These six tips will help you stay calm and get your speech off to a great start.
1. Put your audience first. If you’re speaking to a business or non-profit organization, check out its website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and/or Twitter feed. What’s new and interesting that you might want to include in your speech? The more interested you are in your audience, the more they’ll tune in to what you have to say.
2. Ditch the big words. Shorter words paint a picture. They pack more punch. Use them. Here’s a perfect example:
3. Break the rules. Forget about grammar and punctuation rules. Listen to how people talk. We rarely speak in complete sentences in natural conversation. Instead, we use speech fragments. How many times today have you started a sentence with, “And”, “But” or “So”? Read a screenplay for an even better idea of how we speak, and then write that way.
4. Watch the clock. If you’ve been asked to prepare a five minute speech, aim for 500 words. In general, 100 words equals a one minute speech. Use your word count tool to keep you on track. For the fast talkers, aim for 120 words per minute.
5. Read out loud. Sometimes what looks good on paper or on screen sounds awkward when said out loud. Are you stumbling over words? Take the time to fix what isn’t working before delivering the speech.
6. Keep it short. Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address was less than three minutes long. Enough said.
Do you have any tips for writing a winning speech? Please share!