I recently visited my alma mater at the University of Guelph to attend a class that I took while I was a University student... but this time, as a Guest Speaker. It was a surreal feeling to be returning to a class to share advice and tips on public speaking writing and delivery knowing that years ago I was sitting in those same exact seats. This class in particular really helped me develop and enhance my communication skills and helped me realized the importance of communicating at the most basic levels. It also led me to realize that the communications field was what I wanted to pursue post-graduation.
The students I visited were extremely keen and had many great, loaded questions to ask to help them prepare for their upcoming speech writing/giving exercise that the prof had tasked them with. I returned to share tips and pointers since I did this exact same exercise only a few short years ago, going on to win the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition with the speech I had been asked to write and deliver in class. The CYSA competition is a national public speaking competition; providing a fantastic platform for youth in agriculture wanting to share their views.. I am still to this day extremely honoured to have won the competition.
The biggest lesson I shared with the class during my time spent on content and speech development was "don't write a speech with content that you believe the audience wants to hear.. write something that you believe the audience NEEDS to hear!"
With this in mind, I broke down the speech writing process into to the following 10 pointers to help them begin to build their speeches:
- Choose a topic that you can easily speak on and that you are extremely passionate about.. that sets the foundation for a fantastic speech. It makes the entire process easier.
- Start your speech with a strong and dramatic introduction.
- Be sure to address the judges/audience/crowd/honoured guests depending on what type of speech you are giving.
- Outline 3 strong arguments to support your speech topic.
- Make sure to be realistic in bringing forward the truth surrounding your topic. If there are problems/issues relating to your topic, bring them forward, BUT counter-balance those with SOLUTIONS to those problems if there are any.
- Make sure to add your personal touch by adding personal thoughts, feelings, opinions, and stories relating you to the topic. These type of stories are what will resonate the most with the audience.
- Close to the end of your speech, be sure to wrap up the ideas you talked about and sum up the arguments you brought forward.
- End with an extremely strong finish/conclusion by leaving the crowd with a call to action or making them feel as though they want to be a part of your movement by going out and making a difference. At least arm the audience with ideas in your speech about HOW they could get involved in your cause to make a difference.
- Be sure to say thank you at the conclusion of your speech so you can show your sincere appreciation for the audience being attentative.
- Once you have a fantastic speech written, now it is all about practicing DELIVERY so you can ensure you deliver the best written speech ever. Now go on and practice!