ORGANIZING AND WRITING A SPEECH
The informal formula for public speaking is “First, tell the audience what you are going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you just told them.”
You should follow this same mantra when structuring the notes that will serve as the basis for your oral presentation. Not only should you repeat some things, but you should also be extremely organized, so your listeners can easily follow what you say.
The first step to take before writing your speech is to create an outline.
Write down three to four main points, fill them in with subheadings, and then add third-level subheadings. Make each point a complete sentence. This skeletal structure will be the outline for your other notes, and eventually, the speech itself. Most word processing software includes an outlining feature, which may help.
In addition to your main points, you need an introduction and a conclusion. The introduction should capture the audience’s attention and warm you up. Some experts recommend humor, but exercise caution; if your joke falls flat, you immediately lose your audience. It’s better to start on a genuine note. Some suggestions (Dodd, 1997) for introductions include:
- Refer to a local event or a recent event in the news
- Tell a personal story, preferably one that is humorous
- Read a quote
- Ask a question
- Refer to something that’s just happened to group you are talking to
No matter which of these devices you use, they should be tied somehow to your topic. Make a statement that somehow connects the introduction to the body of the talk.
Include at least three or four main points.
Either end with a concluding statement or invite questions, or both. When you end your speech, only use the words “in conclusion,” “finally,” or “one more thing” if you are really finished. Also, don’t end your speech suddenly without recapping what you’ve said (remember to remind your audience of what you’ve just told them).
IMPORTANT – THE STORY
Each speech needs a memorable story that supports the theme of the speech.Â This will be remembered much longer and more deeply than figures and facts.Â This may be a difficult part of the speech and if need be get help writing it.Â
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE STORY
IF YOU SEE IT, THE AUDIENCE WILL TOO AND AS ACTORS KNOW SENSE MEMORY IS THE WAY TO DO IT.Â That’s right, you have to sit down and spend time seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing everything in the story so you can automatically do the same when telling it.