Writing a Stump Speech: Your Central Speech Idea

Happy Monday to you and welcome back to part three of the speech series. This one focuses on writing a stump speech which is basically a political oratory that formally addresses an audience. So, got something to say? Say it loud with these tips!

The main purposes of a stump speech are:

  • To communicate political ideas and proposals to solve problems.
  • A call to action to your audience’s behaviour.
  • A good one can be used over and over again to guarantee not just applause, but to make a connection with the audience.

With a stump speech you ask the usual: 

  • Who is the audience?
  • What are the three key messages?

It is very important to know what your central idea of the speech is. The stump speech has a major goal to unify the audience and to persuade it to act on three specific issues. And remember: no more than three (there’s power in three’s). So, what is your message, your mission statement and your vision? Write it down in a maximum of 15 to 20 words. Remember, writing a stump speech is creating a message about an issue or issues the audience must remember. For example:

  1. Describe the situation or issues you want to change, improve or perhaps strengthen; the big picture.
  2. Tell where the existing situation leads to.
  3. Explain why and how.
  4. Describe what your opponents want, and why that’s wrong.
  5. Tell what you want to do about it, how you want to achieve your goal. What are your solutions, plans and proposals?
  6. List the people who support you and believe in you.
  7. Offer a step-by-step how to plan. What would you change or do first, and then next? This is a perfect opportunity to formulate a three or five point plan to reach goals.
  8. Urge the public to support this issue and repeat the mission-statement.
Shot courtesy Creative Commons

Shot courtesy Creative Commons

Provide educational proofs to construct your claim. That is the basis of every persuasive and informative special occasion speech. Offer them:


  1. Facts, figures, statistics and expert testimonies. Research is crucial.
  2. Concrete examples.
  3. Personal stories and anecdotes.
  4. Vivid descriptions.
  5. A catchy analysis of the issue’s political aspects and dimensions.

Example of a great Stump Speech (shortened for length):

I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.

It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government.”

This idea — that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power — is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.”

The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

And finally…

The key messages may be the same but they are tailored to each audience. For example a stump speech to a major assembly of diplomats on anti-corruption may have the same key messages as one to a minority community, or to an audience of activists, or to the media. It’s all about finding your voice and delivering it in a way that will translate to the people you want to target.

Have any methods on how you write a speech? Let me know at info@releaseyourvoice.com. Good luck!

About releaseyourvoices

Release Your Voice with Pamela Hart: Public Speaking training based in Vancouver BC. We offer training seminars, oral presentation skills, corporate communication, private lessons or group training
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