How to Cite a Speech in APA Style: Guide with Examples

Citing a speech in APA 7th edition style is one of those challenges that many students face these days when they have to provide support for an argument or an idea. When you are majoring in Law or Political Sciences, dealing with speeches in various formats is inevitable. To learn how to cite a speech in APA format, you must start with a template and see the examples that we provide. Luckily, APA 7 manual style makes it easy to create a reference. The only thing that you have to consider is the type of speech and the format of the original source. It will help your target audience and the college professor to see how to locate the speech and what medium has been used. 

How to Cite a Speech in APA: Main Rules

Let us review the information that you have to include when you need to reference a speech in your paper. For example, when you are dealing with an audio recording that represents some speech available online, you must mention the speaker, the date when it has been recorded, and place the speech title in italics. Also, you must use square brackets as this is where you must specify the type of your speech. It should look like [Speech audio recording]. Then you have to add the website's name where the speech can be downloaded (heard) and add the URL. While it is not obligatory as you learn how to cite a speech in APA style, you may specify the timestamp to help your readers find the location as you use the in-text citation. Let's sum things up:

APA Speech Template

Speaker's Last Name, Initial(s). (Year, Month Day). Title of your speech. [Speech audio recording]. Website's Name. URL

APA Speech Reference

Luther King, M. Jr. (1968 April 4). I've been to the Mountaintop. [Speech audio recording]. American Rhetoric.


(Luther King, 1968, 2:17)

As for the other types and formats of a speech that can be cited in APA style, you may be dealing with a conference, a paper presentation, or deal with the personal communication source. Now, if you have to cite a TED Talk or something that has been uploaded to YouTube, you must use the referencing conventions for video citations since it is a different quote type.

Citing a Paper Presentation

When you are asked to cite a paper presentation that is related to an academic conference by turning to APA 7th edition style, you should use the following rules. Remember to include the date by stating the range of days as you can see below:

APA Citation Template

Author's Last Name, Initial(s). (Year, Month Day-Day). Title of the Document [Paper presentation]. Conference Name, City, State, Country. URL

APA Citation Reference

Holmes, N. (2015, May 11-15). Social disparity and the challenges of the school attendance problem in Scotland [Paper presentation]. SSNCV 2015: Education in Scotland Open Conference, Aberdeen, UK.

APA Speech in-Text

(Holmes, 2015)

Note: when you have to cite a published conference that comes from an academic journal or a book that is available in print, the APA 7th manual recommends using the relevant citation rules for each specific source. Using APA how to cite a speech rules means that you should either choose the book citation style or the academic journal referencing system. 

Citing Speeches as Personal Communications

There are also specific scenarios when it is not possible to access the speech that has been cited because it has not been recorded and the transcript that you may have has not been a part of the official conference. In such a case, you must turn to the personal communications style that is offered by the APA style format. It is common for those cases when the target audience members are not able to access the piece of cited data themselves. If something belongs to sources that are not retrievable, it does not appear in the list of references. It includes personal communications as well. When dealing with such a reference type, you only have to mention it in your in-text citation.

Personal Communication Citation Example: 

The subject of domestic violence in Chicago's suburbs has been researched in the speech (R. Barley, personal communication, June 4, 2022). 

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