How to Write a Speech: Tips You Should Know
Preparing a speech does not significantly differ from preparing other kinds of mediums. The main points are that you have to know the target audience, the required length, and the purpose of the speech. These aspects are equally important whether you are writing a speech for a college project, wedding, business conference, or any other occasion.
However, there is something about preparing for a speech that causes especial stress. If you deliver a speech which does not go over well, someone from your audience could lose interest, start talking, checking their phones, and ever walk out of the auditorium.
Sure, a poor speech is not the worst thing that can happen to you. However, it is also known that an outstanding speech is capable to change multiple things. At least, it can spark the listeners’ imagination, catapult your business into success, earn an A on the project, or ensure that the bride and bridegroom are still friends with you after the wedding.
So, if you are worrying about your speech, bother no more. In this article, we will share some tips on how to prepare for a speech that will help you succeed.
Basic Principles to Know When Writing a Speech
- Know the purpose. You must know what you want to accomplish with this speech. Do you want to educate, entertain, inspire your listeners, or argue a certain point? The tone and structure, as well as the general presentation, will depend on your goals.
- Know the target audience. Make sure your speech is tailored for your listeners, both in terms of ideas and language. You should neither burden them with unnecessary information nor provide deficient data.
- Determine the length. You should not underwhelm or overwhelm the listeners. Ten minutes may be too short or, on the contrary, too long depending on the occasion. It is not the best idea to leave things up to chance. The process of writing becomes easier when you know the required length.
- Spend enough time on revising. No great speech was written in a couple of hours. Provide yourself with the time needed to practice the material and work through a lot of drafts. Do not expect to succeed on the first try.
There are many good ways to start a speech. One of them is knowing the step-by-step process of writing the speech. Here is a brief guideline.
- Step 1: Write an outline. Determine the main ideas for all the sections.
- Step 2: Highlight each key point in your outline. Do not try to use the perfect words in the draft right away. Just let every creative idea flow and write everything down.
- Step 3: Edit your speech and polish it until you get a clear and persuasive draft of the speech.
- Step 4: Practice a lot. The more you practice the speech, the more you will realize where the gaps are, which sections require revision, which transitions need improvement, etc. You will find out how you are doing on the length, as well.
- Step 5: Revise, practice, and improve the speech until you consider it perfect.
The Universal Structure
Still have doubts on how to write a speech? Here is an example of structure that can be used for all kinds of speeches.
This is the part where you have to introduce yourself, explain the reason why you are giving this speech, and present your main thesis. Keep in mind that “who” and “why” can be longer or briefer depending on the context. For instance, if you are having a speech at a wedding, you will likely want to tell about your relationship to the newlyweds and why they mean so much to you. However, if you are presenting to your classmates at college, you can focus more attention on your thesis. If you have a speech in a business or motivational setting, the introduction is a crucial time to hook your listeners’ attention and arouse their interest.
The biggest part of your speech has to be focused on presenting your thesis and supporting material in a clear and perfectly organized manner. Whether you are giving a wedding speech or a business presentation, make sure to speak clearly. It is unnecessary to share all the information you know about the topic. Instead, select several main points and present them to the audience. Stick to one idea at a time and finish the thought before moving to the next point. Make sure the transitions between ideas are logical.
If your goal is producing a memorable speech, then it will be interesting for you to know that according to numerous studies, our brain memorizes stories very easily. If it is appropriate, make your speech personal by including some description of personal experiences. Also, we remember big ideas better if they are condensed into several memorable words. That means you should work hard and do your best to sum up your thesis.
Think well what you would like your audience to walk out of the auditorium remembering. Highlight your main idea one more time, provide a couple of major takeaways, or tell one last story which illustrates your point in the best way.