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Speech Writing Tips


Speaking Tips     Overcoming Fear     Speech Writing     Wedding Speeches
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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That style might work in university, but won't do for public speaking.  So write plainly.  Find simple, clear ways to make your points by breaking it down.

Speech Writing Tips: Singular Simplicity

As an addition to these speech writing tips, I recommend two great resources for helping you with plain English:

The first is Wikipedia's Simple English pages.  Go ahead and read a tough, perhaps academic or scientific article on Wikipedia, and unless you're an expert in the field, much of the content will likely fly over your head.  Now read this same article in the Simple English Wiki and see how even difficult concepts can be broken down and explained to aid comprehension.

The other is simply called The Plain English Campaign and is a British movement that, according to their slogan, has been 'fighting for crystal-clear communication since 1979.

They've got some great and hilarious examples on their site of how obscure language can easily be transformed to make it plain and simple enough for even a child to understand.

What about gobbeldygook?

Other attempts to induce extra fusions of 'smartness' into plain sentences usually end messing up the basic meaning of what you wanted say.  Using empty and meaningless sentences, in an attempt to make it look like you know what you're talking about, is a real temptation for any speech writer.

Marketese, management speak and excessive use of technical adjectives, leave people clueless and uninterested.  People aren't going radical about your "synchronized management processing" since they likely don't know what you're talking about!

Here are a few more gobbeldygook sentences, courtesy of the Plain English Campaign.  If any of these remotely resemble anything in your speech, I advise a rework.

"I recommend deconstructed modular flexibility."

"We're going forward with our plans to implement 'Outside the box' strategic hardware."

"My organization believes in quality transitional contingencies."

"You really can't fail with compatible monitored processing."

"This is no time to bite the bullet with our holistic transitional matrix approaches."

For more speech writing tips, see the articles on speech climaxes and speech goals.
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When we start writing and toying with persuasive speech ideas, itÂ’s natural to want to sound smart and use the biggest words we know.  But as any great and effective communicator will tell you:  Keeping it Simple is usually smarter!  It's one of those speech writing tips that will get you far indeed.
Speech Writing Tips on Simplicity
Some speeches sound like PhD dissertations and it's obvious that the author went out of their way to use the fanciest words imaginable then sprinkled it with some technical jargon and finally threw in a few cryptic acronyms for good measure.

But by using complex and obscure sentences, instead of simple, clear and direct language, you are usually extending and open invitation to your audience, to start daydreaming.
There's power in simplicity and strength in straightforward language.

For example:  This site is largely written in simple, down to earth language that you'll find easy to understand and largely free of unnecessary technical jargon.  There's a reason for this, and it stretches further than simply trying to make the content here accessible to newbies and younger public speakers:  Simplicity has an inherent ability to help with understanding.

Now this idea - preferring simplicity over complexity - may seem contradictory to what many of us has been taught in our formal education (grammar- to high school beyond) where we are encouraged to be fancier with each successive year and led to believe that complexity in writing and speech equals sophistication.

Most of us will likely start well in kindergarten, but end up in post-graduate studies where the only sure fire you to succeed is to ensure that no normal person can possible understand what you've written in that essay of yours.