisher has length requirements.

Write an outline of the main points of the speech.

Write a summary of the speech using the main points from the outline you created as a guide. Make sure all relevant learning points are included in the summary.

Edit your summary until it meets the space requirements of your abstract. If you must remove some of the main points you identified in your outline, then you should remove the least important points first.

Title your abstract the same as your speech.

Submit your abstract to your publisher or teacher for review.

Tip
  • Abstracts are summaries of research, papers, articles or speeches. Speech abstracts are most often used as marketing and teaching tools. Abstracts used for marketing a speech will be most successful if they focus on a few main ideas that will encourage people to attend the speech. Using the same words to describe these main ideas will also help with Internet searches if the abstract is published on a website.
Warning
  • Rarely will a first draft of an abstract be good enough to fulfill its purpose. Summaries are difficult to write for many people, including experienced writers. Make sure you have plenty of time to work on your abstract and expect to write several drafts before being finished with the task.
About the Author

With over 15 years writing experience, Lee's published work includes company newsletters, direct mail, articles, press releases, ghostwriting and website copy. As a communications / marketing consultant, Lee has worked on everything from marketing to communications, and executive presence to presentation skills. Lee has a M.A. from University of Illinois.

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