Part 2 - Write the Speech
Standing in front of a crowd is a terrifying prospect, but I’m going to do it anyway.
So, I decided to share my journey from volunteering for a public speaking event, to writing and finally performing the speech.
In Part 1 I defined the topic/theme of my speech. This wasn’t too difficult, because I had to conform to the event criteria. Still, ‘my passionate philosophy’ was a broad subject. I settled on the philosophy that the people we meet every day shape our identity.
Now, I’m going to talk about the techniques I used to write my speech.
During my short time with Toastmasters, I have already learnt so much about the most effective way to get my message across. One of the keys is to stay on target and keep reminding the audience of the speech’s theme. One way to do this is by developing a phrase that summarises the theme, and sprinkle it throughout the speech.
My phrase is my philosophy: The people we meet every day shape our identity.
I kept that phrase in mind as I wrote every paragraph of my speech, to avoid drifting along undoubtedly interesting, but irrelevant subject matter. After all, I only had 5-6 minutes to make my point.
Naturally, the first thing you do on stage is introduce yourself and what you’re talking about. Writing the introduction was easy, but then I had to elaborate on the theme by saying how it was relevant to this event and the people who were attending it.
Always keep the audience in mind as you write the speech, and try to choose relevant facts/stories that will resound with them. This might mean relevance to the location, or demographic age, or shared interest.
I’ve got to tell you that I’m a bit of clown in reality, but struggle to weave comedic relief into my writing. If you can make light of part of the subject matter, or yourself, it goes a long way to helping the audience relax and connect with you.
The next part of the process was to brainstorm relevant points and choose three or four that supported my philosophy.
In this case, I wanted to show that the courageous characters in literature aren’t as far from reality as we might think. Throughout my life I’ve met remarkable people who are just work colleagues, parents, children and neighbours to others.
My inquisitive nature and thirst for new experiences has lead me to all kinds of adrenaline fuelled experiences and I wanted to tie this into how I’ve met amazing people that influenced by beliefs, and therefore the types of stories I write.
Since I had been invited to participate on this panel as an author, it was a logical progression to give the audience some insight into my literary journey, the difficulties I experienced and how I came to realise my dream of publication.
A key component of my motivation to persist and triumph, were the people I met along this journey, and most of them were through the literary groups I joined. So, I made the bold claim that joining a writing group was the most important decision I made.
It might sound simplistic, but after meeting the first woman to kayak the length of the Murray River, a psychiatrist, commercial pilot and one time team leader of the Mawson Station in the Antarctic, how could I not be inspired to write equally remarkable fictional characters?
For every point I made, I tried to tie it back to the original theme. To keep reminding the audience of my philosophy.
And so it was with my final point, which was to illustrate how the heroine in my latest romantic suspense novel ‘Inheriting Fear’, challenges traditional gender roles and battles adversity.
The audience isn’t likely to go home and tell their friends about the clever points you listed, or the well thought out arguments you laboured over. What they are likely to respond to, are the personal tales you’ve shared.
It might be frightening, but you need to let you unique approach to the subject matter shine through. We each have a different view on life, based on our experiences, and that is what other find fascinating.
You might think your life is dull but, where possible, use personal stories to demonstrate the theme of your speech. I do the same thing to lend authenticity to my stories, using the things I’ve seen and experienced to tap into emotions and make my characters genuine.
You want the final things the audience hears to resound. Your conclusion should reiterate your theme and provide a call to action, e.g. so the next time you are chatting to someone on the bus, really listen, because they probably have an amazing story.
I also like to thank the audience for listening.
Once you are happy with your speech, it’s important to time yourself as you read. Do it several times to make sure that you don’t run over the allotted time, because that’s bad form.
The final thing you need to do before the big day, is practice, practice practice!