When someone stands up and gives a speech at a press conference, they are often reading the words written by a publicist or PR firm. Those words are important. Every single one of them is chosen carefully, and every idea they collectively create is thorough and purposeful. How does one go about writing good speeches? Is it pure talent, or is it a perfect writing formula?
Here are some clever speechwriting tips for an outstanding speech.
5 Speechwriting Tips
1. Know your audience
This isn’t just one of the speechwriting tips; it’s a general rule of thumb for public relations and marketing alike: know your audience. This is the key to every campaign you’ll ever run. It is the prerequisite for communicating with your audience, and therefore, having a successful campaign. Simply put, if you don’t know your audience, you don’t know what the right words are.
2. Create an outline
Writing an outline is a good way of keeping your thoughts together and putting them in order. Your average scatterbrained person may have trouble just going up and ad-libbing a persuasive speech, because they’re be all over the place, right?
Creating an outline is useful for everyone because it organizes your thoughts. It’s what you should do before writing the speech itself. Any novelist, screenwriter, or journalist will tell you: once the outline is out of the way, actually writing the thing is a relative breeze.
It’s also useful for getting the flow of your speech down. Creating an outline will be like gathering all your main points together and putting them where they belong. It helps with the main points you’re trying to make, as well as the overall flow. A good piece of writing advice is to not flood your content with ideas. Stick with the smallest amount of information you can manage while getting your message across. Studies show that people really only remember the basic idea of a speech, so keep content itself to minimum—two or three main ideas.
3. Relate it to the audience
When you’re done with the outline, form the speech around that structure and get to writing. At this point, it’s time to grab people’s collective attention. The best way to do that is to make it personal. By throwing in personal anecdotes, stories, facts, and figures, your audience will connect with you a lot more as a peer, rather than someone on stage telling them what to do.
Humans really digest good stories. You should treat your speech as such: a story about you, in a sense. That personal touch matters, perhaps, the most to any professional speech giver.
4. Write like you talk
It’s called a “speech,” not a performance monologue. Here’s something you can try: write the most eloquently written speech you possibly can… Then read it out loud. It sounds a little off, doesn’t it? That’s because people are expecting conversational and they want to understand as much as they can. Remember: intelligent people know how to talk, but anyone can use big words.
When writing your speech, consider using shorter sentences and contractions. You should try reading your speech out loud while writing it and that should help a ton. Don’t use overly complicated sentences that even the reader might have trouble with. The goal is authentic and conversational.
5. Inspire with your last words
Barack Obama preferred his speeches to almost have an arc structure with personal anecdotes, with a slow build-up, a substantive middle, and an end that inspires. That goes along perfectly with our speechwriting tips. So, how about that last little bit of inspiration at the end?
Say something with meaning. Don’t just simplify and summarize. Give them a call-to-action that resonates with them. The last statement you give should inspire the audience to make the next move. That might mean donating to a cause, being inspired to make a change. So make sure you take time with the final statement—it should come from the heart.
Get More Than Speechwriting Tips from PR Plus
If you want to know more about how to write speeches, our Las Vegas public relations firm has the experience and the knowledge. Check out our speech writing page for more information on this service we provide.