How to start writing a speech

Have you ever put together a first draft of a speech or presentation that just doesn’t get the message across that you’d been hoping for? We’re here to help show you how to start writing a speech.

start a speech

If so, then it is worth back peddling slightly.  Apologies if this sounds like common sense, but experience suggests that speeches often get written as part of the following process:

  1. The speaker is asked to speak at an event because they are an expert
  2. Experts tend to know a huge amount about their subject
  3. They start writing before deciding what they really want the speech to achieve
  4. They forget that the majority of their audience tend to know a lot less about their subject than they do
  5. Their draft tends to veer between topics and loses focus
  6. They then ask for help!

On that basis, it is worth spending a little time thinking and planning before starting to write.

Planning should begin by asking one very simple question:

What, in one sentence, would you like your audience to say about your speech once you have finished?

In essence, that single sentence is the key.  The speech then needs to be written to create that outcome.

This requires an argument.  Rather than trying to start by fleshing that argument out over many pages, just try and write a synopsis of the entire speech in a single paragraph, and ensure that it still meets your one sentence objective.

You now have a plan and a structure around which to develop detail.

This doesn’t mean that everything becomes easy.  But it should enable you to think with a little more clarity.  At that stage you can start to focus on the things that will really make your speech memorable.  Like simple language, a punchy script, an appropriate balance between humour and sincerity and detail that is relevant and interesting without being too technical.

Approaching it this way should make a world of difference.  And if it doesn’t, I’d be delighted to help bring it to life!

Lawrence

7 Comments

  1. Lawrence
    May 01, 2012 at 09:22

    Hi Sarah
    It needs to create impact and make the reader want to know more. It should take an original angle that generates interest and that links naturally to the key messages you are trying to convey. It should also be written in a punchy, compelling way. I’m afraid I’d need to know much, much more to write it for you, but I hope that helps get you thinking.

  2. sarah
    Apr 30, 2012 at 22:58

    Hi, im doing my exams this year, and stuck on how to start of a speech. Im doing a question for class on 21st century ireland, about the economics, education, family and crime, and would love to know an opening paragraph to start this of if you could hepl please. thank you sarah.

  3. Lawrence
    Feb 28, 2012 at 12:38

    Hi Kate

    Great to speak to you yesterday. I hope you received my email and I look forward to speaking tomorrow morning.

    Best wishes, Lawrence

  4. Kate Ijogi
    Feb 27, 2012 at 13:55

    I am delivering a welcome speech at a seminar on Executive Stress Mgt in New York next week. I would like to also include a bit of introduction of the topic/theme in the speech.
    My audience includes Chief Executive of various departments.
    I can’t seem to be able to start. I need your help.

  5. catherine
    Sep 30, 2011 at 15:29

    I have just been informed that that I will give a speech in a charity dinner function this evening at 7.00am kenya time. What the club has done is donate to sanitary pads and pads to 600 girls quarterly ty needy girls, visit and inspect marginalised schools for the needdy girls, pay school fees and buying of books. We intend to start a membership fee to new members and an annual subscription fee. the website has nothing to do with this event. at the moment.
    I am eagerly waiting

  6. rased
    May 22, 2011 at 20:55

    i am going to deliver a speech in my university farewell party today but i haven’t made an outline yet. i have already completed my graduation and continuing my post graduation. i am really very much tensed about this. would u please help me and advise me how can i reduce my nervousness?
    i m waiting for ur quick reply as erly as u can. i m eagerly waiting for this.

  7. leila
    Nov 30, 2009 at 15:17

    i would like to write an speech for a schoolwhich i argue for (learning to cook is just as important as learning maths or english)
    can you please help me
    many thanks
    leila

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