Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!
Notice I avoid saying ‘write the script’. The spoken word and the written word are different, and this presents a trap for speakers. The key to success is being good to listen to. A speech is not a piece of writing. It’s something you say. It’s an oral presentation, and that’s a live gig.
Watch your language!
An oral presentation is dynamic and immediate. It’s happening now. A written presentation exists beyond the here and now. The language you use when you speak typically has short words and sentences, and is direct and straightforward. Vivid even. The written word can be more convoluted, with longer words and sentences, commas and clauses and qualifiers and all sorts of features that we don’t use in speech. That’s the stuff you don’t want. So my advice at this early stage is simple.
Switch the computer off!
There are six stages to go through.
1. Define your purpose
2. Clarify a takeaway message
3. Rough draft
4. Arrange the structure
5. Write the words
6. Edit, rehearse, edit again, rehearse again.
Not everyone takes these steps in that order. For some people, the rough draft stage is where they clarify their purpose and their ‘takeaway’. Others put the structure in place first and backfill the content. By all means do what works for you – with one reservation: it is NOT OK to start out by writing the words. Only the most experienced speechwriters can do that. It’s like building a house before you’ve drawn up the plans, or commencing a car trip without knowing the route – you’ll go wrong, get lost, develop material you can’t use, and waste time making avoidable corrections.