Writing is a broad aspect of learning, and not many people often cover everything to do with it. Many writers often master one area and become experts and go ahead to produce excellent works. Most importantly, writing is taught in college and touches on many different aspects. This includes research writing, dissertation writing, term paper writing, essay writing, movie review writing, business writing, and speech writing and so on. All these assignments are supposed to be completed in accordance with the instructions provided.
With speech writing aspect, it comes in handy especially if one is supposed to give a talk somewhere, be it in class, conference or any other important place where there will be a live audience. As such, one must be prepared not only in writing but also psychologically. For now, we are going to deal with the speech writing process, the structure involved and what to consider when writing speeches. Everybody can write something down that might be spoken. It can be good or bad. However, if you want your speech to be influential, you have to consider its structure.
Some of the biggest mistakes that happen in speech writing are packing too much information in the structure. It will be confusing especially when it comes to what you want the speech to accomplish. A speech is supposed to have three major parts, which include the introduction where the speaker gets the attention of the audience as he introduces the subject matter. The second part is usually the largest part, which is the body. It consists of the contents of the entire speech; you must concentrate here during the speech writing process. The last part of the speech is the conclusion, which wraps up everything that has been explained in the speech.
Now giving a speech anywhere can be nerve-wracking. However, writing an effective speech is a good way to bolster your confidence and deliver the message as expected. If you plan carefully and maintain an eye for detail, you can engage in a speechwriting process that will inform, persuade, motivate or better still, entertain. Take adequate time to originate speech and practice it severally to achieve the best results.
The speechwriting process involves the following steps:
Planning for your speech
You do not just wake up one morning and start writing speeches. You need to have a plan that you are going to stick to until. You realise the goals at hand. During your planning, you need to consider the following factors:
Decide the goals of your speech
You need to establish what you want to achieve from the speech writing process as well as the delivery of the same. If you understand the goals and motivation behind your speech writing, you will have a great way to start working on it. Take your time as you think on the purpose of your speech because it is essential in developing your focus that will culminate in the desired outcome. Some of the questions you need to consider here include:
- Why do you need to write a speech? What are your topic and purpose?
- Do you want to persuade, entertain, inform, or motivate your audience?
- Will you get a good grade a raise or an award if your speech is great? What are the elements that would help you in winning this award?
These questions go a long way in establishing the way you are going to approach the speech writing process. Remember that you only have one chance of making things happen and as such, make your speech writing process count.
Analyse the expectations of your audience
In all manner of writing, you have to think of the audience during the writing process. The understanding audience is a crucial part of effective speech writing. You have to consider who will hear your speech, what they will be expecting, and how you are going to appeal to their interests. Pay attention to their goals and beliefs. Your audience can be your teachers, fellow students, your boss, coworkers, and strangers and so on. Establish what you know about the audience of your speech. Their beliefs, values, and expectations matter a lot.
If your speech writing targets a group of peers, you can appeal more to what they find funny or valuable. On the other hand, if you are going to address teachers with your speech, focus on what the grading criteria are. You have to check the guide you received for the assignment and use it in the speechwriting process to ensure you meet their expectations.
If you are addressing a group of strangers, identify what you know about them and use it in the speechwriting process. If your audience is composed of medieval warfare enthusiasts, you ought to appeal to those interested by talking about some aspects concerning medieval warfare.
Enumerate some questions that you have or expect the audience to ask
As you think of what you are going to write in your speech as well as the expectations of the audience, you can come up with a list of the questions that you have. These questions are essential in research, as you get ready for your speech writing. For instance, if your speech is going to be persuasive and you are dealing with the best approach to weight loss, it would be good to know if anyone has studied this approach and what their research identified.
If your audience is likely unfamiliar with the topic, you have to address the most common questions that usually arise during the discussion of the subject. Remember that you are still planning for the speechwriting process.
Research your topic extensively
If your speech is going to be informative or persuasive, then it demands you to do extensive and deep research. This will give it credibility and make your points more convincing. You can use scholarly sources like books, academic journals, newspaper articles, and government websites and so on, to find information that will support your claim. This sounds like academic writing, which is true and as such, you should use your speech writing skills to ensure the message reaches home.
If your speech is meant for a class, you can check with your professor for the details concerning the number of sources that you are supposed to use in your speech.
Formulate an outline that includes all the major points and arguments
Now that you approach the speechwriting process to formulate an outline that will help you I organizing the ideas that you have in a great way. It also helps in checking for completeness and flow before you even start speech writing. As earlier stated, a speech structure must include an introduction, five major points that are supported with evidence and a conclusion. Concerning the evidence, it can be statistics, examples, quotes, anecdotes and so on. You can use a numbered structure or put your speech outline in bullet points.
If your speech writing is meant to inform or persuade, you can arrange it with a problem and solution structure. You can start the speechwriting process by talking about the problem and then providing a solution. This should happen in the second half of your speech.
Always remember that your outline is subject to change as you go on with the speech writing process. You have to include all the information that is relevant now expecting that you are likely to pare it down later.
Drafting your speech
Now you have entered the speech writing process, and this is the first draft of what you are going to writ in your speech. When drafting the speech, consider the following:
Choose a hook that grabs the attention of the audience
The first sentence of your speech is the most important part because, for one, it helps the audience to determine if they are going to listen to the speech or not. Depending on the goals of your speech, you can start with something funny, frightening, sad or shocking. This will hook your audience to what you are about to say next.
Link tour topic to a larger issue to give it context
If your topic is niche, the audience may not get its relevance in the first place and so in your speech writing process, ensure that you explain this relevance to them. This is important because it is the topic is irrelevant to the audience; they are not going to pay much attention. Pay attention to the big picture especially during speech writing and show how the topic fits into it. Give them reasons as to why they should care about this topic.
Your introduction should be one paragraph to ensure you do not spend too much time on context and background.
Address every major point in the right sequence
Once you introduce the topic and context, go right into your main points. Remember that this is the speech writing stage and as such, you need to state each point clearly and provide additional information, facts, evidence, and statistics as you explain your points. Each point should take on paragraph, which means speech writing is not that different from essay writing.
Use pathos, ethos, and logos to come up with a solid argument
These elements, also known as the rhetorical triangle are essential to the speechwriting process. Using only one of them will not create an effect, but if you can combine the three of them, writing speeches become balanced and effective. Pathos appeal to the emotions of the audience, ethos refers to the ethic and establishes your credibility and logos appeal to logic that gets your points across.
Making your speech more engaging
To make your speechmore engaging, you need to do the following:
Keep the sentences and words short and simple
During the speech writing process, try to minimise the usage of big words. Use simpler words that express the same meaning to avoid alienating your audience. Do not use any complex way to express your idea while you have a much simpler way of communicating the same to the audience.
Use pronouns sparingly
It is better to use proper pronouns because it will require avid repletion. This is an aspect you have to pay attention every time you are writing speeches. Go for proper nouns wherever possible and limit the use of pronouns. These include he, she, it, they, we, that, those, and so on.
You can repeat a word or a phrase a few times in the speech
Feel free to repeat a word or a phrase a few times, as you engage in the speechwriting process. However, you need to be very careful with this repetition because it can be distracting. When you repeat a word or a phrase, the reason is to crystalize your argument and keep the audience engaged.
Limit your statistics and quotes
This is essential in trying to avoid overwhelming the audience. Even though providing tons of statistics and expert quotes might seem as convincing, there is a side effect. You can use one or two statistics or quotes per point and only include the meaningful ones.
Provide aids if required
It is not a requirement to have a PowerPoint presentation. However id it helps the audience to follow along, you can prepare it during the speechwriting process especially if you are dealing with complex points in the speech.
Check for any mistakes in your speech
After finishing the writing process, you can take some time off before editing and proofreading. Once you come back, check on the structure, the flow, spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Practice your speech in front of mirrors or family members. After you are satisfied that you achieved everything during the speechwriting process, the only thing remaining is the delivery. Reading your speech aloud will help you in smoothening the tone and ensuring the speech is within the goals that you want it to achieve.