Speech writing skill is one of the most important for college students to build. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a politician, a CEO or a celebrity, there’s still a big change that you’ll need to deliver a public speech (or speeches) at some point of your career. But even if not, having strong public speaking skills definitely won’t hurt you. Building them would help you persuade other people better, to defend your point of view more effectively, to feel confident when you speak, and so on.
But a speech writing skill could be hard to build. That’s why in this article we want to offer you some public speech writing tips to ease the process a bit!
- Get to know your audience.
You probably know who you’re going to deliver a public speech to – but do you really consider your audience before you start writing?
Think about who exactly are they and what do they might want or expect from your speech? While you’re definitely going to make it unique, you should also think about the way to meet their expectation, even if partially.
Think what speech would help you to reach that goal and what speech would fit with the spirit of the whole event. If you’re going to deliver it to fellow students, it might be best to stick to a less formal tone and include some references that would help them relate to you. If you’re going to deliver it to professionals, to perform at a conference, and so on, it would be better to make it more formal, maybe include some quotes, and so on.
- Write an overview or an outline.
First, think about two important things:
– what is the topic of your speech and how you would like to present it (for example, how many statements or points you plan to include);
– how long should your speech be?
Then use this knowledge to come up with an outline or an overview of your speech. This would help you ensure that you’ll be able to deliver it within given time, that you’ll have just enough points to support your point of view, and that the proper structure will be maintained. What’s also important is that you’ll be able to use this outline as a guide, therefore making the writing process much easier.
- Remember that the opening matters a lot.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your audience is usually the most receptive at the beginning of your speech. They probably don’t know who you are and what to expect from you – and are willing to find this out.
That’s the best time to make the right impression, to hook them with something to keep them interested in what you’re going to say next. And while you might feel the most nervous at that point, don’t let the opportunity slip.
Start strong. Deliver an amazing fact, tell a joke to ease the tension (just be sure that it’s related to the topic of your speech and is appropriate). Start with a question – but with the one that really gets your audience thinking. Do something that you think would impress them. And once you get their attention, move on. After all, making your opening too long is just as bad as not putting enough efforts in writing it.
- Work on the transitions.
The transitions are important for many reasons. First, they make your speech smoother and help it sound more natural. Second, they help your audience focus on the things that are the most important – and to memorize them better.
Of course, the way you present these transitions during your speech matters a lot too. For example, if you ask the audience «So what does it mean?» and then make a pause, even a small one, you’ll get their attention and will keep them focused on your speech. This is great both for those cases when you think they’ll lose attention by that point of your speech and for those when you see the audience loses focus with your own eyes.
- Write in the same way you talk.
Speech writing differs from most types of custom writing assignments students are told to complete during college years. As you’re going to give this speech in front of other people, it’s very important to make it sound as natural as possible. And to do so you need to do your best to write like you talk.
What does this mean? This means you should try to make it simple yet expressive at the same time. Try making both words and sentences short, using less formal constructions (unless the audience requires that), avoid constructions people don’t normally use in their speech, and so on.
- Try to deliver a message.
If you are free to pick a topic yourself, you probably have something to say about it. But even if you are assigned a topic, this still doesn’t mean that simply doing your research and organizing the results neatly would be enough.
If you do want to make your speech great and not simply good, focus on the topic and try to formulate your personal opinion about it. Write like your thoughts and opinions really matter, like they could change the world – because there’s always a chance they could.
In most cases, there is a way for you to become passionate about the subject, so try hard to find this way. Remember that when you’re truly passionate, you’ll able to make your speech much stronger and to impress the others with it much more.
- Always test the written material.
Testing your speech after it’s finished is crucial. First, this helps to ensure that you’ll be able to fit into a time limit you’ve given. Second, this helps you detect various flaws and errors better, and to find out whether some sentences are too long or not. Third, this boosts your confidence and makes you more comfortable both with the speech and the performance.
The best way to test your speech is to read it out loud and then to try giving it in front of your friend or in front of the mirror (or on camera, if you want to – though there’s a chance you might act differently because of the camera).
Remember that while speech writing is about skills it’s also about your personality. You are able to make the speech work if you do work hard and put your authentic voice into it. Therefore, try and test – and you will succeed!
About the Author: Richard Nolan is a professional educator and team building coach, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students.