The Art Of Writing Effective Speeches
Imagine that you have been asked to emcee at an event tomorrow. What’s the first thing you’re going to do? You’re most likely going to write down your speech and rehearse it till you feel confident. You’ll probably think about ways to connect with the audience and adjust your speech accordingly.
Speech writing is more common than we realize. Whether it’s wedding vows or farewell speeches, there are many times when we find ourselves making a speech. Writing a speech is easier than it sounds. Read on to learn tips that will help you write impactful speeches.
WHAT IS SPEECH WRITING?
A speech is a form of formal spoken communication that an individual delivers with the proper choice of words, expressions and examples. Its purpose is to explain, inform or persuade others. Speech writing is the art of writing a message for an audience that can captivate and influence them.
Writing a speech is different from writing any other piece of written communication because you write to be heard and not to be read. Effective speech writing not only helps you connect with a large number of people, it also helps you direct them towards a particular agenda. The ability to write and deliver good speeches will help you at conferences, client meetings and even dinner parties!
If you feel that drafting a speech is an unusual activity, here are a few real-life examples of speech writing that will change your mind:
Employees often use PowerPoint presentations to get their message across—whether it’s about a new business strategy or new initiatives. They’re usually required to explain those slides so that the audience understands their points. Employees often draft a speech to communicate their ideas during such presentations.
Educational institutions often invite chief guests for graduation ceremonies, where the chief guest delivers a speech. Typically, these speeches are inspiring and filled with good wishes for the graduating students. Chief guests often read from a speech that they have drafted beforehand.
TECHNIQUES FOR WRITING A SPEECH
Anybody can learn how to become a speechwriter—it’s a skill that can be developed with patience and persistence. Here are a few powerful strategies for writing compelling speeches:
MONITOR LANGUAGE AND STYLE
Use language appropriate to your audience. Make your speeches interesting by including real-life examples and quotes. Avoid using complex words and jargon. Deliver your speech with appropriate nonverbal cues that help draw your audience in. For instance, use an even tone, pause when needed, maintain eye contact and stand straight without fidgeting.
MAKE ROOM FOR QUESTIONS
An effective way to liven up your speech is to ask your audience open-ended questions. Not only does it engage them but it also helps them remain focused. Prepare a set of relevant or related questions in advance. You may also conclude your speech with a thought-provoking question.
PAUSE AT THE RIGHT MOMENTS
A powerful pause adds impact to a sentence. When writing a speech, group your sentences into short paragraphs and use the paragraph breaks to take a pause. Don’t be afraid to wait for a few seconds before speaking again. The drop and rise in your voice as you begin speaking after a pause will help you emphasize key points.
USE THE POWER OF THREE
Words and messages are best remembered in groups of three. Group your ideas into threes and use alliteration to make them memorable. An example is, “Live, laugh and love is the motto we live by.” The power of three makes speeches impactful.
IMPLEMENT DRAMATIC CONTRAST
When you place two opposing ideas or viewpoints together, you create a dramatic contrast. This method is extremely useful if you want to surprise your audience and draw them into your speech. Here’s an example: “Five years ago, we had nothing, but look at us today! Our earnings have doubled every quarter and we have opened offices in five cities.”
EFFECTIVE TIPS FOR SPEECH WRITING
Here are a few tips that will help you write effective and impactful speeches:
Write down the purpose or goal of the speech before you start drafting it and understand whether you’re trying to inspire, educate or entertain your audience
Your speech should be tailored to your audience so read the room before you include informal words or slangs
You don’t want to overwhelm your audience by speaking for too long so practice making your speech and time yourself
Make sure that there’s a beginning, a middle and an end, ensuring that you maintain continuity between the main ideas
Your opening is your best shot! Use humor or personal anecdotes to connect with the audience