It’s not what you say, but what they hear! Master speech writing techniques and develop effective talking-points to make your speeches compelling, understandable and memorable.


Presenting an organization's policies and work convincingly to live audiences is a core leadership responsibility that requires smart supporting teamwork. Any speaker wants the audience to be impressed, and to hear a subliminal message: 'That was good. This speaker is a real leader. More please!'

This online programme enables participants to prepare clear, engaging and memorable talking-points and speeches for any occasion - both for senior colleagues and themselves. It covers key principles of public speaking and practical techniques for making drafts lively and easy to use.

Coursework draws on real-life UN examples, including 'live' work shared by course participants.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Describe and start applying key speechwriting principles and techniques, while detecting and addressing past issues encountered in drafting, delivering or organizing a speech within the UN context
  • Analyse and identify structures, signposts, stories and other practical tools which make a speech effective and engaging to the audience
  • Prepare effective presentations with the help of visual effects
  • Remove ‘verbose words’, use simple but effective language, and adapt the speech according to the audience
  • Apply pros and cons of different approaches to live audiences while developing talking-points and writing speeches
Course methodology

This course is delivered online. It combines synchronized online sessions in our virtual classroom, led by subject experts, with self-paced activities and interactive group discussions. 

This course uses a flipped classroom approach where participants go through recorded webinar each week at their own pace, complete weekly activities and post on discussion forums. The instructor provides feedback to the posts from week one to four. During this period there will be no live webinars.

During week five, participants complete and submit an assignment based on the learnings from week one to four. They will then participate in a live webinar with the instructor from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Rome Time (8:00 am – 10:00 am New York Time). 

The webinar session will be conducted on the Zoom online platform. Participants need a computer (or mobile device), a reliable internet connection and either a headset with microphone or a telephone to connect to the audio through the computer. We recommend accessing audio through the computer. No special software is required but participants must be able to access Zoom, so please check the admin rights on your computer. 

We will send instructions for Zoom access to registered participants. We recommend you download the application and test your access in advance. 

The self-paced components and discussion forum for each week of the course are designed and structured on UNKampus, UNSSC’s Learning Platform.

Approximate time commitment to fully participate in this course (completing pre-work, attending webinars, forum discussions, etc.) is 4-6 hours per week. 

Course contents

Week 1: Public speaking in the UN family: problems and solutions 

Identify key problems with UN family public speaking; avoid jargon and managing ‘sensitivities’; recognize and apply basic principles of successful speaking. 

Week 2: What makes an effective speech?  

Get the right tone, start and finish strong and engage your audience effectively. 

Week 3: Practical aspects of preparing talking-points/short speech  

Lay out talking-points to make them easy to use, identify the tones to use in various events, engage with the speaker with details, and tweet if needed to make the event more successful. 

Week 4: Speaking-notes and speechwriting within the UN system 

Discover how talking-points and short speeches are prepared within the UN system as well as useful cultural differences in public speaking. 

Week 5: Participants’ videos and key messages 

Practice, prepare and deliver an effective short speech, evaluated by your peers and the course instructor. 

Target audience

Special Assistants, Communication, Public information and information Officers, Coordination Specialists, Programme Staff, Team Leaders and Thematic Specialists who tend to have the responsibility of preparing speeches for management.

Cost of participation

The course fee of $1,100 covers full participation in the online course.