Speech writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone

Speech writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone
Image Credit: Caleb Roenigk

If you want to be a good speaker, then you are going to have to deliver good speeches. Good speeches start by being writing well so that we can show people the importance of public speaking. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve never had any formal training in exactly how one should go about writing a speech. I think that I do it somewhere as a cross between writing a letter and jotting down some notes to myself. This might not be the secret to creating a memorable speech! So as speakers, if we want to improve our speaking ability it sure seems as though one way to make this happen would be to get better at writing speeches. But how?

Go Where The Pros Go

I think that we’d all be happy if we were able to write our speeches to be just a little bit more like those speeches that professional speech writers create. However, in order to do this you might think that you need to go back to school and learn how to become a professional speechwriter – who has the time to that? The good news here is that the basic set of information on how to write like a professional speechwriter is freely available to you.

What you are going to need to do is to locate and start to follow professional speakers organizations. Once you start to do this you’ll discover that they offer a wealth of resources that you can use to become a better speechwriter. What you’re going to want to do is to take a look on LinkedIn for the “National Association of American Speechwriters” group, the “European Speechwriter Network”, and the “U.K. Speechwriter’s Guild”. These organizations hold conferences, publish newsletters along with member’s speeches, and often offer workshops on improving your speech writing skills.

Get Social

Welcome to the 21st Century. There is a lot of chatter out there about speech writing, you just have to know how to go about finding it. One way to do this is to sign into Twitter and search for the hashtag “#speechwriting”. This will generally show you the tweets that come from speechwriters.

Social media in all of its forms can be a great asset to you. You should be able to find articles about speech writing that will offer you insights and tips on how to write better speeches. There will also be both criticism and commentary about recent speeches (especially during election season!). These forums give you an opportunity to post your own questions about how to become a better speechwriter.

Read How To Write Better Speeches

In order to become a better speechwriter, you are going to have to do some homework. What this means for you is that you are going to have to find the time to read professional speech writing articles and lists of tips. A great place to go to get this kind of information is over at Ragan Communications (http://www.ragan.com/Speechwriting/sw.aspx) where their website has an entire section dedicated to speechwriting tips. Another resource is Vital Speeches Of The Day (http://vsotd.com/) which has a great website and a free newsletter.

Build Your Library

When we sit down to write a speech, more often than not we are all alone. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. What we need to do is to first read great books on how to write speeches, and then we need to make sure that those books are within an arm’s reach when we are actually going through the process of writing a speech. There are a number of different titles that should find their way into your library including Peggy Noonan’s “Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech With Style” and Fletcher Dean’s “10 Steps To Writing a Vital Speech”.

What All Of This Means For You

If we want to become more effective as public speakers, one of the things that we’re going to have to do is to create powerful speeches. In order to become better at speech writing, we just may need some help if we want to communicate the benefits of public speaking. A good place to go looking for some help with writing speeches is to find out where the professional speechwriters hang out.

One place where you can find them is in LinkedIn groups. If you join these groups, you’ll be able to get access to the organizations in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. Another place to go looking for assistance is in the world of Social Media. Knowing how to find speech-writing messages and who to “follow” can be the key here. Finally, we need to take the time to read up on how to write better speeches and when we are done reading something, we need to add it to our speech writing library so that it will be available to us when we are creating a speech.

The good news about becoming a better speechwriter is that this is a skill. Like every other skill it is one that can be learned, practiced, and improved upon. If we take the time to hunt down the right sources, people who do this kind of thing for a living, then we can learn from them and by doing so we will become better at writing our own speeches!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How much time each week do you think that you should spend studying how to get better at writing speeches?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Do you speak like a girl or like a boy? It turns out that how you speak may have very little to do with the gender selection that you received at birth. Way back in the past, people tended to think that everyone pretty much spoke the same way. Over time people started to understand that there were speaking differences between the way that men and women expressed the importance of public speaking. Many people felt that women’s communications patterns can affirm their subordinate role in society while men have more of a take charge speaking style. Are we bound to one way of speaking based on our gender?

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To give an effective speech, you need to capture your audience's attention

To give an effective speech, you need to capture your audience’s attention
Image Credit: Evelyn Berg

If we can all agree that this giving of speeches stuff takes a lot of effort on our parts in order to share the importance of public speaking with our audience, then perhaps we should all try to agree on just exactly what our goal should be when we give a speech? In my opinion, an effective speech is one in which you are able to capture your audience’s attention and then hold on to it for the entire speech. I realize that this may sound like a good thing to do, but the real question that we are all facing now is just exactly how do you go about doing this?

Concrete Words Are What You Build A Speech On

One of the most important decisions that we need to make when we are creating a speech is to determine what impact we want to have on our audience. Are we going to be talking about something that will be happening way off in the future (global warming) or something that is happening right now (more funding for our schools)? If what we are talking about has not happened yet, then we can get away with using big, vague terms to attempt to inspire our audience. However, if what we are talking about requires immediate action on their part, then we will be better served by using concrete nouns and action verbs.

Our goal here is to help our audience picture what the future could look like if they were to take action to implement what we are talking about. This means that our words have to help them to create very vivid mental images of what this future could look like. In order to make this happen, you need to describe what you are talking about in such vivid detail that your audience will be able to clearly picture it. If you can make this happen, then it will be more powerful than the best slide that you could possibly present to them.

Humor Is Your Friend

We all like to laugh and our audiences like to laugh also. If we can work some humor into our next speech, then our audience will enjoy the speech more and they’ll start to pay attention because they believe that we’re going to make them laugh again. We do need to be careful because laughter is a two edged sword. There may be things that make us laugh that our audience won’t find funny.

The power of laughter comes from what it does to our audience. If we can find the right way to use humer, then it has the possibility to win your audience over. What we need to understand is that laughter is one way that we can use to allow our audience to come to know us. If we use humor in our speech then we’ll be able to connect with our audience via shared laughter.

It’s All About The Ending

It really does not matter how wonderful your speech was if you don’t have a good way of wrapping things up. We all need to understand that how we end our speech is what will form the final impression that our audience will take away from attending our speech. A weak ending will leave your audience with the overall impression that your speech, no matter how well done, was not a strong speech.

In order to make the end of your speech as strong as it can be, make sure that everyone knows that you are going to be wrapping things up by signaling to your audience that you are starting your closing. Your closing is where you are going to want to review the main points that you’ve covered during your speech so that they will be remembered. Don’t allow a Q&A session diminish the ending of your speech. Instead, handle questions shortly before the end of the speech and then take control once again and wrap things up. If it is at all possible, try to use a story at the end of the speech that shows the powerful impact of your message.

What All Of This Means For You

As long as we are going to go to the effort of creating a speech, we need to make sure that we’re not wasting our time. We want to both capture and hold our audience’s attention in order to share the benefits of public speaking. In order to do that, we’re going to have to make sure that we create a speech that will allow us to do this.

When we are trying to get our audience to take immediate action, we need to be sure to use concrete words and action verbs. In order to create a connection with our audience, we need to take the time to work some humor into our speech and make them laugh with us. How good of a speech that we give won’t matter if we don’t end on a strong note. We need to make sure that we don’t allow anything to interfere with how we wrap up our speech.

The good news is that it is possible to give a speech that will capture your audience’s attention. You just have to take the time and make sure that your speech contains all of the necessary elements that will be required in order to make this happen. Spend some time the next time you create a speech and make sure that you capture your audience with your speech.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How much humor do you think that you can add to a speech before the humor starts to take away from the speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you want to be a good speaker, then you are going to have to deliver good speeches. Good speeches start by being writing well so that we can show people the importance of public speaking. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve never had any formal training in exactly how one should go about writing a speech. I think that I do it somewhere as a cross between writing a letter and jotting down some notes to myself. This might not be the secret to creating a memorable speech! So as speakers, if we want to improve our speaking ability it sure seems as though one way to make this happen would be to get better at writing speeches. But how?

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