What Are The Secrets To Writing A Great Speech?

You can write a great speech, you just need to know how to do it
You can write a great speech, you just need to know how to do it
Image Credit: Rebecca

Would it not just be a fantastic thing to have your very own speechwriter? If you had one, then you could go about your day accepting any speaking opportunity that just happened to come your way. For each accepted opportunity, you’d call up your speechwriter, tell them what you were going to be expected to talk about and then since they understand the importance of public speaking have them go off and create a great speech for you. Unfortunately, just like me I’m willing to bet that you don’t have a speechwriter working for you. That means that the next time that you agree to give a speech, it’s going to be up to you to create a great speech.

Starting Strong

Since you are going to be the one who has to write your speech, it sure seems like it might be a good idea for you to see if you could get some help from people who do this kind of thing professionally. Speaking coach Denise Graveline has taken the time to do just that. She’s reached out to a number of different speech writers and asked them just how they go about working their magic. What they had to say just might surprise you.

One of the best suggestions that they had dealt with time management. Specifically, the really good speech writers understand their audience very well. What they have come to realize is that there is only one time during a speech that you can be guaranteed that you’ll have your entire audience’s attention. This moment happens after you’ve been introduced and before you say your first word. When you are writing your speech you need to realize how special this moment is and you need to make sure that the first words that tumble out of your mouth don’t cause you to lose your audience’s attention. This means don’t waste this time on thank yous, making lame jokes, or clearing your throat as you prepare to speak.

Having A Structure

So just exactly what are you going to be talking about? This is one of the most important questions that your audience is going to be trying to determine as they listen to your speech. As the person who is creating your speech, you need to make sure that you make it easy for them to answer this question. A great way to go about doing this is to use the rule of three.

The rule of three says that your speech has three parts to it. These three parts are generally an opening, a middle, and an ending. What you want to do is to provide your speech with some sort of shape. What this means for your audience is that you’ll be able to provide them with way-points during your speech that will allow them to get their bearings – where have they been and where are you getting ready to take them?

What Not To Write Down

In the speech creation process we always run into the age old question of just exactly how much of this speech should we write out. There are a number of different schools of thought on this issue. One says that if you want to get better at choosing the words that you use, then by all means write it out. The other says that if you write it out, you’ll attempt to memorize it and that means that your speech will become wooden and stiff.

I’m of the school where I don’t write out anything that I don’t have to. The exception to this rule is the opening and closing paragraphs. The wording there is important enough that I do write it out. No matter which route you take, when it comes to the personal stories that you want to tell during your speech, don’t write them down. If you do, then you’ll attempt to read from your notes when you are telling your story and that will take away from your connection with your audience. Just remind yourself that you want to tell this story at this point in your speech and that should be all that it takes.

What All Of This Means For You

I too look forward to the day where I can hire a full-time speechwriter to take care of the drudgery of writing out each and every one of my speeches. Since I have not yet reached that point in life, it turns out that I still have to create all of my own speeches. I’d like to get better at doing this and so I don’t have any objections to listening to what the experts tell me about the benefits of public speaking and speech creation so that I know what I should be doing when I create a speech.

One of the most important things that they tell me is that there will only be one time during my speech that I can assured that I’ll have my entire audience’s attention. This is the moment that happens just before I begin to speak. The next thing that I need to do is to create a structure for my speech. This will allow my audience to follow along with me and understand what has been said and what still needs to be said. Finally, when you decide to include a personal story in your next speech, don’t write out what you want to say about that story. It will have more meaning to your audience if they can see your eyes while you tell it to them.

The good news about writing better speeches is that it’s not hard to do. All you have to do is to pay attention to what the people who do this professionally are telling you and you’ll be one step closer to creating speeches that connect with and move audiences. Apply what we’ve just discussed and watch how powerful and effective your speeches become.

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

Question For You: Do you think that there is any other three part speech structure that you can use besides open-middle-close?

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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

I got a great note from one of the subscribers to The Accidental Communicator newsletter the other day. He was asking how he could improve his speaking ability. He felt that he understood the importance of public speaking and once he got warmed up, he was a pretty good speaker. However, when he was starting a speech he spend a lot of time battling his nerves and he felt that his speech openings were not as strong as they could be. I realized that a lot of us probably have the same issue and perhaps we should have a talk about how best to deal with this situation.