3 Speechwriting Secrets From The Experts

by drjim on June 11, 2013

Speechwriting secrets are meant to be shared

Speechwriting secrets are meant to be shared
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The next time that you have to sit down and write a speech, wouldn’t it be great if you could just pick up the phone and have some expert speechwriters come over to your home and lend a hand? Well I’ve got some good news, I might not be able to get the experts to come over to your house, but I picked their brains and I’m going to spill all of their secrets just for you…

It’s All About The Opening

I’m hoping that we can all agree that the next speech that you’ll be writing will have three main parts to it: an opening, a middle, and a close. This, of course, brings up the interesting question: based on the importance of public speaking, which part is the most important part? We could debate this all day, but I’m hoping that we can all agree that the opening is a very important part, if not the most important part.

What this means is that you want to make sure that when you write your opening, you do it correctly. The experts who are very good at writing speeches have a suggestion for us. They tell us to skip the opening when we sit down to write our next speech. Instead, spend your time writing the middle and the closing parts of your speech.

Once you have all of that done, you’ll have a good understanding of exactly what you are going to want to say during your speech. With this knowledge in hand, you are now ready to write your opening. You’ll be able to craft an opening that will clearly lead into the rest of your speech because you’ll have a firm understanding of what you’ll be saying in the later parts.

Have You Done Your Homework?

The best speeches tell your audience things that they don’t already know. What this means for you as a speaker is that you’ve got some homework to do before you write your next speech. You are going to want to include facts and stats that your audience has not heard before.

Writing a speech is hard work. Collecting all of the background research that you are going to need in order to write a good speech is even harder. However, you can simplify your life if you do what the great speechwriters do. They are always in “research mode” and they collect bits of information and file it away as they go through their day.

There are a lots of ways to do this. Yes, you can use a shoebox to keep all of those newspaper articles that you run across. However, since we spend so much time online these days, you may want to also use online tools like Evernote which allow you to “clip” web pages that you encounter which have information that you’d like to save.

Writing For The Ear

Back in high school we all learned how to write a paper. However, it’s important that you understand that writing a speech is not the same thing. The experts remind us that the paper that we wrote back in school was intended for the eye of the reader. The speech that we are now writing is intended for the ear of your audience.

What this means for you is that you are going to have to use your words differently. You are going to want to build mental images in the minds of your audience. At the same time, you are going to want to use both phrases and stories that will form a lasting impression with your audience.

The words that you use will also be different than the words that you would write. Generally speaking, you will want to speak in more of a conversational style that consists of shorter sentences, include more contractions, and you’ll use overall simpler language.

What All Of This Means For You

Before you can deliver a great speech, you first have to write a great speech. Despite knowing the benefits of public speaking, none of us have ever been taught how to craft a really good speech. That’s why it’s well worth our time to listen to what the experts have to tell us.

The people who know how to create a great speech tell us that the speech opening should be written last after we know what we really want to say. The content of the speech should be based on all of the research that we need to be collecting all of the time. Finally, there is a difference in how we write our speeches when they are designed to be heard and not read.

Writing a speech that will help you to effectively deliver your message to your audience is as much of an art as it is a skill. Listen to what the experts are telling us and the next speech that you write will help you to do a better job of changing the world, one speech at a time!

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

Question For You: When you write the opening to your speech, do you think that you need to tell your audience what you are going to be telling them?

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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!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Humor is hard. Humor in speeches is extra hard. However, humor is also a key part of getting your audience to realize the importance of public speaking. Your chances of connecting with your audience and getting your point across increases dramatically if you can work humor into your next speech. What’s a speaker to do?

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