To be considered a great public speaker, you need to start from the beginning: crafting an engaging speech. The task may seem daunting but by breaking it down into small parts, even the most reluctant writer can create an interesting and impressive speech. Some speakers utilize the services of speech writers to ensure the quality of their material; their expertise lies within the delivery of the speech. However, many of us cannot afford that luxury and need to write our own. Follow the following 5 Tips for Writing a Public Speech to get started
- Choose a Topic You Care About: The easiest speech to write is one for which you already know and understand the topic. Writing a speech, and then delivering on a topic that doesn’t interest you will also likely disinterest your audience. Write about something that interests you, or better, one that you feel passionate about. If you have been assigned a topic, you need to decide what it is that makes you care about that topic and then write about it so that your audience will want to hear about it.
- Know Your Audience: Think about the make-up of the audience that will be listening to your speech. There’s a difference in how you interact with your professional and social peers; delivering a public speech follows the similar difference in expectation. Age, education and venue are other factors to consider. You want to speak to your audience in an engaging manner, so you must be sure that you are communicating to them in familiar terms.
- Combat Writers’ Block by Starting with a Bullet List: A list of general ideas does not need to have perfect formatting, nor even be typed on a computer. You can write this on the back of a lunch napkin, for all it matters! What does matter is that you have ideas that are relating to or are sub-categories of your main topic/title. If you haven’t gotten that far, write down topic ideas, then take those titles and write a list of ideas. Once you have something in writing in front of you, the task will not feel so large.
- Start Writing for Each Point: Once you have 4-5 ideas written down, pick the one that immediately jumps out at you and start writing. Don’t worry about sentence structure, perfect wording or order. You’ll have time later to edit, right now you simply want to write. As you write you will likely find yourself swerving towards a line of thought and ideas that hadn’t been forthcoming in step 3 are suddenly filling your head. Go with it! It’s always easier to remove content and edit for too much length than it is to add more.
- Edit & Proofread: Read the written draft once, fixing mistakes, wording and sentence problems. You may want to remove entire sections, change their order or add more to a section in order to complete a thought. Then, read it aloud and repeat. Words that appear great on paper often do not “hear” as well to your audience. I recommend repetition of this step at least 3 times. Feel like you’re missing something? Have someone else read the draft to ensure you’re not lulled into a rhythm that causes you to miss important or difficult.
You have your material, now you need to practice it a few times, making only minor changes for rhythm. You have done the hard work; you have written the speech. Now all that’s left is to deliver your topic in a sincere and engaging manner. Congratulations!