When you are creating a speech, how quickly can you go from idea to having a speech that is ready to give? Does it take you an hour, a day, a week, or a month? If you are like most of us, this is not something that happens quickly. However, it turns out that you may be able to speed up the process. It turns out that in order to make this happen, it’s not what you have to start doing, but rather what you need to stop doing.
Why Does It Take So Long To Create A Speech?
So here’s an interesting question for you: how much time do you have to devote to preparing a speech? Days? Weeks? Months? Do you find yourself both writing and rewriting your material? How much time do you end up spending practicing your speech as you struggle to commit it to your memory? I think that we can all agree that it would be fantastic if we were able to be able to prepare a speech the day before we are scheduled to give it and then easily deliver it and not have to memorize it word for word?
I think that we are all jealous of those people who have a photographic memory and can easily memorize a speech by just looking at it. However, this approach does not work for most of us. We need to understand that there are three things that can bog down our speechwriting process. The first is consistently choosing speech material that we are unfamiliar with. The next is when we write out our speech word for word. The last thing that slows us down is when we decide to memorize and practice the speech that we have created word for word, trying to strictly adhere to our “script” for the speech.
So what can we do about the delays that we run into when we are trying to prepare a speech? The first thing that we need to understand is that choosing a topic that is unfamiliar to us – one that requires us to perform research – automatically will make preparing a speech a time consuming task. In addition to needing to research the information, you will need to spend time studying and then remembering the material simply because it will all be new to you. Alternatively, if you choose a familiar subject or personal life experience as your topic this will shorten your preparation time dramatically. In this case you will already know the subject and you will just need to decide how to present it. Note that I am not suggesting that you never deliver a speech that requires you to do additional background work; indeed, when you do this it is a valuable learning experience for you. However, if you choose unfamiliar speech topics then you set yourself up for spending excessive preparation time.
Creating Speeches That Don’t Require Memorization
When you take the time to write your speech out word for word will make you feel that you have the need to memorize it word for word. Let’s all agree that this is time-consuming and can also wreak havoc when you deliver your speech. Spend some time thinking about how many times have you have seen speakers flounder for words, having memorized their speech and then all of sudden forgotten a word or two when delivering it. Suddenly, there they are in front of the room and they find themselves at a loss on how to continue. They will frantically start to check their notes, if indeed they have them, to try to find where they left off, and then they hope to continue, hoping not to lose their place once again. This situation can break up the flow of a speech. It also risks losing the audience’s attention and ends up throwing off the speaker.
Rather than trying to do a word-for-word memorization, you need to consider the information you want to include in the speech and then create an outline of the material that you will be presenting. To make things flow smoothly, you may want to take time to memorize the both the opening and closing. For the body of the speech, you just need to know the ideas from your outline, and the telling of it will come to you naturally as you give your speech. You need to trust that you will know what is familiar to you when you need to know it. Note that when you prepare a speech this way, there is no speech that has been written out. The outline that you will be creating comprises only ideas grouped together in the order that you plan on telling the story. You know the story and so there is no need for you to write it out word for word.
Your next step will be to practice your speech. You need to realize that each time you practice it, it will of course come off a little differently. This is because you are not memorizing it. The wording may be a little different each time that you deliver the speech, and the gestures and body language may also be a bit different, but the important thing is that the storyline and information you share will always be the same. It will be important that you make sure that you time yourself each time you practice. You are going to want to note the time when key parts of your speech begin in order to allow you to mentally assess whether some on-the-spot editing will be required to finish on time. This is why we don’t memorize a speech word for word: it gives us much more flexibility in delivery. There is no more “losing your place.” Next time you have an opportunity to give a speech, don’t memorize it line by line. Instead, focus on your content, practice your delivery without memorizing your speech, always be aware of your time, and then go out there and wow your audience!
What All Of This Means For You
It’s never easy to prepare a speech that we will be delivering. However, it always seems to take us a long time from when we start the process until we feel that we have a speech that is ready to go. If we take a careful look at why this takes so long, we’ll realize that there are several factors involved that can significantly slow us down. The good news is that with this knowledge, we can take steps to speed things up.
We would all like to be able to memorize what we want to say in our next speech just be looking at a piece of paper, but few of us can do that. Instead, what many of us try to do is to write our speeches out word-for-word and then we try to memorize them. When we do this we run the risk of forgetting what we want to say next while we are delivering our speech and the fumbling as we try to recapture where we were in our memorized speech. A better way of delivering a speech is to not memorize it. Instead, limit yourself to topics that you know well and use an outline of your speech to guide yourself. Your speech will be different each time you give it, but it will contain the critical pieces of information that are required.
Finding a way to speed up how long it takes us to create a speech can be a big time saver. Additionally, if we can take steps to ensure that our delivery of our speech will go smoothly then we can deliver our speech with more confidence. Take the time to carefully plan out what you want to say without writing your next speech out word-for-word. You’ll be able to deliver a more natural sounding speech that will capture your audience’s attention and make your speech memorable.
Question For You: How detailed do you think your speech outline should be in order to capture everything that you want to say?
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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
How do you feel about writing a speech? If you are like most of us, you dread it but you also realize that it is something that has to be done – you can’t give a speech that you haven’t written. We generally sit down to write a speech with a heavy heart because we remember how hard this has been to do in the past. However, perhaps it really doesn’t have to be this hard. Perhaps there are secrets to creating speeches that if we knew, all of sudden creating our next speech would become that much easier. It turns out that such secrets do exist, and they can make creating our next speech easier to do.