Speech Writing Format: Guide to write a speech

Speech Writing Format: Guide to write a speech
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If you are new to writing a speech or crafting a speech then it can be overwhelming sometimes. When I was writing my first speech, I was enthralled. Back then for me, speech writing was just a collection of sentences and information. And then when I dived deeper into it, I realised there are many techniques, speech writing format and secrets in writing a speech / crafting a speech. When I googled it, I found complex answers. I was lost and confused like a little kid in Disneyland. Even though the concepts were good, I couldn’t apply them. Rather, I didn’t know how to apply them, I couldn’t enjoy the process of writing or crafting a speech.

But don’t worry about it, if you follow this Blog series: Step by step guide on how to craft a compelling speech, you will be able to craft a speech, which will have an everlasting impact on your audience.

The techniques and speech writing format which I have mentioned are tried and tested. These are not text book answers. It can be applied instantly on your speech to dazzle your audience. Without any further delay let’s start the process.

Below is step by step guide to write a speech.

Preparatory step

1) Clarity

Audience centric

Always remember one universal fact and never forget it. Your speech should be audience centric. i.e. after listening to your speech your audience should be benefitted in one or the other way. It might be taking an action in their life, a motivational message, informative speech, storytelling which will give them a different perspective. Always speak to express not impress. If you are writing a speech trying to highlight only your achievements and not about how your audience can also achieve or learn from your story, then your impact will be limited. 

Know your audience

Research about your audience or where you are delivering your speech. If you are going to a stand-up comedy event and deliver an informative speech about how to save a planet, No matter how great your speech is, your audience will dislike you for ruining their evening. It’s not because your speech was wrong , it’s because your target audience was wrong. 

It is like dating, imagine you are on a date and you are talking about something which the other person is not interested about. You know the outcome right?

Ask these questions before you start writing a speech or perhaps dating 

  1. What is the theme of the event?

Social gathering, leadership , business etc 

  1. What might be the expectation of the audience or what they would want to listen about?

Example:

Audience has come to relax and have a good time.

Audience is hungry for information, ideas and concepts.

You need not know in detail; just an idea is good enough.

2) Message

Your message should be crystal clear. If your speech timing is in between, 5 to 7 minutes make sure you are focusing only on 1 message or maximum 2. It’s always tending for a speaker to give out a lot of information or message to the audience hoping that it will make an impact and you as a speaker will fall into this trap.  Less is more. 

Now, we are bombarded with information all around us. It’s called information overload. As a result,our attention span has decreased. So always, try to focus on one message or maximum if 2 if your speech timing is between 5 to 7 minutes. 

If your speech or presentation timing is 20 minutes ,a maximum of 4 or 5 points you need to cover.

I repeat ,don’t over burden them with information. Less  is more.

Once you get the clarity of the preparatory step you can move ahead to the next step.

Speech writing format or structure

Before writing the speech you need to understand structure of speech or speech writing format.

Why is the structure or speech writing format is important?

Imagine you are watching the Titanic movie. First scene you see Jack dying. Second scene Jack and Rose are standing on the edge of a ship spreading their hands. Third scene Superman punched hulk so hard ,he went flying and Taylor swift saved him. 

Now you are confused right? Similarly a speech without a structure will confuse the audience.

Structure of a speech helps you to be organised, gives a right flow for your speech , eliminates unwanted information and helps you to create an everlasting impact on the audience. Most importantly it will give you, as a speaker , clarity.

Which is the most common structure or speech writing format which international speakers use in their keynote speeches?

Most of the speakers use the below structure. This structure can be implemented to all the formats of speeches. It might be business speech, raising a toast, storytelling, sermons etc 

Structure of speech or speech writing format

Your speech should be divided into 3 segments

Opening  ( Introduction)

  • Introduction or brief explanation of the topic.
  • If you are addressing a problem, you can mention the problem statement.

If your speech timing is between 5 to 7 minutes opening can be between 30 seconds to 50 seconds depending upon the concept.

Always make sure your opening of the speech captivates audience.

TIP: Go through additional articles mentioned below

Body ( Main message)

This is the crux of your speech. Here you will be explaining in detail your topic. If you are giving a motivational speech or a business speech, make sure you won’t bombard the audience with information. Less is more. Yes I am repeating it again so that it imprints in your mind. And then,  segregate the points carefully and strategically.

Point 1

Point 2

Point 3

Don’t go back and forth between the points. Make sure you explain points in detail and then move towards next.

In storytelling follow the flow of your story.

Conclusion ( Takeaway or summary )

  • A call to action, to make a decision
  • Summarise what you said.

In conclusion section avoid using “You” instead use words which include audience like “we” “Us”

Example: 

It’s your duty to save your planet. You should be aware of what you are doing.

Instead of this you can say

It’s our duty to save our planet. We should be aware of what we are doing.

Try to use words that include your audience. The moment you use “YOU” it sounds like you are ordering your audience and no one likes to be ordered.

This is basic speech writing format or structure you should be aware about.

Creative process

Once you know the structure you can start writing your speech.

This step is the beginning of your creative process. Just start writing the speech. Do all the necessary research, add your perspective and express yourself. Since this is a creative process the right part of your brain is activated so, do not focus on 

  • Grammar  
  • Structure 
  • Whether your speech is right or wrong or any other technical aspects, which obstruct your creative process.

The moment you focus on technical aspects there is shift from creative aspect to technical aspect of the brain and you will lose flow of thoughts. This process is also followed by writers. They don’t focus on grammar initially.

I repeat do not obstruct the creative process.Just continue writing.

Once your draft is ready. Now it’s time to fit it into the structure. Now while going through this draft you might realise the opening, conclusion etc is missing. Add all the missing elements in your speech. It might be grammar, rephrasing sentences etc

Now your first draft is ready. Your first draft has the basics of a speech. 

While reading through your first draft you might feel 

“Oh!!  This is not that great as I wanted it to be”

Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s a creative process. Rome was not built in a day. 

It’s just the birth of your speech. You will have to work on more revisions. Every revision, you will have to add speechcraft techniques. 


Step by Step: Guide to public speaking


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