How To Write A Speech That Will Capture Your Audience’s Attention

by drjim on June 4, 2013

Good speechwriters know how to capture and hold their audience's attention

Good speechwriters know how to capture and hold their audience’s attention
Image Credit

When it comes time to sit down and write your next speech, are you going to be worried that you’ll end up boring your audience? You know what I mean, they’re paying some attention to you, but you can clearly see that their minds are a million miles away. Since we know about the importance of public speaking, we can’t let that happen! Instead, when you write that speech you need to use the techniques that are going to allow you to both capture and hold onto your audience’s attention during your entire speech…

It’s All About What The Audience Wants To Hear

I’m hoping that one thing that we can agree on is that if as a speaker you talk to your audience about something that they really don’t care about, you’ll never be able to capture and hold their attention. What that means is that if you do the opposite, you should be able to capture their attention.

A good speechwriter starts out by thinking about his or her audience. What are the so-called “pain points” in their lives right now? What issues are troubling them the most? Early on in your speech you are going to want to tell them that you are going to be tackling how to solve one of these pain points during your speech.

There is an old saying that floats around in the world of speaking that goes like this: “…tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them…” This may have worked once upon a time; however, it no longer works. Today’s audiences move too fast to sit through you telling them the same thing over and over again.

Instead, as a speaker you need to do one more thing in order to capture your audience’s attention. You need to tell them “why” you are going to be sharing your knowledge with them. What this means is that you need to let your audience know why what you’ll be telling them is important to them – how is it going to affect their lives?

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Critic

Creating a great speech is not an easy thing to do. Too many speeches never see the light of day for one simple reason: the speechwriter does not allow that to happen.

We all know that the first version of our speech is going to be the worst version. However, where many of us struggle is in trying to find the best way to get from the first version to the last version.

A lot of us will start to edit our own speech even as we are in the process of writing it. This is a big mistake. What can easily happen is that we get ourselves locked in an endless cycle of constantly revising what we’ve just written and we never have enough time to actually finish writing the speech.

The correct way to write a speech is to just sit down and write the thing from start to finish with the understanding that what you’ll be producing will not be perfect. Yes, you’ll have editing to do; however, train yourself to put that editing off until you have the entire speech written. By doing this you’ll be able to edit a complete speech, not just a few lines here and there.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to both capture and hold your audience’s attention so that you can deliver the benefits of public speaking during your next speech, you are going to have create a speech that will make this happen. This starts with you knowing how to create a great speech.

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the speech that you are writing starts out by talking about an issue that is of great importance to your audience. By capturing their attention, you’ll be able to hold on to it throughout your speech. Be careful that as you write your speech you don’t self-edit yourself too much.

You can write a great speech! You simply need to understand what your audience is looking for and you need to make sure that you don’t stand in your own way in delivering it to them. The great thing about an audience that you’ve captured is that they won’t mind being captured and they’ll ask you to do it again!

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

Question For You: Do you think that you can tackle two audience pain points in a single speech or only one?

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

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…

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jared June 7, 2013 at 8:53 am

I totally agree – DON’T edit your speech as you’re writing it! Just dump all your thoughts on paper – you can always edit it later!

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson June 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Jared: I fully agree — but do you know just how hard that can be to do?

Reply

jared June 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Hi Jim,
Yes, I agree, it can be very hard. But, I think if you start with the goal of just generating ideas and thoughts, then you can focus on just that for a period of time. And then, once you have a lot of thoughts on paper, you can turn your attention to the goal of writing the speech.

Reply

Jenny Moore March 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

I am writing an outline and a full essay for a informative speech on Celiac Disease. I have experienced this condition and diet for many years with my son, Trent.

I really don’t have a problem of writing an essay, but I know nothing about giving a speech where young and older adults will want to listen about celiac disease. Especially, if they have some knowledge of this disease or if they know nothing at all.
I need to get their attention quick. Thought about using props like menus, setting up a small comparison of gluten or gluten free small table with food. Also, using the story of my son and how it changed the way we eat for the rest of our lives. Any suggestions?

Reply

drjim March 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Jenny: in order to grab the attention of your audience when you are talking about any illness is to challenge them — do they have Celiac Disease and not know it? This will get their attention and you can then dive into discussing how you discovered that your son has the disease and what the symptoms are. Good luck!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: