Want to make a lasting impression on your audience with a vivid, memorable speech?
Follow the steps below, and you’ll be ready to knock your next talk out of the park:
1. Identify your purpose.
Before you start writing a speech, determine what you want to accomplish. Is it to educate your audience? Do you hope to inspire, entertain or persuade them?
The purpose of your speech will help you define its tone, structure and flavor.
2. Learn about your audience.
Your speech should be tailored to your specific audience’s preferences, knowledge and concerns. Try to learn about them in advance, because you won’t hold their attention unless you home in on something they care about.
Developing an audience profile will give you a strong foundation upon which to build your presentation.
3. Select and research your topic.
Don’t just wing it.
The more research you conduct, the more confident and focused you’ll be at the lectern. However, keep your speech concise. Remove extraneous information, and stick to a few key points. Taking less time—and speaking fewer words—will help your audience retain more information.
4. Craft an outline.
Before you start writing the speech, sketch the outline. A rough draft will help you organize key points, remove unnecessary information, and improve the flow of your speech.
The outline should include an introduction, two or three main points—with supporting evidence—and a conclusion that hammers home the crux of your presentation.
5. Write out the speech.
You don’t want to robotically read your speech, but writing out your talk will make you more comfortable and confident for the big occasion.
Remember to prioritize your target audience and the main purpose of the speech as you write. Be consistent with your tone and style throughout the speech, and remove anything that might confuse or bore the audience.
If your goal is to persuade, include memorable evidence to prove your points. You might use quotes from experts, jarring statistics, current events and even personal anecdotes to illustrate and strengthen your case.
Pay special attention to your conclusion. Your closing should restate your main takeaways and highlight the crux of your message in a memorable fashion. Keep it short and powerful.
6. Review and polish your speech.
The key to writing a powerful speech is in the editing. Pore over your text—repeatedly—and remove extraneous information and words. Tighten up lengthy sentences. Delete anecdotes that don’t quite fit.
Ask a colleague or someone else with fresh eyes to read your speech, and don’t be afraid to ask for candid feedback.
Do you have any speechwriting tips that have worked for you? Please share your expertise in the comments below.
A version of this post first appeared on the Creately blog.