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A Successful Speech in 7 Steps

Dear Authors

Every once in a while, Textbroker gets an order that’s a little special compared to the usual fare. Be it a celebration, wedding or a thanks to your favourite Aunt at her golden birthday party, sometimes a proper speech is in order.

Speeches are only particular in that it’s rare to see orders placed for them: They are the template for the spoken word; a speech is merely a snap-shot.  The better a written speech is, the easier it is for the speaker to give a convincing speech – after all, he or she only gets one shot at it. You as the author, on the other hand, have a clear advantage over the speaker: You don’t have to worry about stage fright and don’t have to learn anything by heart.

In this academy, you’ll find out how to do your part and make your speaker shine.


Good writing paper

To begin with, it’s not a good idea to begin your writing on high-quality paper: Even if a typed copy is an uncommon format for speech, we encourage you nevertheless to use a few sheets of electronic scratch paper before sitting down for the final draft. When you’re ready to begin, it helps to first create a mental framework of the speech. Commit yourself to the following key points or consider creating a mind map for your thoughts.


Who’s listening?

Your target group, quite simply, will be the speaker’s audience: It is for them that you write the speech. It’s your task to find a way to grab their attention and then to keep it. The more information you have on the planned attendees, the easier it will be for you to include jokes and adapt the speech’s flow to the listeners. The audience, therefore, is the focus of all your considerations – all of the content in your speech written with them in mind.


The core of the speech: The topic

The occasion for the speech will determine its content. Creating a mind map, or even just a simple list, is extremely helpful in ensuring that you have a good overview of all of the important points to be addressed, especially if you have to connect two or more topics in the speech and need an effective way to transition between them.


What am I trying to achieve?

How something is said depends very much on why it’s being said in the first place. If the aim of the speech is to evoke a certain emotion in the listeners, or perhaps to motivate them to take a certain action, this should be worked into the writing process. The rhetorical figures you use to embellish your writing can also fulfil specific functions as well as be beneficial to the speech overall.

Example: If the goal of your speech is to recruit new employees for a company and to motivate the participants to apply, then it would make sense to emphasise the best aspects of the business, to provide all the information that potential applicants will need and to make the listeners feel engaged. For example, once you’ve caught your audience’s interest, you may want to consider inviting them to visit the information stand for volunteer services where they could apply.



as we all know, is the soul of wit: According to Mark Twain, “ A good speech has a good beginning and a good end – and these should as close to one another as possible.”

There is no specific optimal sentence length for a speech. Nevertheless, it is important that the speech engage the reader from the beginning – after all, if the average listener can’t keep up from the get-go, there’s virtually no chance of them going back later to find out what was missed. For that reason: Stick to short sentences, avoid overly complex sentence structures and try to use the ‘active voice’ construction as much as possible. Write clearly and descriptively, using vivid imagery and metaphors. Remember, however, that the functionality of any given sentence should always be at the forefront of your mind when writing. Give your listeners the information they need, but here as well moderation is very important: Too many facts can make the speech seem overladen, which can result in your audience getting bored very quickly.


Where is a good place to start?

The opening sentences of a speech are of particular importance because they perform a critical task: They are meant to grab the audience’s attention and generate interest for what’s to come. Instead of stringing together a series of greetings, start out with a fascinating detail of some kind – some notable addressees could be mentioned by name over the course of the speech. A little bit of humour in the beginning is a good way to set the atmosphere and can also be a great ice-breaker – again, what is important here is moderation, but of course, the occasion for the event should be taken into consideration as well. Once you’ve won the audience’s attention, your task is to lead them through each of your main points while still adhering to the speech’s underlying theme.


The speaker gets personal

When giving a speech, the speaker is allowed to be subjective and to express his or her own opinion: A personal note gives an air of authenticity and promotes trust on the part of the listeners. The audience wants an honest speaker who speaks to them directly and who gives them the feeling of being engaged in a ‘confidential’ dialogue between trusted peers.

Have you covered every step? Then onward to your goal!


Your Textbroker Academy


Photo courtesy of Fotolia

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