What’s The Best Way To Write A Speech?

It turns out that speakers can borrow tips from the people who do it well
It turns out that speakers can borrow tips from the people who do it well
Image Credit: BookMama

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.

Always Start Out Strong

So, what’s your plan for the next time when you are giving a speech? How do you plan on grabbing and holding the audience’s attention throughout your speech? The secret is to take advantage of the moment right before the speech begins, when a hush falls over the crowd. Realize that this is a special moment and it is the only time that a speaker has the entire audience’s full attention. What defines how well your speech is going to turn out starts with how you use the power of that moment. Will you use that moment of full attention to communicate your message? Or are you going to spend it on thank yous, jokes and perhaps even throat clearing? Taking the time to plan a strong start for your speech will help you command attention immediately, instead of wasting that one precious moment.

Always Create A Structure For Your Speech

When you are writing a speech, you are going to want to impose a structure on your speech right from the start. This means that you are going to want to give your speech a beginning, a middle and an end. Understand that you don’t have to take your audience by the hand and walk them through each step. Additionally, you don’t have to proceed chronologically. However, having a structure in your head will give your speech a shape. It can also provide your audience some guideposts about where you’ve been and where you’re going. The beginning-middle-end speech construction technique is just one variant on the classic rhetorical “rule of three,” which grew out of the ancient oral storytelling tradition. Much as starters say “ready, set, go” to prepare and concentrate the runners at the start of a race, the process of three conveys the steady buildup to a moment of transformation which enables the hero or heroine to move on to the next stage.

Make Sure That You Don’t Write Down Your Stories

Personal stories can be a great part of any speech that we give. However, if you are planning to include a personal story or anecdote, make sure that you don’t write it into your speech. Instead, you should practice it to make sure the delivery is crisp, and it stays within the time allotted. You don’t want to write it out and you don’t want to read it to your audience. Since it’s your story, it’s a story you should know well. You’ll be far more engaging to your audience if you look at your audience and just tell it, rather than reading a polished version of it.

Work Concrete Words Into Your Speech

Studies have shown that you can use grand, vague terms to inspire your audience if the topic involves a far-off goal. However, the studies show that the closer your audience gets to making a decision, the more they will be persuaded by specific terms. During your speech you need to use concrete nouns and active verbs if you want to convince doubters, make a sale, present a position or persuade people to vote your way. The best way to go about doing this is to describe something so clearly that your listeners will be able to see it in their mind’s eye. Doing this is a subtle way to involve your listeners, and they’ll remember what they can picture on their own longer than any pretty slide you use.

If Possible, Make Your Audience Laugh

We should always be trying to use humor to win our audience over. An audience member who is laughing is half yours, and this member of your audience just received a line he can repeat next weekend over a beer at the barbecue or in line at Starbucks. One of the best ways of making a simple small human connection with your audience is: shared laughter.

Always Make Sure That You End Your Speech Strong

The ending of your speech is what is going to make an impression on your audience. Therefore, you are going to want to take the time to make the ending of your speech have an impact on your audience – so make it a powerful one. Understand that you can give a wonderful speech but if the ending is weak, your audience will walk away feeling like your speech wasn’t very strong. Before you end your speech, signal to your audience that you are closing. This provides a cue for the audience that the end is near. As you move into your closing, make sure to touch again on each of the major points you made in your speech. Anchor the end of your speech using a positive, powerful story that shows your audience that your message will work for them.

Take The Time To Read Your Speech Out Loud

You are going to want to hold off on the editing until you have you’ve read your speech out loud. You can do this by closing yourself off in a room and reading through the entire speech aloud. The reason that you are doing this is because you’re checking for several things: how long your speech is, whether you trip over any words, is there any clumsy phrasing, are any sentences too long, and how you can improve the pacing. Use a pen to make notes, rewrite, then read it aloud yet again. You might find it useful to make an audio recording of your read-through. This could allow you to be sure to catch all the areas that need changing. Once you’ve recorded yourself reading your speech, listen with the text in front of you and then make changes as you go. Making a recording of your final version can help you practice, too – just listen to it over and over in order to learn your text without having to refer to it.

What All Of This Means For You

Delivering a good speech starts off by having you write a good speech. I think that we all want to write a good speech, it’s just that we may not know how to go about doing this. We understand what we want to tell our next audience; however, just exactly how to communicate this to them is unclear. We want our speech to have an impact. In order for that to happen, we’re going to have to write it the correct way.

When you sit down to create your next speech, you are going to want to start out strong. The speech that you create is going to have to have a structure to it. If you plan on including personal stories, don’t write them down – just speak to them based on your memory. Try to make your story stick with your audience by working concrete words into it. If possible, try to make your audience laugh so that they’ll remember what you have told them. Make sure that the ending of your speech is strong. Take time and read your speech out loud when you are editing it.

The good news is that we can all write good speeches. This is not magic. However, we need to understand the steps that we have to go through in order to make sure that the next speech that we write is going to be good. If we can follow these steps, then we’ll have the ability to create a strong speech that will stick with our audience.

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

Question For You: How many times do you think that you have to read a speech out loud?

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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

It goes without saying that men and women are different. However, when it comes to speaking, are men and women different? I think that if you asked most of us, we’d all say that yes they are different. However, after having said that, we’d have problems telling you just exactly how they are different. I think that men probably do a better job at some speeches than women and women do a better job at other speeches than men do. Perhaps if we understood what the differences between how men and women give speeches, we could all become better speakers.