Forget how nervous you are about getting in front of a crowd and speaking. What are you going to say? The content of your speech is more important than the way you deliver it, so you need to craft it carefully. Here is what you should do to write a great speech.
Use an Outline
An outline is your best tool for writing a great speech. When you map out and organize your thoughts in such a simple, linear way, it’s easier to develop an entire speech that makes sense and covers everything it should. You should organize all your points and thoughts first, and afterwards you can work on flushing them out within your actual speech.
Know Your Audience
Before you even begin writing your speech, you should know exactly who you’ll be speaking to, because that will drastically affect what you say. Some groups, for example, may already have a lot of background knowledge on your topic, and so you don’t need to tell them anything they already know. Others might need some extra information, or might prefer a certain tone (like funny or serious).
Determine the Main Points
You should already be clear on the purpose of your speech (if you’re not, figure it out!), so now you need to determine the main points you’ll address in order to support that purpose. A good rule is to think of three major points or reasons. Focus on backing them up within your speech and showing how they support your main objective.
Use Real Life-Examples
Try supporting your main points with real-life examples. Real examples make your points stronger because people they will help people relate to or visualize what you’re saying. They’ll help put your speech into perspective by stimulating their imagination, rather than leaving them to picture things on their own.
Tell Good Stories
Everyone loves a good story, and your real-life examples may take the form of one. You might also tell a story just to entertain and engage your audience. Either way, people love stories. A good story will also help to make what you’re saying relatable and interesting. Stories are a great way to spice up even the most mundane of topics.
Limit the Use of Numbers
Unless you’re speaking to a group of mathematicians about math, limit the use of numbers in your speech. You may have a lot of statistics that back up your points or other numeric details, but it’s hard for an audience to grasp a lot of numbers. They won’t remember most of them, and they may even tune it out. When you do introduce numbers, use a real-life example or story to clarify their significance.
Practice and Revise
Finally, practice your speech out loud to yourself many times. As you say the words, it will be easier for you to identify parts that need to be changed or can be improved. Ask a friend for some constructive criticism, too, if you like. Fine-tuning your speech in this way will help you make sure it’s really as stellar as it can be.
Jackson Martinez is a freelance writer and speech professor who loves to give advice to others on anything from oration to the importance of using grammar checkers on all professional work.
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