You cannot excel at public speaking without a good speech. Here are some guidelines in speech writing to help in drafting a speech that engages your audience.
If you’re interested in becoming a professional speechwriter and offering speech writing services, you may have written motivational speeches or be expected to know different types of speech writing, such as political speech writing.
You may be called upon to write a short speech for a friend or to write a best man speech or give a speech at work or school.
Whatever the topic for speech writing, you can learn speech writing tips to help you make a career as a speechwriter or for your own professional public speaking career.
If you have good English speech writing skills, you know that when you stand up there to give that presentation, you’ll have a well-organized speech outline and content to get through it and impress those listening.
Tips for effective speech writing
Sometimes the fear of an upcoming speaking engagement comes from that writer’s block that hits you when you have to write a good speech.
But you don’t have to worry about good spelling or the other conventions of writing a paper because it is not likely that your speech will ever be read by someone else.
To write a speech is not like writing a term paper or a report. The reason is simple. When you actually write a speech, it is not intended to be read but heard.
If you’re new to public speaking or speech writing, you may want to write out your speech like you write a paper, so you can hear it in your head.
But more importantly, you need to write a speech that your audience will be able to relate to. Knowing what your audience is interested in will give you some insight into how you can keep them engaged.
This will also help you start speaking with confidence with the knowledge that your audience knows exactly what you’re talking about and appreciates your speech.
Often experienced speakers will write a speech on their topic 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 gives it value to your audience. It could include quotations, facts, historical references, and scientific statistics - whatever information you need to support the theme of your speech.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 can be defined by what you hope to achieve. So a speech might be designed to convince, to sell, to entertain, or to inform.
Sometimes a speech can be a combination of these forms. But you should clearly define what your expected outcome is so you know whether you’ve achieved your goal by the time the composition of the speech is done.
Having that overriding goal well in mind will play a role in how you organize your speech. One of the best tips for writing a good speech is to follow a good speech structure.
Speech writing checklist for drafting a speech
What is a good speech writing structure? The structure of a good speech is similar to a paper. You need to layout each section and allocate your time even before you write the speech.
Here’s a speech writing checklist that will help you with the steps of speech writing. Depending on the purpose of the speech, your speech writing points may include:
1. The introduction
2. The opener
3. The personal introduction
4. The statement of the "problem"
5. 3 to 5 points for the body of the speech
6. The summary and
7. The closer or the call to action
For the opener, it’s good to use something that brings the audience to you. It’s good to greet them warmly and seek a greeting in response. An anecdote about the hall or the weather even can get the talk off on the right foot.
Then go into your personal information making sure what you share relates to why you’re the one here giving this talk. Keep every aspect of the presentation relevant to the central theme.
A good speech is like a good story because you must create a problem and then solve it. The problem statement can be phrased as a question.
For example, if you’re going to discuss tricks for using Microsoft PowerPoint, you could start out discussing the problems with using the software and illustrate them with stories about catastrophes that were caused by that lack of understanding.
As much as possible, keep the problems relevant to your listeners. Then move directly from there to present the body of your work in an organized way. Make sure you have 3 to 5 solid points. List them and elaborate on what they are. 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 as well. But you may also use the final summary of your talk for any call to action you may have in mind for this audience.
If they enjoyed your speech, they may want to know what you want them to do, even if they’re not going to go do it. It will give them some closure and make a satisfying conclusion to the discussion.
Thank them for their time and close. But stick around, because if it was a good talk, you’ll have questions from people who will want to ask you questions or discuss things they thought about afterward. If that happens, you’ll know for certain you made an impression and did a good job.
If you’re planning to do some public speaking and don’t know how to do it, you can learn the art of public speaking with tips for speaking to your audience in a way that easily conveys your message.