Six steps to writing a better speech


Think through these six questions before you put your pen to paper...or your mouth to a microphone.  The extra 15 minutes you take to dig a bit deeper into the focus of your message will be worth it for the extra 15 seconds of applause you'll receive at the end of your speech.

When is your next big speech?  If you are at all planning to wow your audience, get a few laughs, see a few tears or – my favorite – generate the “slow clap” that leads to thousands of people cheering your name, be sure to answer these very important questions when drafting your remarks.

  1. Who are you (the speaker) and why does that matter for anyone listening?
  2. Who is in your audience? (i.e. gender, titles, levels, social identifiers, etc.) This matters because it will drive your choice of words.
  3. Is there a common theme, challenge or issue that this audience is facing? (Hint: the answer should guide your BIG message.)
  4. What does this group absolutely want or need to "get" from their time with you? Whatever it is – give it to them. It’s far more important to deliver on what they want than what you want.
  5. Is there an important call to action you can / should make with this group? Never leave a speech without telling your audience what to do with the information, knowledge or idea you just shared.
  6. Is this audience more inclined to engage with a message that imparts knowledge / learning, humor / entertainment or motivation / inspiration? Find this out and tailor your message to it

A good speech can take you on a journey from doubt to certainty, ignorance to awareness…from confusion to ‘getting it’. It can masterfully invite you to lean in, stand up, jump into action, say ‘aha’. I believe a good speech can change a person’s moment, day, or life.

That’s some powerful stuff.