3 Secrets To Writing A Really Great Speech

by drjim on December 13, 2011

Writing a great speech is the first step in delivering a great speech

Writing a great speech is the first step in delivering a great speech

When it’s really important that a speech that you’re giving make an impact on your audience, then it’s going to be really important that you do a good job of writing the speech. Hmm, so I’m sure that you can write a speech, but do you know how to write a great speech? It turns out that there are three characteristics that every great speech has (that are even more important than presentation tips!)

Clarity

As we write our speech, we can get caught up in what we believe to be the importance of public speaking and end up trying to use flowery words and fancy descriptions in an effort to “wow” our audience. Author Philip Yaffe reminds us that we need to resist the urge to do this – focus on maximizing your speech’s clarity.

You need to do some planning before you start to write your speech. What you need to identify is what your key points are. You’ve probably heard this before, but it can’t hurt for you to hear it again. You need to start at the end and identify what points you want your audience to walk away from your speech with.

Just as important as it is to take the time to figure out what you want to share with your audience, it is just as important to determine what you don’t want to burden your audience with. Too much of the wrong things can leave your audience confused about what the purpose of your speech was.

Conciseness

One of the main problems that every speaker has is with time. How long should you speak? Your goal when giving a speech is to (sorry for the dated reference) is to make it like a lady’s skirt – long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep interest.

The key will be to write your speech out then have the courage to come back and do some cutting. Your goal should be to remove everything that doesn’t have to be in the speech. If you do this well, then what remains should be just the bare essence of what you want to tell you audience – and that’s perfect.

Density

Although none of us really like to think about our speeches as being “dense”, Yaffee makes the point that what’s important is how you describe things within your speech.

What you want to do is to be very precise – you want to choose your words so that each word conveys the maximum amount of information. You don’t want to have to make your audience have to practice their listening skills. Not only do your words need to be precise but they also need to be linked together – one idea needs to lead to the next. Doing this well will allow you audience to follow along with your speech and arrive at the conclusion that you want them to get to.

What This All Means For You

Knowing how to write a speech is good skill to have. Knowing how to write a great speech is a skill that we should all be working to have. It turns out that all great speeches have three characteristics in common: clarity, conciseness, and density.

Great speeches are clear and easy for your audience to understand. One of the benefits of public speaking is that you can make this happen by ensuring that you emphasize what’s important and stay away from what’s not. You need to make sure that your speech is long enough to cover the points that you want to make, but no longer. And finally, you need to make sure that within your speech you use precise information and don’t make your audience struggle to understand what your point is.

It is possible to write a great speech. The key is to be able to combine the three key ingredients, clarity, conciseness, and density in a way that will allow your audience to understand and connect with your message.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to make sure that the speech that you’ve written is long enough, but not too long?

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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!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dick K December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am

Good post–wish more folks would adopt those points, especially the conciseness! A good speech takes work, I’m reminded of:

“It takes me about three weeks to write a good impromptu speech.”
Mark Twain.

Keep up the battle to save us from fuzzy and boring speeches and presentations.

Dick

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson December 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Dick: Bingo! I’ve had to sit through a few speeches lately in which it was clear that the speaker had spent a lot of time working on his slides, but not on his speech!

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