No speechwriter in the world can get going without any content.
I have put this questionnaire together to help you gather the information to help start you off. Please be aware that this is not a template for a speech, simply a way of gathering information about you, your audience and your subject to start to make your speech truly original and relevant.
I hope it will get you thinking about what you could and should say.
If you’d like my help preparing a social speech, then please give me a call before you complete it as this is a generic version and I can email you a specific questionnaire for different occasions. Ideally, we can skip this process by meeting up or arranging time for a detailed conversation over the phone.
What is it?
Where is it being held?
Do you know anything interesting about the venue?
Have you been there before?
Who is hosting it?
The context for your speech
At what stage in the event will you be speaking?
Who is giving the other speeches and what will they mainly be talking about?
What’s the order of speeches?
Who will be introducing you?
Do you know that person, and if so, is there anything humorous we can say about him or her?
How do you think he or she is likely to introduce you?
Will you be finishing with a toast? If so, who to?
Who are you principally talking about?
How do you know him / her?
When did you meet him / her?
Where and when was he / she born?
Where did he / she go to school?
Are there any great stories associated with this period?
Did he / she go to college / University? Any stories here?
What was his / her first job?
What jobs has he / she done subsequently? Any great work stories?
What does he / she do now?
Could you describe him / her physically?
Could you describe his / her personality in three words?
What are his/ her main hobbies / interests?
Can you give a brief outline of his/ her family situation?
Can you give an example of a great story or two that you’ve been involved in with him / her? (when was it?)
If there was a theme to hold your description of him / her together, what would it be?
Is there someone else fundamental to making this speech work?
Can you give a brief outline of their life?
And the role that they’ve played in changing the life of your main subject?
Any other subjects
Who else do you want to mention and what do you want to say about
Your speaking style
What proportion of the speech would you like to be sincere and what proportion funny?
How long would you like to speak for?
Are you, by nature, shy or extrovert?
How nervous will you be when you stand up to speak?
How would you like to introduce yourself?
How many people will be there?
How many of them will know you?
Do you need to thank people who have travelled from afar or who
are particularly special?
Do you expect it to be a relatively sedate or loud atmosphere?
What can’t we mention?
Are there subjects not covered above that you know will amuse / interest your audience? Please give me as much detail as possible, particularly if we won’t be meeting up to chat this through before I start writing.