How to Write an Effective Speech

How to Write an Effective Speech

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When faced with the task of writing a speech, most of us have no idea where to start. You may sit for hours with a piece of blank paper and a few ideas scattered in your head. There is no right or wrong way to write a speech, but there are ways to write it badly and most of those begin with you staring at that blank piece of paper for hours and hours.

There are proven systems that exist to help you write a perfect speech. In this podcast we are going to learn about and apply one such system to help you write effective speeches. Before we go into the details of HOW to write a speech, let’s first spend some time on Planning the Speech.

The first thing you want to identify is: what is the occasion? Why am I required to give this speech? Is it at a sales event or an award night? Spend some time identifying the occasion in a way that is as detailed as possible.

At the heart of every speech is a key message that you want to communicate. Make a note of the key message that you want to send through your speech. Is it motivation, recognition or are you communicating vital information?

Lastly, you may want to think about your audience, what do they know? What do they want to know? What kind of language, examples etc do you think they would relate to?

In this podcast we are going to talk about three elements to write a speech:

  • Opening
  • Body
  • Closing

1. Opening

The first thirty seconds of your speech are the most important and is known as the opening. This is when you must grab the audience’s attention and engage them in what you want to say. This can be achieved in many ways – you could ask a question, state a fact, ask for a show of hands, crack a joke, recite a quote or make a controversial statement. Once you have won the           audience’s attention you can then move on the main body or the crux of your speech. A good opening should not last more than 30 – 60 seconds. This is also where you will tell your audience what your speech is about and introduce them to the topic.

2. The main body

The main body will always be the largest part of your speech. Your audience will already be aware of the topic of your speech and be introduced to the material. This is where you elaborate, and support the subject. To write out the main body, list down a series of points that you want to make, these could be factual, stories, even jokes that you want to include.

Or you could write out 3-5 main points that you want to cover and support each of these points with 3 sub-points. So for each main point, you may have a fact, a story and a quote for example. Do make sure that your points are logical and that your ideas follow each other in a way that your audience can understand. Don’t try and say everything – figure out what are your ‘have to talk about points’ and focus on those. The rest is not relevant to the audience.

3. The Closing

The closing of your speech needs to be as strong as your opening, perhaps stronger as this is what your audience will remember and take away with them. Look at the closing of your speech as an opportunity.

It is an opportunity for you to:

– Summarise and go over the salient parts of your speech

– Provide some further food for thought to your listeners

– End on a positive and upbeat note

– End with a final thought or a call to action

A few more tips to keep in mind when making a speech is to follow the 3 T’s. The first T is ‘Tell them what you are going to tell them’ – the introduction, the second T is ‘Tell them’ – the main body and the last T is ‘Tell them what you told them’ – the closing and the conclusion.

When making points to your audience you can also follow the 3S method which is, State the point, Support it with additional information and Summarise what you have said.