10 tips for better speechwriting

Whether preparing your own presentation or an address for a colleague or client to deliver, apply these principles.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

1. Create a clear and simple message.

Before you begin, define your message and stick to it. Don’t try to make too many points. Attempting to cover too much ground in a short time will confuse your audience. If you are speaking for 10 minutes, for example, you will have enough time to convey one message. Summarize this message in one sentence, and keep it in front of you while writing your speech.

2. Know your audience, and write for them.

The type of audience you’re addressing will determine what you say and how you say it. For example, in handling a technical subject you must define your terms and explain more if the audience members are not experts. If they know the subject, you can explain less.

If you have both groups in the audience, you might say something like, “For those of you who don’t know…” and then explain it to them. Sometimes you won’t know your listeners’ level of understanding, so you will need to ask questions and adjust your speech accordingly.

3. Write the way you usually speak.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.