LESSON 5 - CREATING A SPEECH
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WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT?
The obvious answer is to write about what you know and what you're passionate about and then make it interesting for the audience. Refer to the diagram and the notes provided in lesson 3 if you would like to refresh your memory about what subjects matter to others.
There are many types or styles of speeches but I will initially focus on the simplest construction method. Once you've mastered this method, you will find speechwriting that much easier and can go on to explore other methods.
If you wish to become a great speech-writer you must collect content and store up suitable material for use in speeches. As you go about your daily activities, keep an eye or ear out for good topics. Hear something interesting on the news? Jot it down. A friend shares a moving story? Make a note of it. Someone sends you an email with an inspirational piece. Save it. Collect quips, quotes, anecdotes and jokes. Keeping a daily journal is also a good idea. Next week I plan to share more about this and how you can mine for gems.
"Where should I save all this content?"
Wherever you like. You may prefer to write on paper in a book you keep for this purpose or you may use your cell phone, iPad or laptop computer. A great application for storage of content is 'Evernote'.
Brainstorm with others - Get a few friends together for regular brainstorming sessions. It's amazing how many creative ideas you can generate in a group setting.
Triggers - Triggers may get the creative juices flowing. I collect photographs and sometimes a particularly beautiful photograph will inspire an idea. Quotes by famous people may serve as triggers. For example, take this quote by Sydney J Harris, "The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." Does this trigger any ideas? Do you remember a time in your life where this held true?
You could also use my "creative card" system to generate an endless stream of ideas.
Beg, borrow and Steal - Although the best subjects for speeches are your own life's experiences, there is no reason why you can't use content from others when you write a speech provided you give credit. Watch speeches on www.ted.com or on www.youtube.com and gather ideas. Provided the speech is your own original work, you may quote others or share stories you hear elsewhere. Remember that your perception is unique. Your audience wants to hear what you think about.
WRITING A SPEECH
When you know what you're going to be writing about (your topic), you can begin to work on the structure of the speech. Before you do so, write down your speech's specific purpose (or point) in a sentence using no more than ten words. The shorter the better.
Example: "The importance of rest."
The general purpose of any speech is:
To inform / educate
Choose which of the above will be your primary purpose. In my opinion our speech purpose should always encompass all 4. Now begin to build your speech. A speech has 3 parts:
The Opening or hook & bait - Grab their attention and introduce your subject. Be careful of prosaic and boring introductions such as, "Thank you for having me here today. My name is John Bell and today I will be talking to you about how important it is to get adequate rest." By the time you've finished that sentence, half your audience have tuned you out. Instead say something like, "Would you like to know how you can add ten years to your life span, look younger and feel better without spending a single penny? My name is John Bell and I have a secret to share." Now you have their attention.
The Body - There are various types of speeches that advance in different ways. A story opens at a scene, introduces characters, a conflict and provides a resolution, building to a climax and close. A persuasive speech has a different structure. For the moment, I will share the simplest speech structure: building blocks
Go back to your specific purpose and begin to collect material. If you chose the specific purpose "The importance of rest," research your topic and find interesting statistics and facts.
Whittle down your list until you have 3 that you can use. These become your 3 main points.
For each main point, provide any supporting material that serves as reinforcement. "The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." Supporting material could be an anecdote, a story, factual account, concrete or metaphorical illustration or even a clever quip or joke. The more visual the better.
Be careful to transition between each point in a smooth and logical manner.
The Close or take-away - The Close consists of 2 parts:
Brief summary of your 3 points in one sentence and
The take-away. A powerful sentence that provides maximum impact.
What do you want the audience to remember and take away?
There are various ways to conclude. If your primary general purpose is to present a persuasive speech, you might deliver a strong call-to-action where you urge your audience to take certain steps. If your purpose is to inspire and motivate, you may wish to leave them with an uplifting message of hope. You may choose to do so with an inspirational quote, the lines of a well-known song or reference your opening and bring the speech full circle. This is called the circular method.
Example: If your purpose is to share the importance of getting rest and your opening was, "Would you like to know how you can add ten years to your life span,, look younger and feel better without spending a single penny?", your close might be, "The secret to ageless beauty and a peaceful life may not be such a secret after all. It could be as simple as taking some time out to rest."
LESSON 1 - You are Your Own Brand
Figuring out who you are and what you offer to this world. What makes you unique and how you can use this to your advantage. Improve your skills through objective evaluation.
LESSON 2 - Give People a Reason to Listen
How to source content that matters to others. Understanding your audience so that you can speak directly to their needs.
LESSON 3 - Making Every Word Count
Changing the way you speak so that you will become more interesting to listen to. Weed out filler words and other distracting vocal habits
Choosing words to make the greatest impact. Learn how to landscape your language so that your word seeds take root and grow where they are planted. Change your words to change your world. The magic words of persuasion.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK
Write a 1-2 minute speech from the POV of an inanimate object. This is a creativity exercise that will help you to develop creative speech content.
Select an inaninate object from the list below and speak from that object's POV. For the sake of this exercise, you must imagine that the inanimate object could become animated for a couple of minutes and share it's views. Use the construction method below to develop the speech content.
Example from a child aged 8 during one of our Captivating Kids classes:
"I have a tongue but cannot speak. I have a soul (sole) but you stand on me and walk all over me. Still I support you and do my best to protect you."
LIST OF OBJECTS:
Mirror, Shoe, Boat, Ball, Diamond, Water, Tree, Castle
Darren LaCroix, the 2005 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking shares his tips on how to create a great speech outline.
MIND MAPPING MADE SIMPLE
Here is an excellent article that you may wish to read about mind mapping here: HOW TO MIND MAP
In this video Sarah Kay demonstrates her creative thinking abilities through Spoken Word Poetry. In this video she explores a theoretical romantic relationship between two inanimate objects: a toothbrush and a bicycle tire.
EXERCISE TO DEVELOP SPEECH CONTENT:
Select a problem from the list provided below. Example: insecurity
Provide a definition e.g. uncertainty and anxiety about oneself (you may provide your own definition and look it up in a dictionary for further clarification).
Look for a cause e.g. lack of confidence possibly because a person has been criticized or not been accepted or loved etc.
Desirable state? If we are insecure (using this example), what do we wish to become? This is the ideal state of being e.g. confident or secure.
Now you'll ask yourself, "What steps could a person take to move from insecure to confident and secure?" This is your speech purpose.
Your goal is to provide 3 steps to resolve the problem or at least to assist or improve the condition.
List as many possible solutions as you can think of. You may find mind-mapping useful here. If you're stuck for answers, do some research. Google or Bing are good tools. Type "How to develop confidence" into the search engine.
Select 3 of the most valuable solutions and list them as steps in point form e.g. 1) Focus on your positive attributes. 2) Act confident to feel confident (the confidence mind hack) and 3) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Next week you will learn more about how to put a speech together. Stay tuned...
SAMPLE LIST OF PROBLEMS
Insecurity, Anger, Suspicion, Fatigue, Depression, Confusion, Irritation, Frustration, Apathy, Lack of Motivation, Shyness