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Seven Secrets of Good Speechwriting

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Not everyone has the time to write their own speeches - that's why we're here to help. But if you are trying your hand, the 7 tips below might help.

Not so secret!

Actually, most of these 'secrets' are just common sense. But you'd be amazed how many people forget them when they write a speech:

  1. Know Your Audience

    Who are you talking to? What are they expecting to hear? What do they want to hear?

  2. Know What You Want to Say

    Why are you giving this speech? What's the 'one big thing' you want them to remember tomorrow morning? What are your key ideas? Two or three is enough: more than that's a shopping list!

  3. Grab their Attention

    A strong opening - something surprising, or humorous - will make them sit up and listen. If you catch them early, they'll be with you all the way.

  4. Speak Naturally

    Force yourself to write 'for speaking', not 'for reading'. This is hard if you're hooked on 'correct', grammatical English. Use short sentences. Break it up. Above all, read it aloud - try it on a friend. You'll know if it works - believe me!

  5. Keep it Interesting

    People's attention will flag in the middle of a speech. Try different ways of keeping them engaged. Humour works well, if you're comfortable with it. 'Real life' stories or quotes make your points vivid and memorable. Sometimes shocking or surprising facts and figures can jerk people back into focus.

  6. Have a Strong Ending

    It's not quite true to say "Look after the beginning and the ending and the rest will take care of itself" - but it's not far off. And if you can find a way to link back to the beginning, the speech will feel more satisfying and rounded.

  7. Keep it Short

    Leave them wanting more - not pleading for mercy. Time yourself beforehand - don't ramble. Twenty minutes is plenty - but ten minutes is better still.

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