Posts Tagged ‘tips for good speeches’

  • Tips For Writing Good Speeches


    Here is a nice article about speech writing from the Business Mirror. It is a fairly general guide and it can be applied to a number of occasions. Most of the time, you won’t need to research much, just use your head and cater your father of the bride speech to your audience. So the following are the tips they give:

    Generally, you must use formal language. But you can be informal, even colloquial. Webster was strict with “correct usage,” until its 1961 Third Edition permitted no-nos like “ain’t” so long as “used by cultivated speakers.” William Zinsser concedes in On Writing Well: “Spoken word is looser than written language. We allow oral idioms that we forbid in print because, as Samuel Johnson said, ‘The pen must, at length, comply with the tongue.’”

    Your opener must connect at once with the audience—through laughter, applause or groans. It should track directly into the talk. Sylvia Simmons advises in How to Be the Life of the Podium: acknowledge your introducer, explain your presence, say something about the audience or your subject matter or let them in on something about you.

    After drafting an arresting opener, do you then face a blank wall? Simmons talks of jotting random notes before sitting down to draft the speech, then resting and jotting more notes. “Your speech will almost write itself,” she gushes.

    Use quotations, examples, statistics, comparisons and contrasts. Set these into audio-visual aids, Detz adds. PowerPoint makes it so easy to produce items for projection screens; just tell the host you’ll need one. Let quotes come alive by tape-recording, then playing them with pictures of the persons being quoted.

    Keep it short and simple. Listeners readily grasp short words and sentences. They appreciate simple presentations of complex, abstract ideas. Know when to end. Hemingway noted that it takes two years to learn to talk and a lifetime to learn to shut up. Keep your speech to less than 800 words or 12 minutes max—the average person’s attention span.

    Edit and rehearse. Once you’ve drafted the talk, let it sit overnight or two. Then, go at it with blue pencil, cutting ruthlessly to sharpen your lines. Read it aloud. The cocky CEO I mentioned at the start went to the event without reviewing his speechwriter’s draft. Into the third page at the rostrum, he realized too late it was all about the writer asking for a raise.

    Check out the rest of the article here.

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