Ten Top Tips For Writing A Memorable Speech:
Winning The Mental Game Of Presenting. When
you sit in the audience enjoying a wonderful speech, the speaker's
words seem to all make sense. The speech is logical, interesting,
convincing, entertaining and has a nice flow to it. There is a reason
for this. It's the writing. Do you have a speech coming up soon?
Need to write a talk that will grab your audience and make them
sit on the edge of their seats? Take a moment to learn these ten
essential elements of speech-writing and you may just give the speech
of your life. 806 words.
Ten Top Tips For Writing A Memorable Speech
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
When you sit in the audience enjoying a wonderful
speech, the speaker's words seem to all make sense. They seem to
be well-organized and easy to follow. One thought seems to fit with
the next in a tight jig-saw puzzle kind of way. The speech is logical,
interesting, convincing, entertaining and has a nice flow to it.
You seem to be gently and effortlessly led along by the speaker's
words. It's a small slice of heaven, isn't it?
What we see and hear as effortless speech-making actually comes
from diligent, intelligent, sophisticated speech-writing. It comes
from someone sitting down and crafting a thoughtful, smart, strategic
set of concepts turned into practical tips, stories and action items.
What the audience hears is music to their ears, almost literally.
Do you have a speech coming up soon? Need to write a talk that will
grab your audience and make them sit on the edge of their seats?
Take a moment to learn these ten essential elements of speech-writing
and you may just give the speech of your life.
Ten Strategies For Crafting Excellent Speeches
1. Prepare Early. Begin gathering material
for your speech right away. As you learn more about your topic,
new ideas for writing and organizing it will automatically come
2. Be Audience-Centered. Everything you write should be with
the needs of the audience in mind. Aim all your efforts at helping
the audience understand what you are saying.
3. Start At The End First. Write the conclusion of your talk
right away. Decide what you want the audience to do or to think
as a result of your speech. Then write the talk using that as a
4. Write For The Ear, Not The Eye. Experienced writers know
that every medium and project has its own language, cadence, style
and structure. Don't write the speech to be read. You need to write
your speech so when your audience hears it, they get it.
5. Make Rough Drafts First And Polish Later. Don't needlessly
pressure yourself by trying to write the perfect speech at the outset.
The best speeches come only after many, many re-writes.
6. Put Your Own Spin On The Material. You may block your
creative juices if you think everything you say has to be original.
Don't worry about being unique, just put your personal spin on it.
The audience wants to hear your personal point of view.
7. Make Only Three Main Points. It is always tempting to
tell as much as you can about a subject, but this will confuse and
overwhelm your audience. Keep your major points to three and your
audience will find it easier to follow your speech organization.
8. Craft A Take-away Line. When people can't make a speaker's
session, they ask others who were there, "What did the speaker talk
about?" What they say you said is your take-away line. You'd like
people to walk out with that nugget. It's like creating street buzz
9. Decide The Minimum Your Audience Needs To Know. What is
the very least the audience needs to know about your topic? What
is the most critical? Leave out material that would be "nice to
know". You probably won't have time for it anyhow.
10. Write Using The WIIFM principle. WIIFM is when your audience
responds to your material by asking themselves "What's In It For
Me?" People are really only interested in material that affects
them. After writing any piece of material, no matter how brilliant,
apply the WIIFM principle and judge if your audience will care about
it and use it.
Three Bonus Tips For Writing A Great Speech
1. Write As If You Are Conversing With One
Person. How many times have you felt the speaker was talking
directly only to you? This phenomenon is in part an acting and speaking
technique, but it also stems from how the speech is written. As
you write, picture one person and what you want to say to them.
Then write the speech.
2. Decide What You Want Your Audience To Do Or Think Differently
As A Result Of Your Speech. There is really only one reason
to give a speech. That's to have your audience either make a change
in their thinking or their behavior. Otherwise, what's the point?
Decide what you want for them and then write your speech around
3. Use "Audience-Involvement" Devices. To bring the audience
into your talk and to make sure they are engaged, craft numerous
interactive techniques. These can be questions, exercises, role
plays, verbal quizzes and other ways that get them actively involved
with your material.
So there you have it, ten quick tips (and three bonuses!) for writing
better and more memorable speeches. When you write your speeches,
remember these and your audience will thank you by giving you their
To learn more about how presentation coaching can help you become
a better, more confident speaker, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental
Game Coach at www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/PresentationCoaching.html.
Copyright © 2005
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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