Write A Well-structured Speech

A speech is an effective medium to communicate a message you feel strongly about. Speech writing is a skill that has many advantages whether you are a student or a young professional. Like other skills, speech writing can be learned too.

You have a message you want people to hear so you better make sure your speech is well-structured or else people will not get what you are trying to say. You don’t want that, do you?

Here, I will explain how to write a well-structured speech. The steps I included here will help you avoid bad practices and develop good Speech Writing habits. Let’s begin!

Don’t write

When you have to write a speech, don’t write. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but really, it’s not.

Most people, when they are tasked to come up with a speech they write right away. They write whatever comes to mind — the stream of thoughts transcribed into a piece of paper. At first, it feels awesome but after a few minutes, you find yourself stuck.

“Where the hell is this going?” You ask yourself.

Since you’ve written a lot already, it becomes harder for you to start all over again. So what you would do, if you’re like most people, is force the speech to work, wrap it up with a crappy ending, and convince yourself it’s not so bad at all.

When you deliver your speech in front of the audience, they look puzzled.

“What is this person talking about? She sounds like somebody carelessly ranting about everything.”

When you have to write a speech, don’t write. Think. What is the topic of your speech? What other topics are related to it? What personal stories do you have that is connected to the topic? In other words, research and brainstorm. You have to make sure you have a clear grasp of the topic you want to tackle before you even write about it.

Divide and conquer

Now that you know where your speech ends, the next logical question is “How do you build the road that leads there?”

Begin by breaking down the general message you identified in Step 2 into smaller sections. It’s not only easier for you to write in parts, it’s also going to be easier for the audience to absorb smaller ideas that make up a big one. It’s a win-win scenario for you and your audience.

Let me provide you with an example. Say your general message is “We have to protect the environment,” then you can break it down this way:

(1) Personal story why you care about the environment (2) Alarming issues that are related to the environment (3) Recommendations on how to help protect the environment.

Or

(1) The importance of the environment (2) Role of the government in protecting the environment (3) Supporting sustainable technologies.

No matter how you choose to divide your speech, you have to make sure that the smaller sections lead to your general message. That way, it is more manageable and at the same time gives the effect that each part completes the whole.

After listing down your general message and subsections, start writing.

Read, rewrite, repeat.

Congratulations! You just finished writing your first draft. Thought this is over? Wrong. You are still missing one important piece that will complete the structure of your speech. I call it “The Flow.”

Ever listened to someone deliver a speech that’s hard to follow? Aside from the speaker’s monotonous voice, it’s probably because of the absence of “The Flow.”

The Flow is simply the smooth transition from one idea to another. Remember that you broke down your speech into manageable sections, which was discussed in the previous step. Now, if you jump from one section to another without a proper transition, your audience will have a hard time understanding your speech.

How do you avoid this? Read, rewrite, and repeat.