I am always looking for ways to shorten the “process time” when working on speeches. Here are five that I find helpful:
1. Proofreading. I don’t know about you, but I am the world’s worst proofreader when it comes to my own drafts. That’s why having someone read back my drafts to me aloud, as I check the text, is so useful. Because people are not beating down my door to fill that role, I let Microsoft Word do the job. Just go to the View menu, then Toolbars, and scroll down to Speech, and there you go. A wretched but otherwise impartial voice will read your wonderful words as you follow along.
You will be amazed at how many more errors you will pick up. Incidentally, if a wretched computer voice is reading back your speech and it doesn’t sound awful, then with a half-decent speaker the rhythm and pacing are probably already about right. A crude measurement tool to be sure, but not to be ignored.
2. Feedback. Encourage your clients who are giving you written feedback on your speeches to use Track Changes. It encourages them to be specific in their comments. Much better than a generic remark like, “Fix this; I don’t like it.”