The Brown Bag Speech

What the Heck is a Brown Bag Speech?

This speech is going to be fun.  It is more of an informal type speech and really won't require any research.  It will require some creativity and some critical thinking however.

The Objective- You will be able to construct and perform a three to five-minute speech describing your self-concept and your goals.

The Assignment- Take “any old bag” and fill it with no less than four and no more than seven items that will help to describe who you are. There should be one to represent your past, one to represent your present, and one to represent your possible future plus at least one other item. These other items could symbolize likes, dislikes, honors, goals, achievements or wishes. Give a speech in which you explain the stories behind each items and tie the items together to demonstrate your identity. The speech will be three to five minutes in length. As always you will need to practice to get a feel for how long it is.

Three 3x5 note cards will be allowed.

Rude audience behavior will drop your own speech grade.

Directions-Create an outline for your speech, following the sample outline format. You need not have complete sentences in your outline but it must be typed using our standard classroom writing conventions. Follow the format and clearly follow your speech. If it is highlighted in the Brown Bag Speech Outline Example include the title in your speech outline, if it is italicized don’t put it on your outline-it is just there to let you know what to put. All roman numerals, letters and numbers must be included.

Step 1: Determine What Four to Seven Items You Will Use

Take a peak around and find the items you would like to use to help show us who you are.

Step 2: Develop Your Thesis and Main Points

Your Thesis is what you want your audience to remember. For example: Your topic is your self concept. You want your audience to remember you.

Here is a separate paper specific to developing your thesis. That paper will also clearly show you the difference between a thesis statement and a purpose statement, make sure you read it.

Once you have your thesis develop your main points. Main points in this case will be each of your items, simple.

Step Three: Support Your Main Points

Now that you have your thesis and main points it is time to put your brain to work and plug in the supportive facts for each of your items/main points. You will want to describe, illustrate, define and clarify your materials. You will want to create interest and tie your items to each other as well as a great story on how each item describes you.

Step Four: Organize Your Speech Materials

Organizing your speech with an outline will help you know your material without having to write and read your materials verbatim. This is a simple process you will do for most speeches and can be used for most papers for that matter.  In 9th Speech you will have an outline for each speech you create.

  1. Start with your title, topic and purpose.
  2. Move on to your introduction.
  3. Then to your main points and supported materials for each.
  4. Then your conclusion.

Finally, plug-in your transitional statements between each section.

There will not be a draft that will be turned in, you will create your outline and turn it in when the speech presentations are due. You can see an Brown Bag Speech Outline Example.

Step Five: Word Your Speech

Make what you say intelligent, but make sure you do not talk down to your audience. Choose simple words over complicated. If some of the words pertaining to the speech are complicated define them for the audience so they better understand what you are talking about.

Use lots of pronouns: I, me, you, our. Avoid contractions such as can't, cannot, I'll. Try not to write your speech word for word. You will lose the conversation factor that is essential to giving a good speech. Instead use your outline. Always title your speech with something simple but catchy.

Step Six: Construct Your Introduction, Conclusion and Transitions


  1. The purpose of an introduction is to gain your listeners attention. You can do this by finding a touching story, telling a joke, using an interesting fact or anything else that is creative.
  2. Then you want to make a connection between you, the topic, and the audience. This is simple; just tell them why you are speaking on the topic you have chosen.
  3. Last, introduce what you will be talking about, like a summary of events. Your summary may be your main points, or just what you want them to know after listening to your speech.


  1. The purpose of a conclusion is to summarize your ideas.
  2. Develop a creative ending that makes your audience remember you and your speech.

Transitions: The purpose of transitions is to make each part of your speech flow naturally.

Here are some of the resources to help with this section

Introduction and conclusion paper

Transitional words and phrases

Step Seven: Rehearse Your Speech


Rehearse your speech at least a dozen times OUT LOUD from start to finish. Use a full length mirror; practice your facial expression and your body language. Make sure your are using the correct pronunciation. Practice using your outline and visual aid effectively. Your audience can tell if you have practiced. This speech is much more informal than other speeches we have done or will be doing. Focus on your introduction, transition statements and conclusion.

Step Eight: Present Your Speech

When it is your turn, go to the front of the classroom with enthusiasm. This will hide your nervousness. Notice when you are speaking, do you sounds quiet or loud? Adjust accordingly. Maintain eye contact with your whole audience not just a few people or just the teacher.

Brown Bag Present Rubric

Brown Bag Outline_Rubric

Other Directions and information

The brown bag speech has several components that you will be graded on. There is one grade for your outline and one grade for your speech itself. It will be fairly simple.  Focus on good posture, eye contact, vocal projection and simply talk about your items.

Presentation Length
The speech needs to be 3-5 minutes long. Your visual aid is your items that you bring in a bag.

Remember, during a speech, the average person speaks at twice his/her normal rate. Make certain you have five minutes worth of material. Practice, practice, practice.