10 tips for writing and polishing a speech

Your next oral presentation shouldn’t be a recitation of a chunk of text. Follow these guidelines to power up that prose into riveting rhetoric.

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Writing a speech and producing an essay have much in common, however. One is basically a spoken form of the other, but keep in mind the unique features that distinguish a presentation delivered with your voice and one that others read.

1. Plan your speech according to the occasion, considering the event, the audience, the tone of the speech (somber, serious, informal, humorous, and so on), and its duration.

2. Identify the message or theme of the speech, and how you will approach it.

3. Craft an effective opening that gets your audience’s attention, employing an anecdote, a joke, a quotation, or a thought-provoking question or assertion. You should be able to express your introduction in 30 seconds or less.

4. Outline a handful of points to cover, just as you would when writing a persuasive or informative essay.

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