Writing a speech is not an easy task. Chances are, you have to deliver a speech in front of a class, your colleagues, clients, and many other similar audiences. The primary objective of any speech is to deliver a message to the audience by conveying a theme.
Before you start writing, you should give enough time to think about what kind of a theme you want to use to deliver your message. For example, if you are delivering a speech at a wedding, you might want to consider the following themes:
- Importance of family structure
- Value of marriage
The key to picking a suitable theme is evaluating who your audience will be. The theme must be able to relate to the audience so that they are more receptive to your message. Think of issues that your audience may be concerned about. If you are giving a graduation speech, what would your fellow graduates be concerned about? Job security? Marriage? If you still have trouble deciding which theme to choose, think of one idea that you want your audience to remember after your speech.
Guide to writing a great speech
1) Start with an attention grabber
You want to create a curiosity out of your audience and make them wonder what message you are trying to deliver. You may start with a question or by telling a story. Using a strong statement in the very beginning is also a good idea as long as your examples and points can back it up. Make clear what you are trying to deliver early rather than late.
2) Write clear transitions from one point to another.
Many make the mistake of assuming that their audience will be able to follow their logic. If you have to many any assumptions at all, assume that your audience knows nothing about what you know. Structure your speech in a way that will make sure everybody will be on the same page one point after another.
3) Stay focused.
Many speech writers get bogged down on one point that they lose track of the ultimate message that should be delivered. Assign how much time you are planning to spend on each point or example. You don’t have to achieve exact amount of time for each point. Do give more time for points that you consider more important to the theme.
4) Audience is king.
As you write your speech, keep in mind about your audience’s perceptions. Let their perceptions shape the tone of your speech as you write it.
Start with a strong point and end with a strong point. Leave your weaker points in the middle, slowly moving towards the most important points. The goal is to grab their attention in the beginning to discuss as much information you have until you start losing their attention in the middle, then end with a strong finish to give a good impression after the speech.
6) Concluding remarks.
Your conclusion should be just as strong if not stronger than your first paragraph. Write a conclusion that summarizes each of your points, relating back to the main theme of your speech. You may end with a strong anecdote or a relevant joke to leave a lasting impression.
1) Use Humor with Caution.
Everybody likes a presenter who has a sense of humor. However, not everyone has the natural ability to make people laugh. Do not feel obligated that you have to make your audience laugh in your speech. Humor is a double-edged sword in public speaking.
Light touch humor works best, such as a personal anecdote. Making fun of oneself or your acquaintances also works, but be careful not to undermine your own skills or background, as it damages your credibility and confidence.
2) Make it dynamic.
Unless you are in a crowd of a hundreds or thousands, you may have more fun and feel more comfortable if you can involve your audience. Even if you have to speak in crowds of a thousand, you can still ask rhetorical questions followed by a short pause to help them ponder at some of the points you are trying to get across.
3) Keeping it real and simple.
Avoid trying to be too flowery in your speech unless it is required to do so. Reading a boring and complicated journal is one thing, but listening to an unnecessarily complicated speech could be worse. Use simple sentences that you can speak clearly and loudly.
4) Use an active voice.
Strong speeches usually require an active voice. Remove passive phrases and verbs like has, had and are. While trying to keep your sentences simple, do use longer sentences for the purpose of variety, rhythm and timing.
5) Use quotes.
It’s also a good idea to include some famous quotes by notable speakers in the past. For example, to complement your points, you may say “As Martin Luther King once said, “I have a dream…” or “As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, All life is an experiment”.
No matter how well you think you’ve written your speech, chances are, your speech will be infested with grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. More importantly, what may sound like a great speech to you may not sound great for an average audience. You may also need to write more to make your paragraphs look more transitioned and easy to follow. Also be mindful of choice of words, content and structural issues, and overall style and that the parameter of your essay fits the required criteria.
Revising is not an easy task. It is not only time consuming, but also the chance of improving something you’ve written yourself is low. Have your speech professionally edited. Whether it is for a graduation speech, academic purpose, or for a business presentation speech, a single undetected error can jeopardize your recognition, success, and reputation.