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Writing a speech must be something that almost all people go through at some point in their entire life. Whatever form of entertainment you inject in your speech, the reality is it probably still sounds dull. The audience only retains 30% of the information you write in your speech because their attention span is only approximately 10 to 20 minutes. The rest of your speech will just sound plainly spoken to them as they fiddle with their phones. However, a great speechwriter recognizes and applies these basic steps to make your presentation less of a boredom:
1. Don’t waste the opening message. This is usually the most common mistake of a person writing a speech. They usually waste the intro by bombarding the audience of a whole bunch of clichés that they probably heard a million times already. Start with a striking but simple quote (if that’s how you want to start your message with). One important tip however is to start with something humorous without overdoing it. Humor works best in speeches especially in lengthening their attention and sustaining an air of enthusiasm and interest among the audience, but overdoing it may reflect a taste of informality and rudeness from the speaker. The introduction is one of the most crucial points in your speech because how you start usually predicts how the rest of your speech will go and of course, gives a clue on how it will eventually end.
2. Leave a mark. This is probably the most challenging task for someone writing a speech. It’s not an easy task to write a speech that the audience would most likely remember afterwards, but it’s not impossible. You can cite a particular instance that the audience can relate to; a personal experience will work. An example of a memorable part of a speech is an excerpt from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, “and so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Be careful in using a metaphor because it may mislead the audience. Make sure a metaphor is well explained after stating it in your speech.
3. Be organized. When writing a speech, make sure that events and experiences that you will present are arranged in a logical manner or else, your audience will get confused and lose interest. If you are to recall an incident, make sure that you state them in chronological order. Mention old events first before new ones. Another thing to remember is to not simply jump from one scene to another. In stating a particular experience that happened in a different setting, make sure you introduce a shifting tone before jumping to another one, so that the audience won’t get perplexed. A shifting statement may sound something like “let’s move on to….” Or “allow me to cite another…” Remove words that can be misleading and can be misinterpreted by the audience.
4. Meet their expectations. When writing a speech, make sure you understand the expectations of your audience. Does your speech contain details that may reveal the purpose that your audience seeks? Details like the audience’s reason for being there, should be addressed firstly. Determine that, and you can never go wrong with your speech. A famous poet once said, ‘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.’
5. Reiterate. Repeat important phrases to emphasize a point. Study shows that 80% of the audience will remember a phrase if they have heard it at least two to three times. Keep this in mind but don’t overdo this, because doing so may leave the audience bored and irritated.
6. Make an impressive ending. This is the second most important thing next to starting with a striking and interesting introduction. Make an interesting and memorable ending without being too pushy and sounding too intimidating.