If you have been asked to deliver a speech at a graduation, school convocation, business luncheon, or recognition ceremony, don’t worry. The best way to reduce anxiety is to be prepared. You can write any speech by remembering four points.
• Write the speech
• Read the speech out loud
• Make adjustments
• Repeat until the speech is ready to deliver
When writing the speech, keep in mind your audience, the topic or theme, the purpose of the speech, and how much time you have for delivery. Jot down a few ideas for an introduction and set those aside.
Start by writing the body of the speech, write the conclusion next, and then write the introduction. Be yourself and write the way you talk, so you sound natural and at ease. Keep the speech simple and centered around one message. Include transitions between points, such as “Now that I have explained…” or “Let’s move on to…” Be sure to include facts, examples, or stories to illustrate your main points. Write, read aloud, revise, and repeat until the body is done.
When you write the conclusion, make sure it ties back to the purpose of your speech (to motivate, persuade, inform, celebrate, etc.). You can end with a powerful quote that fits the topic, issue a challenge or a call to action, or refer back to a story you told earlier. Write your ending, read it, revise, and repeat until you are satisfied.
Save writing the introduction for the end, so you can refer to the rest of the speech and make sure the intro fits. When writing the introduction, remember the purpose of your speech, your audience, and your theme or topic. You can open with a quote, a story, a statistic or data, the announcement of your theme, or a definition (Today, I am going to talk about courage. Courage is defined as…”). Use the four steps of write, read, revise, and repeat for your introduction until it is done.
Once the speech is written from top to bottom, read it out loud. Check for tone, see if the stories and examples tie together, and eliminate any jargon. Make adjustments and repeat until you are ready to present a fantastic speech that delivers your message.