Add punch to your speeches in 6 easy steps

Pop some sentence fragments, active voice, and opinions into your next speech. You’ll never bore an audience again.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Most speakers do. They know if they drone on with long sentences, multi-syllable words, and complicated phrases, they are guaranteed to turn the auditorium into a snooze section.

You have something important to say. Keep your audience awake and ready for more with these six tips:

1. Spoon feed.

Use shorter sentences.

When you write for a reader, you can use compound sentences, throw in a few “howevers,” and compare and contrast in a single statement. Readers have the luxury to go over a sentence a second time to make sure they catch your meaning.

Listeners do not. You have to spoon feed them morsel by morsel.

To keep your sentences short, use fewer adjectives and lose unnecessary words. Read the speech out loud to get the full effect. If you feel like you’re gasping for air, your sentences are too long.

2. Stay active.

Use the active voice: “The horse jumped over the fence.”

Stay away from the passive voice: “The fence was jumped over by the horse.”

See how stilted passive voice can be? But, in some cases it works better. Again, read the sentence out loud to see which sounds better.

3. Forget the past.

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.