How to Write a Speech
If you are new to public speaking, then you may be really curious about how to write a speech.
Viable concern considering this is the content of your presentation.
During my Toastmasters journey, I had the opportunity to work with many mentees.
And 2 of the different kinds of fears that I have seen is that:
- one group did not know ‘what’ to say.
- one group did not know ‘how’ to say it.
Want to know a little insight?
Knowing what to say is more important than knowing how to say it in the speaking world.
Once you know ‘what’ to say with pure conviction, then your ‘how’ will recalibrate & will be delivered much more effectively.
But the key is that you have substance.
In today’s article, I am going to give you my personal blueprint on how to write a speech.
This simple method has gotten me & my client’s tons of results for our speeches.
Get ready & let us enter the world of public speaking!
The Biggest Mistake in Public Speaking
Newbies make one major mistake.
They have no clue how to write a speech, so they approach speech writing with ambiguity.
And where there is ambiguity, there is complexity.
Complexity causes the new speaker to talk about MANY ideas in their speech.
They want to teach you something.
They want to teach you something else.
Now they throw in a story.
Idea after idea after idea.
But this is a big mistake!
In the public speaking world, less is more.
However, newbie public speakers think more is more.
Your goal is to convey ONE big idea to the audience.
And everything else in your speech will be supporting that one big idea.
Once you reduce complexity, it is much easier for your audience to stay engaged.
Knowing Your Audience
‘Armani, I thought the article title was how to write a speech. What does knowing your audience have anything to do with it?’
Here’s the thing grasshopper…
Writing your speech is easy if you do the heavy lifting in the beginning.
Knowing your audience is huge because it will allow you to gain insight on how to write your speech.
Giving a talk about engineering to doctors will fall flat.
Your message NEEDS to resonate.
And it will resonate when you have an idea of who your audience is & the environment that you are speaking to.
Take some time to ask the event coordinator who will be in the crowd to get a general gist.
This step will allow you to understand whether your speech should be light-hearted, more informative, have props etc.
MIND HACK: Picturing the End
Here’s another Toastmasters Tip.
Start with the end in mind.
I want you to imagine the audience’s faces once you are done presenting.
What do they look like?
Do they look mind blown because you have given them a piece of knowledge that shifted their paradigm?
Or are they looking energetic since your speech was so entertaining?
How about a little bit of both?
Picturing the end in mind allows you to have a bird’s eye view of your speech writing.
This is huge because once you have a high-level overview, filling in the low-level details become much easier.
Remember, you are creating a speech for the audience, not for yourself!
Which brings me to my next point.
How to Write A Speech
Okay, now the fun part!
You know the audience.
You got mentally prepared by picturing the end in mind.
Well, let’s keep the momentum going!
We need to hit:
- The opener
- 3 supporting points
- The closer
If you picture the end reaction of your audience, then you have an idea of why you are giving the speech.
Think about it.
Why are you up on stage giving this talk?
What is your ONE big idea that you want to transfer from your mind to your audience’s mind?
Write it out in 1 sentence.
Once you have identified the ONE big idea, now you have created ONE path for your speech.
Picture a path.
Your goal is to walk from the beginning of the path to the end of the path.
Your audience is walking right behind you champ.
You are the leader.
So you are going to be taking them from point A to B.
They will follow your lead.
Opening a speech is when you are tapping into their world.
You need to speak their language.
An opener is not just the 1st sentence, but rather the beginning monologue.
When you think it’s just the first sentence, you opt for a sensationalist opening line to sort of clickbait them.
But no need.
Think of a beginning that allows your audience to get interested in your why.
Say your WHY is about: ‘why dogs are better than cats.’
“Who in this room like cats? Who in this room likes dogs? Whoever raised their hand for dogs, meet me after the speech. I am going to buy you all a drink! I’ll be honest guys, I have recently gotten a dog & I love that sucker. The best thing that’s happened to me in a while. Let me tell you why…”
This is a very simple monologue, but you get the point.
The goal is to get their attention & give them an idea of what your speech is about.
Remember how I said that you are walking a path?
Well, no one will want to follow you on a path if you don’t at least tell them where you guys are going.
So tell them where you are going in your monologue.
3 Supporting points
3 is an arbitrary number.
But I like 3 because the average human mind is VERY busy.
Therefore, 2-3 points often pack a punch.
These can be stories, statistics or testimonials adding credibility to your WHY.
Each of these points needs to support your WHY.
This is exactly why I say have ONE main idea.
Otherwise, you’re going down 50 paths!
But keep it simple & allow yourself to brainstorm on 3 points to keep the flow of your why going.
Here are 3 example points based on the dog speech:
Supporting Point 1: Dogs have been known as a ‘man’s best friend’, not cats.
Supporting Point 2: Tell a story about how your dog helped you in your life.
Supporting Point 3: Tell an interesting fact about a dog that paints them as the superior pet.
You get the point.
The closer is basically a glorified summary.
You have taken the audience from the beginning of the path & bought them all the way to the end.
To let them know they are at the end, you remind them of the journey you guys just went om so they can truly appreciate how far they have come.
Summarize your points, and give your final thoughts & opinions.
Normally, this is a great time to give a call to action.
That doesn’t mean you have to sell something.
This can be something as simple as:
No matter if you are a dog or a cat person, understand one main thing. We are lucky enough to have a companion by our side. I love my companion. Tonight I want you to show appreciation towards your pet as well.
Boom, that’s it.
Where to Write a Speech
You can write out the speech on a notepad or Word document.
I prefer the Word document so you can adjust as needed.
As a beginner, I suggest writing your ideas down.
But as you build public speaking experience, you can do it from your head.
But work your way up to this, no need to skips steps.
Brainstorm in the beginning stages & lead with creativity!
No need to overthink every word, sentence structure & punctuation in the planning period.
Just fall back, brainstorm and write your ideas down.
Once you have them on paper, you can practice delivering it & ironing it out.
I recommend practice public speaking from home by recording yourself.
Keep playing around with transitioning from one point to the next, your delivery & your simplicity.
Each practice session will refine & become more polished.
Continue to Improve on How to Write Speeches
Speech writing is fun when you get the first few under your belt.
This is a skillset, so you can develop it over time.
This is a very basic framework that you can follow & you can add your own unique twist to it later on as well.
- Know your audience
- Picture the end in mind
- Have a major why
- Relatable opening
- 3 major points
- Summarized closing with CTA
Use the tools from this article & develop an amazing speech to captivate the crowd.
If you are someone who has a speech coming up & would like some assistance with your planning it out, then reach out to me for a free 30 minutes strategy call.
Good luck & begin mastering this evergreen art today.