Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti. He’s nervous but on the surface he looks calm and ready. Sometimes we feel how Eminem felt, when we’re giving a speech. You find your way up to the podium, clearing your throat, looking down at your notes and you see absolutely nothing on the page – and you’ve forgotten everything you think you wrote, so now you’re in front of a crowd totally caught off guard.
This wouldn’t happen if you had written a speech, and practiced and performed it several times over. Public speaking is a common fear, especially amongst the younger crowd with less experience. There’s several techniques to get over this fear of speaking, but there’s one major component that is often overlooked: Writing a Great Speech.
Why Should I Write a Speech?
Going up in front of a crowd and speaking isn’t an easy feat, so you should do everything in your power to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible. One of the major keys to delivering a speech is preparation – and writing it is more than half the battle. The way you write your speech dictates how you deliver it to the audience. It sets the tone, it organizes your thoughts, and leads you from one point to the next, seamlessly.
Where do I begin?
First and foremost, writing a speech should have a direction to go to, so it’s best to establish a few things before you write.
Find out what your purpose is – if your purpose is to persuade people, figure out what arguments are appealing enough. If your purpose is to give a presentation about a project or product, think of ways to explain something eloquently but understandable.
It’s good to understand who the common demographic of your audience will be, so you can make the appropriate language choices when writing a great speech. Jokes, references, slang, even idioms can be age-based. You want to deliver the best speech you can to the audience that you know.
Knowing not only the audience, but the environment is also important. The setting in which you deliver a speech also dictates what you write in it. A classroom setting, or a town hall setting or even a lecture hall setting will help you write in the appropriate language.
After you’ve determined these things, writing a great speech will become just that much easier for you to do. But what exactly makes a great, written speech? Our expert knowledge can steer you in the right direction – just follow these keys to writing the best speech.
Organize your thoughts
One thing that can make this whole experience much easier is to organize your ideas so that you can follow them easily. Instead of going off-book, you’ll have a structure that you can follow so you don’t get lost or stuck. Almost like an actor memorizing their lines – the plot drives the dialogue and tells a story. Your writing should also be like a story, leading from one point to the next and the next. That way, you don’t need to read off a piece of paper to remember everything – all your ideas and thoughts are logical enough to follow this pattern.
Make a Good First Impression
If your audience isn’t amused by your introduction – you’ve already lost half the battle. What you should write in your opener should be hearty and memorable, inquisitive and mysterious, it should bring your audience in and it should hype them up. Writing an introduction needs to be interesting and charismatic. The audience will stop listening to you if it’s not.
You may be standing in front of a crowd addressing them, even towering over them in some cases. But nothing is more effective than having the crowd relate to your experiences. Writing short, relevant anecdotes will make your audience feel at ease and may even draw some empathy. The speaker must be human, just like the audience is, in order to be heard. It leaves the impression that you care and you feel what they feel.
Giving a speech is more than talking in front of people. The raw emotion and expressions, the gestures and the excitement, all of this is part of an experience. When writing a great speech, you should find ways to interact with the audience, punctuate your most meaningful words, ask rhetorical questions and real ones too. Interaction is an important part of being charismatic, and its not just a trait you have, but also something you can convey through words. Dramatic pauses — exclamation points!!! Semi-colons; are just some ways to create this dynamic speech.
Beat a Dead Horse
Don’t actually do this, but metaphorically. Your purpose is to make your ideas loud and clear. Repetition is the one thing that you can do to ensure that your audience remembers these things. Throughout your introduction, your body paragraphs, and even your conclusion should be repeated and regurgitated for your audience’s consumption. The critical points must be loud and clear, so repeat them and make sure that your audience knows this. What they hear now, should be what they remember 6 minutes later, 30 minutes later, even hours and days later.
Use Transitional Phrases
In order to follow your structure, it’s a great idea to include linking and transitional phrases to organize your thoughts more. Words and phrases like “likewise” “as a result” “on one hand” or “therefore” could really help you out in remembering what you’ve written. It also gives a better understanding of your information to your audience, which is equally as important.
End on a High Note
An outro is just as important in speech as it is in Eminiem’s albums. It makes a statement and begs a question to the audience of what will they remember this speech for. Your conclusion should repeat all the points you’ve made previously, and on top of that, go out with a bang. Give some really crazy statistic – or some profound proverb that is relevant. This is what you want to leave your audience with.
Whether you’re giving a speech at University, or delivering a toast at a wedding, the way you prepare and write it down determines how well it will turn out. Writing is just as important, if not more, than actually speaking in front of a large crowd of people.