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