How to Write a Speech

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When writing a speech, know the audience and determine the overall goal of the presentation. Write a speech with tips from an author in this free video on writing techniques.

Part of the Video Series: Writing Lessons
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Here's your opportunity to take the platform and give a speech. So how do you write a good speech? Hi, everybody, I'm John Graden. I'm a professional speaker, trainer, and the author of seven books including The Imposter Syndrome. I have given hundreds of speeches. Key note presentations, training programs, this is a subject that I'm not just familiar with, but I love to do this stuff. It is exciting for me. It's fun. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. So let me share with you some of my experience. When I'm writing a speech, I have to first know who my audience is. I want to make sure that I know what the goal of the presentation is. So I'm going to talk to the boss who hires me. The meeting planner that hires me. I'm going to call the very supervisors within that company and find out what do you, what would you like your people to walk away from this presentation with? I want great, and I provide great take home value. I want to be entertaining, I want people to say hey, man that guy is a really good speaker. That's all very nice. It's ego stroking. The hard work is to create a presentation that makes change. That helps people to improve their lives, to improve their productivity, and to improve overall outlook on how they face the challenge of everyday. That's what I love doing. That's why I'm so thrilled about talking about programs like The Imposter Syndrome, which is how to replace self doubt with self confidence and train your brain for success. Boy, isn't that exciting for everybody to learn? So when I write a speech, A, number one, who's my audience? In order, number two, what is the take home value? OK, so I've got that assignment from the person who's hired me, or it's one of my own presentations. I know what it's, what I want them to leave with. From there, I'm going to start to write the speech in three parts. There's going to be the beginning, a middle, and the end. Let's say that it's going to be about an hour speech, maybe forty-five minute speech. I'll write it in eight to ten minute segments. That's about how long a television program lasts between commercials. So that's in our attention deficit rule. That's about how long you can keep somebody locked in on one particular point or subject before having to transition into another angle or another spin on that same story. I'm going to use three sections within that eight to ten minute sections. So, I'm going to have three little points that I want to make. So, it helps spend a little, OK section number one, I'm going to do my intro, I'm going to talk about the overview of the company, and I'm going to have point one, point two, point three. Section two, I'm going to have point one, point two, point three. And then, I'm going to move this speech all the way towards its conclusion, which is where I'll have my call for action. Humor, of course, is big part of every speech. It's difficult to write humor into a speech. For me, humor typically is a spontaneous comment or quip that's made from the stage. I don't usually structure humor into my speeches, even though they turn out to be entertaining and funny. That's just the nature of the way that I speak when I'm on stage. But one of the secrets that I'll share with you is a great way to get a laugh every time. If it's appropriate. When the person gives you your introduction, they read off this great introduction. It's glorious. It just builds you up to be the greatest speaker since me. You walk to the microphone, grab the microphone, and say, Mr. Jonas I want to thank you for that great introduction. You read that just like I wrote it for you. That's a guaranteed laugh. And the beauty is, that's a great way to start off your presentation. It loosens everybody up. Ever notice that if you go to a Broadway play, when the curtain pulls back, there's about thirty seconds of a maid sweeping the ground, or somebody reaching for a book, or some kind of activity that is meaningless. That's designed to allow the audience to focus in on the new subject and to get comfortable with what is about to happen. So when I make that initial comment, that little joke, it gives my audience a chance to aw, I like him. He made me laugh right off the bat. Then I'll dive into my presentation. I'm John Graden. I love making presentations. I hope one day to make a presentation for you or your organization. In the meantime, that's how I like to write a great speech, and I know you'll do the same. Thanks so much. Bye.

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