Here is a public speaking checklist that I prepared for the new edition of my Essential Elements of Public Speaking but I think it should be useful to just about any student preparing a speech--regardless of the textbook used. For those using the 3rd edition of EEPS, you'll note that the steps have been reorganized a bit--I think it makes better sense this way. The 4th edition follows the steps as noted here. I'd be very interested in hearing in you find this a useful aid.
Public Speaking Checklist
Step 1. Select your topic, general and specific purposes, and your thesis.
o Is the topic substantive, appropriate, and culturally sensitive?
o Is the topic limited so that you cover a small topic in some depth?
o Is your purpose worded as an infinitive, focused on the audience, limited to one idea, limited to what you can reasonably accomplish, and phrased with precise terms?
o Is the thesis limited to one central idea, stated as a complete declarative sentence, useful for generating main points and suggesting organizational patterns, and focuses audience's attention?
Step 2. Analyze your audience: Seek to discover what is unique about your listeners and how you might adapt your speech to them.
o Have you taken into consideration the age, gender, affectional orientation, educational levels, religion, and culture of the audience and have you adapted your speech in light of these characteristics?
o Have you taken into consideration additional audience and context characteristics?
o Have you taken into consideration the audience's willingness, favorableness, and knowledge of your subject and adapted to these factors?
Step 3. Research your topic so that you know as much as you possibly can.
o Is your speech adequately researched (is the research current, reliable, and appropriate to the topic)?
o Have you incorporated research citations into your speech?
Step 4. Collect your supporting materials.
o Are the supporting materials varied, interesting, and relevant to the topic?
o Are your presentation aids clear, well organized, and tested?
Step 5. Develop your main points.
o Do the main points support your thesis?
o Are the main points few in number, focused on your audience, and worded as separate and discrete?
Step 6. Organize your main points into an easily comprehended pattern.
o Is your speech organized into a logical pattern?
o Will the audience be able to understand the organizational pattern you use?
Step 7. Construct your introduction, conclusion, and transitions.
o Does the introduction gain attention, establish a speaker–audience–topic connection, and orient the audience?
o Does the conclusion summarize, motivate, and close?
o Do the transitions hold the parts together and make going from one part to another clear to your audience.
Step 8. Word your speech, focusing on being as clear as possible.
o Is the language clear, vivid, appropriate, and personal?
o Are the sentences powerful, short, direct, active, positive, and varied in type?
Step 9. Rehearse your speech until you feel confident and comfortable with the material and with your audience interaction.
o Have you rehearsed the speech from beginning to end sufficiently?
o Have you rehearsed the speech a sufficient number of times?
Step 10. Present your speech to your intended audience.
o Does your voice use appropriate volume, rate, pitch, pausing, articulation and pronunciation?
o Do your general appearance, eye contact, facial expressions, posture, dress, gestures, and movements contribute to your speech purpose?