Here’re some good advice I’m passing along from speechwriter, Dan Pink, about putting together a speech.
– The three essential ingredients of any speech are: Brevity, Levity, and Repetition.
– Every speech needs to answer these two questions: What’s your point? And why does it matter?
– Try to follow these structural guidelines: I) Have a beginning, a middle and an end. II) Change up your delivery a bit. III) After mapping out your speech, cut out 20%. IV) Remember, it’s all about the audience, not you.
– And finally for the delivery: I) Be yourself, strive for authenticity,don’t mimic someone else’s style. II) Remember your audience is giving up their time and attention to listen to you. III) Do your homework and personalize your speech, where you can, with references the audience will relate to. IV) Tailor your message to the audience. If your audience is a room full of priests don’t deliver the same style of speech you did for a room of college boys.
Not too hard, right? These guidelines can really provide a good structure to hang your speech on and help you relax a bit. Good luck!
Note: I wrote this for an accent reduction site I’m working on and I thought it was useful, so I’m posting it here too.