Speech writing is a difficult PR assignment. Many politicians use dedicated speechwriters to help them. Many journalists become good speechwriters given their ability to assemble facts, tell a story and write clearly.
Here are some tips for producing good speeches.
1. Tell a story. People love stories, and that’s why you see so many effective speech givers (like President Obama) use real-world examples to liven up fairly boring factual information.
2. Be clear. Don’t fill up pages of paper with meandering prose. Get the facts, and give them in a straight, no-nonsense fashion.
3. Be empathetic. Use emotions, especially at the onset of the speech, to draw in the listener.
4. Liberally use facts. People believe facts, as they should. But don’t use half-baked facts or twist them into different meanings.
5. Tell them what you are going to tell them … tell them … and remind them of what you told them. Three times heard, and you are golden.
6. Use quotations sparingly. A great quote is great. An obscure or outdated quote is meaningless.
7. Repetition is a wonderful tool. Saying something in a repeated fashion almost becomes a mantra. Example: “I have a dream.”
8. Make sure you have a strong opening and conclusion. These are the times you have the most attention from your audience.
9. You must write like the presenter talks. The speech must have the sentence structure, the dialect and the cadence the presenter has in normal conversation (emulation writing).
10. Analyze the audience. Make sure you know who is in the audience. This will help avoid awkward or offensive statements, allow you to get their attention and be of relevance to them. (Remember when a presidential candidate referred to the Green Bay Packers’ hallowed playing field as “Lambert Field”?)
11. Give a “call to action.” Ask the audience to do something. “Vote for me this November.” “Get out and vote.” “Please give to this noble and worthy cause.”