Speech writing is not the most popular college or university assignment, but when you stumble upon it, you may find it somewhat challenging to complete. There are two primary reasons for that. First — as it is not the most often used assignment, you don’t have enough experience to write it fast, avoiding basic mistakes. Second — people speak differently than they write, and it is difficult to write a speech which sounds good when pronouncing it. We can’t promise that using these tips on how to improve speech writing skills you will immediately create an oratorical masterpiece, but they will make things easier for you.
1. Know Your Goal
When writing a speech, you should always keep its primary goal in mind. If you are not sure what it is, don’t start writing before you figure it out. Without a goal, your entire text will be a bunch of sentences hardly connected to each other, unclear and not impressive. The goal should be concrete, pure, formulated in one sentence and audience oriented. What do you want your audience to do, how do you want it to feel after listening to your speech? “I want the audience to like my speech” is not the way to put it, it not a concrete goal. Like it and then what? Vote for you? State a clear purpose and later, when writing a speech, ask yourself, how much every sentence you write works for your ultimate goal. To improve this particular skill, we advise you to read and listen to some prominent speeches and try to understand what was the initial goal of the speechwriter.
2. Analyze Great and Not so Great Speeches
That is how people learn. It sounds boring, but you can’t skip this point. Don’t get stuck with some world-known political speeches of all the times. They are useful to read and admire, but it hardly your level for now. Check on regular political statements regarding some weekly issueы, pay attention to addresses at events like Oscar or Emmy, etc. How do people start? Do they joke? How many times? Do they use the classic scheme (the beginning, the culmination, the end) or their speeches have different structures? You learn while asking questions and finding answers.
3. Pay Attention to Ted Conferences
There are books dedicated to TED-speeches, and it won’t hurt to read at least one of them. TED is the most standard format of speeches nowadays. It is unlikely that you will receive an assignment to write such a lengthy statement, but you should know the principles. TED speeches have 3-6 emotional peaks, followed by the argument which answers the goal of the address.
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4. Structure Your Speech, Structure Your Efforts
When you sit in front of a white sheet or an empty monitor, and it’s hard for you to start, change the approach. Do not try to write the whole speech at once with a single stream. It is difficult to write and difficult to listen to. Divide it into parts.
First, select three key pieces. The rule of three works great in public speaking. Three blocks, each dedicated to some fundamental thesis. Each thesis should lead to the key action that we have planned with you in the previous paragraph.
We recommend dividing each of these blocks into three parts. We get nine parts. To write nine small pieces and “polish” them to perfection is much easier than coping with an amorphous cloud of the whole speech at once.
For example, you have 18 minutes for a TED speech? Perfect. Three blocks of 6 minutes, each divided into pieces for 2 minutes. You write theses. You rehearse and perform brilliantly. Nine key points are easy to remember. It will not be necessary to learn by heart a long speech. Nine abstracts can be written on a cheat sheet or on a card to be held in hands. Nine theses will fit on the phone screen, and it is unlikely to be inappropriate sometimes to look there.
Structured speech is much easier to listen to, and it’s easier to reach the audience with it. It is much easier to remove “water” from a structured text.
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