Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Write a Captivating Speech

The principles for writing effective speeches are the same, whether for a personal speech at a wedding or a high-powered presentation by a politician or celebrity.

The Purposes of Speech Writing
A speech serves three main purposes:
· To inform
· To entertain
· To persuade
When writing out a speech, focus on one of these areas while including the others.

The Three Parts of a Speech
Like most written material, a speech consists of an introduction, a body and a conclusion. To begin with, it is helpful to write the three parts in note form.

Introducing a Speech
The introduction of a speech is crucial for gaining and keeping the attention of the audience. Here are some creative ways to write an interesting introduction:
· Tell a brief personal story that is related to the topic of the speech
· Use relevant statistics that will capture the audience’s attention
· Start with a thought-provoking or amusing quotation
· Pose a rhetorical question that will get the audience thinking

Writing the Body of a Speech
There are a variety of methods for putting together the body of a speech. All help to arrange the material into a logical easy-to-understand sequence:
· Chronological outline – the speech follows a time line
· Spatial outline – the speech is divided into geographical locations
· Problem- solution. A problem is explained or pointed out and a solution presented

Concluding a Speech
The conclusion of a speech should be written in such a way as to serve two purposes:
· Signal the end of the speech
· Summarize what has been said

A good conclusion will bring a satisfying end to a speech and leave thoughts in the minds of the audience. This can be done by linking the conclusion back to the introduction, issuing a challenge, or ending with a powerfully relevant quotation.

Once a speech is written, practise saying it out loud and underline sentences that need emphasis. Divide it into easy-to-see paragraphs and used coloured pens to highlight key areas. The best speech-makers often follow a written script closely, but make it sound as though they are talking from the heart.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101, Associated Content and Faithwriters.