How to write a good speech - write for the ear rather than the eye

When it comes to learning how to write a good speech, there are many common mistakes that you must learn to avoid. One of the commonest is writing for the eye and not the ear.

This probably sounds a little odd, so let me explain what I mean.

Most of us spend the majority of our time writing prose to be read rather than spoken aloud, such as emails, letters, or reports. When practising the art of how to write a good speech, we must learn to create something that sounds natural and engaging.

Spoken English is quite different from written English, and you must take this into account when writing a speech. Follow these simple guidelines, and your script will be easier to read, easier on the ear, and easier to understand.

How to write a good speech

    • Keep your sentences short (10-to-12-words)

Use the active  voice (i.e. subject, verb, object.) For example “David threw the ball.” and not “The ball was thrown by David.”

  • Reduce the risk of misunderstandings by keeping your sentence structure short and clear.
  • Use personal pronouns (you, we, us)
  • Using contractions in speech writing is OK. They are a natural part of informal speech – (it’s, don’t, can’t, etc.)
  • Don’t insert essential facts too early in the script. Give your listeners a little time to tune-in to your accent and speaking style before hitting them with your key messages.
  • Use stories and examples more than numbers. They are much more memorable and tend to provoke an emotional response in your listener.
  • Record your speech as you read it aloud, and then listen to the recording paying particular attention to how you sound. Change any words that don’t flow or that sound overly formal.

Good luck and please let me know what you think of this article on how to write a good speech via the comments box below.

Want more…

Writing speeches is a skill that takes practice, the more you write, the better you will get. For more presentation tips keep reading my blog or buy a copy of my highly acclaimed book The Presenter’s Edge. It’s a bite-sized business book that’s packed full of practical tips, yet you can read it in just a couple of hours.

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