“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

In speech writing, you have two main objectives:  Making a good impression and leaving your audience with one or two call-to-actions. The rest is just entertainment.

Make an Impression

Most people will only remember a line or two from your speech. Condense your message into 15-20 words and build the speech around it. There are different techniques to use. Using metaphors, analogies, surprise, and axioms are options that may be used.

Structure is Key

The audience expects two things from a speaker: A path and a destination. Set expectations in the beginning. As you write and revise the speech, keep it simple. Remove any confusing phrasing. If the text doesn’t help the core message – drop it.

Make the Opening Shine

Share a shocking fact or statistic. Tell a humorous story related to the theme. Open with a question. Poll the audience so they must raise their hands. Make it count. Every minute you talk, you are losing the audience.

Use the Right Tone

Who is the audience? Why are they there? What do they want? You must answer all these questions before you write the speech. Decide whether the speech will inform, motivate, entertain, challenge or something else.

Make it Personal

Share a story about yourself. Throw in references to your family and/or community. Write like you are talking to a friend. You need to be yourself – your best self on stage.

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