There are so many different speeches that you can write, fitting for a whole range of different events. Speeches can be written for weddings, for birthdays, civil ceremonies, graduations, funerals, anniversaries, even book launches! Most formal occasions provide an opportunity for a little speech!
Being tasked with the role of speech maker is scary! Whilst it can seem like a fun role initially, when it comes to you having to write down the speech, and worse still, delivering the speech, suddenly that fun idea becomes a reality, as you stand up and face a waiting audience. If you have to write a speech, either for yourself to read or for someone else to deliver, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
1. Sort out your research. If your speech is for a fun occasion, such as at a wedding or an anniversary party, then it is OK to be a little lenient with the truth to ensure you get a few giggles. But if the speech is say at your office’s annual review party, it needs to be technically correct. Protect yourself from raving on and on about the great annual turnover achieved that year by ensuring you know the real turnover figure first! The last thing you want to do is put your foot in it if the company’s experienced a downturn in the recession and half the people you’re preaching to have their jobs on the line! Make sure you know your facts before you start basing a speech on them.
2. It’s all in the planning! So as point 1 above suggests, ensure that you have spent a bit of time researching your speech subject, whoever or whatever that may be. But keep that research well tailored; stick to one or two key themes within your speech. Not only will this make your speech slicker, but it will also make it more memorable; both for you and for your audience.
3. Use real examples when highlighting a point in your speech. If your speech is formal, such as at a company launch, use examples to highlight sweeping statements about how creative the company is, or how it is built on a culture of education and further learning. Don’t just use wide, sweeping statements; make them personal to keep the speech as entertaining as possible. The same is true for informal speeches. Wedding guests want to hear funny stories about the bride and groom, birthday parties want to hear embarrassing moments that the guest of honour has experienced, and wedding anniversary parties want to hear about why and how the couple have been so successful in staying together for such a long time. To keep your guests happy and entertained, interweave in some examples that highlight those two key ideas you are putting forward in your speech.
4. Write a speech in the way that you (or the person you are writing it for) speak(s)! This will make it easier for the speech to be well delivered; as it will flow naturally off of the tongue. Similarly, if you write a speech out quite formally, you’ll end up delivering it this way, and so you may not successfully capture the tone that the event demands. The more conversational a speech sounds, the better the listeners will respond to it. A few tips to help you write down your speech in a conversational manner include:
– Keep your sentences short, snappy and simple
– Use contractions as you would in speech, such as ‘I’m’ and ‘we’re’
– Keep the language style in line with how you usually speak. Don’t use over complicated words to try to ‘sound’ sophisticated or clever. You may find that you end up stumbling on them.
– Read each iteration of your speech out loud so that you can really hear how it sounds each time you go to edit it.