Stoa Platform Speech Citation Tips

Stoa platform speech rules require: All direct quotations and primary sources must be cited verbally within the body of the speech. Use of another person’s words or ideas without crediting them is plagiarism and is strictly forbidden. (Stoa Platform Presentation rules #1)

For further guidelines please see the Script Submission Form

As you do your research, we recommend you immediately set up a free account with or another citation source to store all your citation information for later use in your Citation Page. You can always delete material you end up not using. Several citation systems exist, you must select one system with an in-text (parenthetical) method of citing sources and includes enough information to find the information in the works cited page.

For assistance with how to insert your citations into your speech, here is a video on verbal citations:

In-Text Citations (
Use in-text essay citations when you:
1. Add a direct quote to your essay.
2. Paraphrase an idea from a source.
3. Summarize information from a single source.
Although a quote from an expert can add impact to your essay, in most cases you should try to either paraphrase or summarize the information, using citation to reference your source. However, when you do use direct quotations, follow these rules:
Cite your source. Usually, when you use a quotation, it's appropriate to cite the author's name within the text. In that case, you need only to reference the page number of the quotation.
How to Cite Sources in a Speech
© 2016 Pretty Good | Techozoic 2.1.1 by Jeremy Clark.
Citing a source in a paper is easy. I come from an APA background, so all I have to do is quote some journal article or book and write: “(Woods, 2009).” But, saying that in a speech wouldn’t exactly flow: “Open parenthesis Woods two thousand nine page seven closed parenthesis” just sounds weird and takes too long to say. So, what can you do?
A Sore Cite – What Not to Do
First, let’s discuss some solutions that just don’t work.
Leaving citations out– The classic move of ignoring the problem only magnifies the problem. At best, people will wonder where all your information is coming from. At worst, you may be accused of plagiarism as the audience will think you are trying to claim the language or ideas as your own.
Citing sources at the end– A simple solution to the problem above: put the sources at the end! Unfortunately, the conclusion sounds like this: “And, in conclusion, I got my sources from…” followed by a list of vague sources. Why is this bad? Well, the conclusion is supposed to summarize the relevant information and assess the purpose of the speech, perhaps even urge us to action or provide the next steps. This one sounds like a reference page. That just doesn’t work. In addition, we have no idea which facts, figures, and quotes go to which sources (and if you only have one source, you better do some more research!).
That leaves us where we started: what can you do?
A Cite for Sore Eyes or Ears
Believe it or not, you can cite a source without disrupting the flow. Page numbers and the year of publication are not necessary, but you can add the name and the title of the work very easily. Observe:
“Mark Woods, author of ‘How to Prepare a Pretty Good Speech,’ states that…”
If you quote this author again, simply say: “According to Woods…”
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Information?
Magazine articles or web pages become a bit more difficult, but again, making mention of the author and the source can still be done:
“Literary critic Joan Smith, in a 2008 Writers on Written Stuff magazine article titled ‘What’s up with Citations?’ states…” (And, there’s no such author, magazine, or article. This was just purely an exercise.)
Yes, it’s a lot of information, but it helps to give the audience some background and context. From that point on, you can simply refer to “Smith” and not the article title or the magazine (unless you are quoting her from a different source).
The Effects of Added Effort
Ultimately, it’s important to weave in the sources as you speak. It lends a certain credibility to what you are saying through the accuracy (of your work) and by proxy (i.e. the credibility of the sources themselves). Taking the extra time to add the sources may feel like more work, but it’s the necessary effort needed to develop a better speech.
Long after the words and the sources are forgotten, it’s the impression you make that will be remembered. Be remembered as someone who develops a well-cited, well-developed speech. It’s amazing how little things like that can make a big difference over time.
Additional Source:
Colson Center Breakpoint Radio (these radio transcripts are great examples of citing sources verbally)
Note for Image Citations
Image citations should be included as a second “Image Citations” for Illustrated Oratory. They do not need to be cited in-text or verbally within the script.