Whatever the speech you're writing, there are some essential steps for writing a speech they will never forget. Writing a speech can be nerve wracking and so can delivering it in front of a huge group of people, but it can also be liberating and fulfilling once it's done. Whether it's for a wedding, family event, work or college, these steps for writing a speech should ensure you create something people will enjoy and remember.
1. Time Limit
Make sure you know what the time limit is for your speech. The last thing you want to do is to overrun or finish prematurely. Thinking about how long you have and how you're going to fit everything into that time frame is one of the first steps for writing a speech which will be engaging and interesting.
2. Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is essential in practically every walk of life. The jokes you tell amongst your work colleagues will differ from the ones you tell your social circle and family. Ensuring that the material is appropriate is therefore key when ensuring you can deliver an effective speech.
Having an introduction which will grab the attention of your audience is also essential. You want them to be captivated from the outset and for their attention to be held until the end of your fabulous speech. Think about how you're going to open your speech and how you're going to get them enthralled from the very start. The introduction should make up between 10 and 15 percent of the total speech.
Organizing your points is another key point to ensure that your speech is coherent. Once you have mind-mapped all of your key ideas, you will need to decide which order they should go in. Think about what would be the most logical order. One of the best pieces of advice my English teacher gave me regarding my issues with organization was to cut up my essay and organize the paragraphs. This has stayed with me to this day and whenever I am writing something which is extensive and requires some organization, I have a bit of fun cutting paper and moving them around the floor. I know that with the technology we have today it sounds quite primitive, but sometimes the best tips are the old tips! Organize your points according to effectiveness and importance.
5. Supported Points
Depending on the event or subject, visual aids are also a great idea. Perhaps you would like to show photos, graphs or statistics to support your points. This can help keep your audience engaged and they will be able to have something to refer to and ponder over whilst listening to your speech.
Having a conclusion is key. This is the point where you can sum up all of your points and leave your audience with some fabulous food for thought. This should take up around 5 to 10 per cent of your speech. Leave your audience hungry for more, wishing they could hear you continue for another twenty minutes or looking at their watch and thinking, "Wow, is that 20 minutes already!"
7. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice, practice, practice. I can't highlight this enough. You may be confident enough to be able to 'ad-lib,' so to speak, but preparation is key and people will know if you're not fully prepared. Of course, relying on good fortune could make it a speech they will never forget, but for all the wrong reasons!
Has anyone had to give a speech recently? What hints and tips would you give for writing an effective speech, whatever the occasion?