By: Gina Mason
Whether you are in a boardroom, at a conference or at your best friend’s wedding, we all have to give speeches at one point or another. No matter the reason or occasion, effective speech writing lays the groundwork for any great speech. Mastering the art of speech writing is almost as important as your delivery and speech writing is a skill that can be applied in both the working world and your personal life.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when writing your next speech:
Do your research
First and foremost, know your subject matter inside and out. If you are talking about the intricacies of biomedical engineering or how your best buddy met his new wife, make sure that you have your facts straight. Take your time when researching this information and incorporate relevant facts and figures. Having this information in your speech will boost your credibility and establish you as an expert. However, try not to overwhelm your audience with too many facts or statistics because you will lose their attention quickly.
Know your audience
Make sure you know whom your audience is and take the time to tailor your message to them. If you are giving a presentation to a no-nonsense client it is probably not a good idea to crack too many jokes. Also, using uncommon, superfluous verbiage such as sesquipedalian (given to or characterized by the use of long words) is never a good idea unless you are giving a speech to industry professionals who already understand the terminology. Generally, it is a good rule of thumb to make sure your speech is written so a 5th grader can understand what you are saying.
Keep it short and sweet
Thanks to our world of social media and smart phones, our attention spans are now shorter than ever which is NOT good for people who have to give a speech. Keeping people interested and engaged for any period of time is an enigma that many marketing and advertising experts are still trying to figure out, which is why it is so important to keep your speech short and concise. “Keep it moving!” as we say. Have an outline of important points that you want to communicate and try to eliminate unnecessary language, if possible. After all, one of the greatest speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address was only 10 sentences!
Start and finish strong
When crafting the beginning and the ending of your speech make sure you grab your audience’s attention at first and then drive your main points home. Funny anecdotes, questions and powerful statements are great ways to get your audience interested in what you have to say. As you conclude your speech, try to leave your audience with something that will leave an impression.
If you need some inspiration, check out Southwest flight attendant, Marty Cobb and her twist on the average in-flight safety speech. She began her speech with “Can I pretend to have your attention for just a few moments? My ex-husband, my new boyfriend and their divorce attorney are going to show you the safety features of this 737-800.” After a few minutes of great one-liners she concluded the speech with, “If there’s anything at all we can do to make your flight more enjoyable, please tell us … just as soon as we land in Salt Lake City. And if there’s anything you can do to make our flight more enjoyable, we’ll tell you immediately. We’re not shy in Southwest.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07LFBydGjaM
These are just a few simply tips to remember when you write your next speech. Just remember, great speech writing is half the battle when it comes to giving a great speech.
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