Speak for Yourself

Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!

Six steps to a great script. Step 2: The rough draft

Let’s assume you followed the advice in the first post in this series. Your head is full of things you want to say and you have clarified your purpose.

Don’t switch your computer on yet.

To get started on a draft try this process. If you follow it you will also have made good headway on one of the next steps, ‘arrange the structure’.

  1. Write down your main message, purpose or the ‘takeaway thought’.  It doesn’t have to be perfect first go – it can change
  2. Brain dump. On separate bits of paper, post-it notes or the back of business cards, write down (in note form) the individual facts, pieces of information, thoughts, ideas or opinions that you’re likely to want to include. If you develop lots more than you need, that’s good.
  3. Sort these cards into points/themes/trends which relate to each other. Look at your material and see what ‘families’ suggest themselves.
  4. Create headings for each of these groups.
  5. Prioritise them into ‘must say’ and ‘could say’.
  6. Discard the ones that don’t fit well, and then assess whether you have enough/too much/too little material.
  7. Now consider how these should be sorted into a logical structure, and have a crack at doing so.

What you’ve done is ‘storyboard’ your speech.  At this point leave it to sit and simmer. When you return to it in a few hours or days you may see some things you want to adjust. Keep doing this till you are confident you have included everything you want, and that it’s been arranged in a good working order.

The  beginning and the end

If you haven’t already, you now need to pay attention to the opening and closing sections of your presentation.

You must have  an arresting opening. The audience’s attention is highest at the start so you need get it then, it and keep it.  Here is where you can use surprising facts, rhetorical questions, unexpected information  (‘Hey Ma – wait’ll you hear THIS!’) an anecdote, joke, or story. Because it is so important, the opening may well be one of the last things you  decide on and polish up, for now just make sure you have given it some thought and  it’s there in the storyboard

The conclusion is the place where you draw everything together in a summary, and finalise it in a simple, memorable way. It’s the ‘call to action’ point, where you can state what you want the audience to do. Likewise, make sure you have factored it in to your storyboard.

If you have done all this, then, and only then, should you start to write the words.

Pick up Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4 and Step 5  and Step 6 here.


One comment on “Six steps to a great script. Step 2: The rough draft

  1. Susan Williams

    Excellent, practical advice! Thanks.

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This entry was posted on 06/09/2012 by in Preparing a speech, Public speaking and tagged , , .

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