The Secrets of Speechwriting

Your words may not get passed down through the generations,
but you still want your speech to resonate.

People have a tendency to become, well let’s be honest, freaked out at the idea of making a speech. It can be an intimidating prospect—speaking in front of a room of people. But you can make it less anxiety filled if you pay attention to the tips we’ve compiled for you.

Construct a winner

Think back to your high school essay writing days. Just like you did then, you need an outline for your speech with a beginning, a middle and an end. Also, when it comes to speeches, repetition is your friend. There’s an old rule when it comes to public speaking—“Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em; then tell ‘em; then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.”

Say it out loud

When you are writing your speech, write how you talk. Speaking to an audience is different than reading an article. Opt for short sentences and contractions. Don’t use words that you have trouble pronouncing or that people won’t understand. And be sure to always read your speech out loud before you get on stage. In fact, you should practice it multiple times—we don't care how good you think you are, every practice improves the end result.

Hit the highlights

When it comes to a speech, you want to start with a bang, end with a bang and be sure your main point is, yes you guessed it, emphasized with a bang. (No pressure, right?) Start your remarks with something memorable and be sure to conclude with more than a simple “Thanks for listening.” If nothing else, use your conclusion as another opportunity to sum up your main point(s). Speaking of the main point, when constructing your remarks, ask yourself what it is you want the audience to learn—that is your main point which you need to hit them with repeatedly.

Be concrete, specific and factual

Finally, a good speech will offer concrete examples to illustrate your points. These ideas should be as specific in nature as possible and, of course, factual. Research is essential for a quality speech. People will not trust that you are an expert on a subject or issue if you don’t have the information to back it up.

Keep it short and sweet

Otherwise known as “K.I.S.S.”—face it, people’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be. You want them to remember your speech because it was packed with info and knowledge they can use in their lives or jobs, not because you put them to sleep. Just remember, the Gettysburg Address was less than 300 words, and just about EVERYBODY remembers something about that speech.