Before you sit down to write the greatest speech ever, go back to the basics. You can start with the seed. That seed may be a topic idea. Go back to your notebook and folder full of ideas (details will be discussed in an upcoming chapter). Now that you have something to work with, you are about to get to the part that may make or break the momentum of the entire speech. The next step should be deciding what you intend to do with that germinating idea. What is the objective of your speech? Do you want people to laugh, think, or cry? Do you want to persuade, motivate, inform, entertain, or inspire? You need to know the intended take-away for your audience before you begin the rest of the writing process. Once you’ve established how you would like the audience to react, you can then begin to outline the vision further.
If you just write your speech straight through without keeping your true intentions in mind, you will create more work for yourself as you refine it. You need to know how to transition effectively from a serious part of your speech to a more humorous one, for example. Having intentions in mind may also impact your word choice. If you just take your idea and run with it, you are not truly letting it germinate. Instead, try putting your idea in the middle of a piece of paper and brainstorming (by yourself and possibly with others), writing down everything that you think of about the idea. Your thoughts should come fast and furious, without being censored or developed; the extra effort of piecing them together comes later. This brainstorming may lead to the true path you want to take.
The most effective part of the exercise comes when you give yourself a time limit, such as fifteen minutes, to throw ideas together. Time pressure should keep the ideas flowing, without being over-engineered. The important part is that you are progressing down a path towards your message and theme intentions.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
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