In the last post, we talked about finding your voice when speaking to a crowd.
You not going to make it in public speaking without a good speech.
If you’re asked to give a speech or it is required for work or school, you know that when you stand up there to give that presentation, you’re going to have to have a well-organized outline and content to get through it and impress those listening. so, when you write a speech, you have two objectives: Making a good impression and leaving your audience with two or three takeaways. The rest is just entertainment. But sometimes the fear of an upcoming speaking engagement comes from that writer’s block that happens when you have to write a speech.
Writing a speech is not exactly like writing a term paper or a report.
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
The reason is simple. What you actually “write” is not intended to be read. It will be heard. You don’t have to worry about good spelling or the other conventions of writing a paper because it might never see the light of day. If you’re new to writing a speech, it might be best to write it out like a paper so you can hear it being said in your head. A good tip here is to create your outline then either make index cards or slides to practice your speech.
But many times experienced speakers write a speech in the form of an outline based on a defined structure and then they hang the detail off of the structure. The detail is the content and the substance of the speech which makes up why your speech has value. It can include quotations, facts, historical references, scientific statistics, whatever you need to support the theme of your speech.
Now how you organize your speech may be determined by what kind of speech it is.
And what kind of speech it is should be defined by what you hope to achieve. So a speech might be designed to convince, to sell, to entertain or to inform. Many times a speech will be a combination of these forms. But you should define your expected outcome that way you know if you have achieved your goal by you have written your speech. Having that overriding goal in mind helps in how you organize your speech.
The bones of a good speech are similar to a paper.
Lay out each section and allocate your time accordingly even before you write the speech. The components are the introduction, the opener, the personal introduction, the statement of the “problem”, three to five points of the body of the speech, the summary and the closer or the call for action again depending on the purpose of the speech. In his blog post, 10 keys to writing a speech Jeff Schmitt says,
Have a Structure: Think back on a terrible speech. What caused you to lose interest? Chances are, the speaker veered off a logical path.
For the opener, its good to use something that brings the audience to you.
It’s good to greet them warmly and seek a greeting in response. Some anecdotes about the hall or the weather even can get the talk off on the right foot. Then go into your personal information but making sure what you tell relates to why you’re the one here giving this talk. Keep every aspect of the presentation relevant to the central theme. Share a shocking fact or statistic. Tell a humorous anecdote related to your big idea. Open with a question – and have your audience raise their hands. Get your listeners engaged early. I went to a seminar once and the speaker showed slides of his family like this, “This is my wife”.
The problem statement can be phrased as a question.
Writing a speech is like telling a good story because you must create a problem and then solve it. If you’re going to discuss tricks for using Microsoft PowerPoint, start out talking about problems using the software with illustrations about catastrophes that have happened by that lack of understanding. As much as possible keep the problem relevant your listeners. Then move directly from there to presenting the body of your work in an organized way. Make sure you have three to five solid points. Tell them what they are, tell them the points and then tell them what you just said. That cements your presentation in their minds.
The conclusion is often a summary of what was just said.
It’s good to close with humor too. While writing a speech the final summary of your talk is used for any call to action you may have in mind for this audience. If they enjoyed your speech, they want to know what you want them to do, even if they are not going to go do that. It just gives a nice ending to the discussion. Thank them for their time and close. But stick around because if it was a good talk, you will have questions or people who will want to talk to you about things they thought about afterward. And if that happens, you know for certain then that you did a good job.
So, hopefully you are learning how to write a speech with this tip. Please let me know if this post helped you or not by commenting below. Thanks!
Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about what to do when things don’t go as planned.
Keep the Shiny Side Up,