We have said this before and we will say this again: Communication is a key skill for success. As talented as you are, you absolutely need to build up the skill to communicate and market yourself to carve a niche for yourself in a professional world.
One aspect of communication is successfully delivering a speech. The intention of a speech can be to inform, persuade, instruct, motivate or entertain, but at the end, the idea is to transfer a clear message from you to the audience. In this article, we present tips and elements of effective speech writing.
Here’s what we’ll look at today:
Guidelines to craft a successful speech:
- Target your speech
Before anything, know who you are speaking to. Learn about your target audience to figure out how much they know already about the topic you are speaking about. That way, you can begin from there and then determine how much more they need to know. Secondly, the language you use, the way you structure your speech will all depend on the age range and attention span of your audience. Your speech will have to connect with their lives, get them interested and involved in the topic.
- A well-defined topic
This is what differentiates a speech from a rambling talk. Set the framework of your speech right at the beginning. Break it down into sections and tell your audience right up-front the areas your speech will cover. For this, as you begin writing, brainstorm all things that can go into your speech and then eliminate areas that become tangential.
- Logical sequencing
Once you have finalised your topic and the salient points that go into it, the next thing is to organise them so your speech has a logical flow to it. Remember, you are still working at the ideation level. Flowcharts, tabular columns, whatever works for you. A speech that does not have an organic logic to it will be ineffective. This structure will also help you to end a point clearly and begin the next one.
- Writing your speech
Ideally, begin with an impactful statement/ anecdote connected to the topic. Introduce yourself (if needed) and the topic. Give your audience a quick breakup of the speech and the points you are going to cover. As you are fleshing it out, follow the logical sequencing that you have done in the previous step.
- Back it up: examples, statistics, quotes
With every point you make, support your argument with relevant and relatable examples, statistics, and/ or quotes. But with a speech, ensure it doesn’t become a number dump.
- Visual aids
Especially with an informative speech or that which involves statistics, it is better to use visual aids to accentuate your point further. Remember, a Powerpoint presentation simply augments your speech; it must not distract your audience away from it.
- Allow for repetition
Remember you are writing for a speech and allow for repetition. In an essay that is going to be published, we don’t generally do this, but a speech needs reiteration to drive home your main points.
- Personal element, strong ending
When you add a personal element to your speech, you engage and connect with the audience better. It makes the topic more relatable to you, which makes your presentation more natural. End your speech strongly with powerful reiteration if needed.
- Organic choice of words
There is this gross misconception that long fancy words can make a person sound smarter. This is definitely not the case. If you are “confused”, let it be; you don’t have to say “discombobulated”, unless the word is organic to your vocabulary. Your speech is yours. Own the language, use words that are in your everyday tongue. This will make you more comfortable and less dependent on the script when you actually go on stage.
- Write for the ear
When your draft is ready, speak it. The written and the spoken language have gaps. Two words that read beautifully together can sound awkward when said into the microphone. So, keep your pronunciations clear, revise awkward-sounding words or lines and replace words that might cause confusion.
Speech writing tips – the summary
Once you are done with these steps, your draft is ready. Practice and be ready to revise your speech if something does not sound right to you. Time yourself, not when you are rushing through the points, but when you are speaking slowly and clearly. When rehearsing, include pauses for audience reactions or emphasis. Edit, if you feel like you are rambling. A good speech is structured, effective, and short. Your audience will love you for it.
In our blog, you will also find an article about careers in creative writing. Read more!