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The most important aspects of writing and delivering a good speech are preparation and adequate practice (Lancaster 2010). Careers that involve regular delivery of speeches are very challenging because of the time and effort that goes into preparing a speech. Speech writing is an important aspect of learning because it equips people with skills that serve them for life (Esser 2006). For instance, it instils proper communication skills that are critical in human interactions and formation of relationships.
The main objectives of a writer when writing a speech is to engage the attention of the audience, use a language that is easy to understand, and present ideas in a way that makes them acceptable and convincing (Neale 2011). A good speech contains certain aspects of communication such as lists, rhetoric questions, emotive language, repetition, contrasts, and evidence to support ideas and arguments. The process of speech writing involves several steps that include identification of purpose, determination of the audience, writing, and proofreading to eliminate mistakes (Dowis 2000).
Purpose and audience
Determining the purpose of a speech and the intended audience is the first step before commencing the writing process (Neale 2011). The writer needs to know the audience he/she is writing for in order to choose the style of writing, the tone, as well as the words to use. On the other hand, the writer should know what the speech is about and for how long it needs to last.
These are minute details that prepare the writer and ensure that they provide quality writing. It is also necessary to have an outline detailing the various points or ideas that the writer intends to cover in the speech (Esser 2006). This type of preparation reduces the stress of writing the speech and reduces the amount of time spent writing or brainstorming for ideas (Neale 2011). The audience is the most important aspect of ensuring that a speech attains its intended objective. Therefore, the writer should ensure that each point that is listed o the outline is explained in the most effective way taking into consideration the needs of the audience.
It should be easy to understand and should be written from the audience’s point of view (Roy 2011). This ensures the creation of good rapport with the audience. Understanding the audience also ensures that the writer uses a level of language that is comprehensible and that makes the speech interesting. The writer should decide what he/she wants the audience to learn and choose a style to present the arguments in a logical manner.
Writing the speech
The introduction is an important part of a speech because it determines whether the audience will be interested in listening to the speech or not. Therefore, the writer should make the introduction interesting and catchy. The starting statement should get the attention of the audience by appealing to them on a personal level (Lancaster 2010).
This will get their attention and evoke their interest in the topic of discussion. The first statement could be a short anecdote that relates to the topic. Secondly, it is important to establish the context or motive of the speech. This involves offering an explanation as to why the topic is important and why the audience should be concerned (Dowis 2000).
In addition, this could involve connecting the ideas in the speech to larger issues that affect the lives of the audience. The audience should be helped to connect the material of the speech to their lives. The third part involves writing the thesis and explaining how it will be supported. In speech writing, it is important to embrace brevity in order to avoid losing the interest of the audience. Brief and witty statements are easy to understand and do not confuse the audience (Shinn 2010).
Three important aspects of writing the body of the speech include repeating important statements, incorporating previews and summaries, and using strong and effective transitions to connect ideas and arguments (Neale 2011). Repeating ideas and important points is very important especially in long speeches because it helps the audience keep track of the topic and build on it as the speech carries on. In short speeches, it is not important to repeat because there are few ideas and points and the audience can make connections easily.
The use of key terms allows the writer to connect old and new ideas in way that does not confuse the audience (Shinn 2010). In addition, it makes it easier for the audience to create connections between the various ideas covered in the speech. Incorporating previews and summaries makes the speech palatable and allows the audience to take in the information without engaging in a lot of thinking.
A writer should find ways to shorten arguments by summarizing them. Summaries give the audience an opportunity to pay more of their attention to the speech rather than to thinking (Roy 2011). Strong transitions help the writer to connect old and new ideas in a flawless manner. For instance, they help to connect arguments and counterarguments in a manner that is easy to comprehend the side that the writer takes.
In speech writing, it is critical to follow rules of grammar and communication in order for the audience to understand the message of the speech (Roy 2011). Short simple sentences are preferred to long and complex sentences. Short sentences make it easier for the audience to remember the ideas conveyed. The writing should limit the use of pronouns, use the rhetorical strategies of ethos pathos, and logos, use an appropriate tone, and use statistics and quotations in moderation. Ethos, pathos, and logos should be used when presenting an argument because the strategy helps to convince the audience (Shinn 2010).
In addition, they strengthen arguments. Ethos involves the establishment of a piece of information’s authenticity, pathos involves connecting to the audience’s emotions, and applying logos involves the use of statistics and facts to support arguments (Neal & Bowers 2003). A good speech incorporates these three strategies into the writing process.
Statistics are usually complex and hard to comprehend and should be used sparingly. Using too much statistics creates the risk of overwhelming the audience with information and blocking their ability to understand the message of the speech (Neal & Bowers 2003). The choice of the tone to use in writing depends on the type of audience.
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Writing for a formal audience requires a professional tone while writing for an informal audience requires a casual tone. The right tone ensures that the writer uses the most appropriate words, expressions, humour, anecdotes, and illustrations. It reminds the audience about the message of the speech by outlining or explicating the main points covered. The conclusion highlights the main arguments covered in the speech and serves to provide an overall overview to the audience.
Checking and proofreading
The final step after writing the conclusion is checking and proofreading the speech to eliminate errors. Point to check include the length of sentences, grammatical errors, the tone of the speech, order of ideas, clarity of transition and language use (Neal & Bowers 2003). A good speech has no grammatical and language errors and conveys the intended message in an easily comprehensible manner.
Writing a speech is a process that requires the writer to be keen and focused because of the many requirements. As mentioned earlier, the first step is preparing an outline that enumerates the points or ideas that will be discussed in the speech. The outline acts as a guide that helps the writer to present arguments in a logical and easy to understand manner. In addition, it ensures that all the points are covered. The introduction should be interesting and catchy as it determines whether the audience will be interested in listening to the rest of the speech or not.
The body must cover the main ideas and use statistics and facts to support arguments. The ideas should be linked together in a way that makes them easy to follow and assimilate. They should be presented in a logical and smooth progression. The end of the speech summarizes the main points and calls the audience to action by presenting a challenge. The end can also restate the thesis and give recommendations. Finally, the writer should check the speech to make sure that they have followed the rules of grammar and communication to eliminate mistakes.
Dowis, R 2000, The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It, How to Deliver It, AMACOM Div American Management Association, New York.
Esser, J 2006, Presentation in Language: Rethinking Speech and Writing, Gunter Narr Verlag, New York.
Lancaster, S 2010, Speechwriting: The Expert Guide, Robert Hale, New York.
Neale, T 2011, Speechwriting in perspective: A Brief Guide to Effective and Persuasive Communication, DIANE Publishing, New York.
Neal, T & Bowers J 2003, Speechwriting in Perspective, Nova Publishers, New York.
Roy, J 2011, Sharpen Your Debate and Speech Writing Skills, Enslow Publishers Inc, New York.
Shinn, M 2010, Perfect Speeches for All Occasions, Random House, New York.