Public speaking is something that gives a lot of us anxiety. The thought of standing up in front of a large group, with all eyes on you, and speaking is a daunting task. So much so that we don’t put enough thought into actually preparing the speech.
Writing a solid and effective speech can do a great deal in alleviating some of those fears. If you’re confident in your speech it will help to put you more at ease. But writing a speech isn’t like writing a paper or even giving a presentation. It needs to be precise, concise and engaging. So how do you go about writing a speech that you can be confident in? Follow these steps.
Identify the purpose of your speech.
Before even writing your first bullet point, you need to seriously consider why you are giving this speech. I don’t mean what circumstances have brought you up on that stage in front of those people, but rather what do you hope to accomplish with this speech. When you’re done speaking, what do you want the audience to feel and to know? The purpose of your speech informs everything else and without really nailing it down, you’ll be shooting in the dark.
Analyze your audience.
Some say that pretending your audience isn’t there is a great way to get over your stage freight. Unfortunately, your audience is extremely vital to the success of your speech. You need to know who you’re speaking to and shape your speech accordingly. Are they insiders who know the jargon, or will you have to simplify things for them? What are their ages? Are they resistant to the ideas you’re going to share? You could have delivered the most perfect speech, but are if you try it in front of a totally new audience it will be received quite differently.
Condense your message to the basics.
What is your message? This is another important question you need to ask yourself early in the writing process. Your message is what you want people to walk away remembering when your speech is done if you fail to get your message across, then your speech failed. Period. The best way to ensure your message is heard is by making it as clear and concise as possible. Start with a broad message, then keep breaking it down until you condensed it into a single, short sentence. Once you have that it will be so much easier to make that message heard.
Strike the right tone.
Some would give the advice that you should start your speech off with a joke. That’s not always a good idea. The tone of your speech is very important and very delicate. For some instances a joke would be distracting and inappropriate. On the flip side, a speech that is too serious can suck the energy out of a room. Decide what tone your speech needs and stick with it—an inconsistent tone comes off as awkward.
Pull them in with your intro.
The introduction is a very critical point in your speech and one you should work extremely hard on. You need to draw the audience in right from the beginning. You have precious little time to introduce your subject and show them why they should listen. If you’re flat or uninteresting, you’ll lose them and it is very hard to win back an audience you’ve lost.
Perfect the flow.
Moving past the introduction, you have to keep the audience engaged. This is where your writing can begin to resemble a paper. The way you jump from one pint to another needs to be rhythmic and smooth. You’re telling a story and you need your audience to be able to follow along with it from where you’ve been to where you are heading.
A lot of people treat a speech conclusion like they’re robbing a bank. They have the money in hand and they just want to get out of there as fast as possible. Because of this, many people rush their conclusion which leaves the whole on sour note. Take time to craft an effective closer. Bring in the themes you’ve already explores, hit those key points again and reiterate your message. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, so finish strong.