Why you should hire a speechwriter to help with your next presentation
Learn how to find the writer to craft a compelling speech
OK, so somehow you've been roped into giving a speech. Maybe it's for a company presentation. Maybe it's for a charitable event. Maybe it's for a conference. Whatever the occasion, if you're not experienced with public speaking, you might be feeling some anxiety right about now.
That's not surprising. Fear of public speaking is pretty common. And while we can't stand up on stage with you and hold your hand through the experience, we can help you get an amazing speech written that will inspire and entertain your audience.
According to research conducted by Cardiff University, the attention span of the average viewer is 8 to 10 minutes. That means you have to have some incredibly compelling content to keep your audience from drifting off or absentmindedly scrolling on their phones. That's where a great speechwriter comes in.
Before we dive into getting that great speechwriter, let's look at the elements that make for a great speech.
What makes a speech good?
There are several important elements that can make a huge difference in the way your speech is received. Let's look at what sets a good speech apart.
Knowing your audience
The first rule is to know your audience. Knowing the age group and general details of the people you'll be speaking to allows you to tailor the content to suit the occasion. This can be a major game-changer in terms of the way the audience receives your speech.
Appropriate to the occasion
Just as important as knowing your audience is knowing the occasion. A speech should be appropriately suited to the occasion. You don't want a raunchy standup comedy routine during a eulogy, and you don't want a heady academic treatise on 16th Century agrarian culture during a Friar's Club roast.
Attention grabbing introduction
You need to engage your audience from the very beginning. Starting with a personal story or an anecdote that relates to your thesis is a great way to get your audience listening. Whatever you do, don't start with a dull and droning, "Today I'm here to tell you about …"
A speech needs a central thesis and then logical points to support that thesis. It needs to take an audience on a journey. And that journey needs to follow a logical order. Think about a speech as taking your audience from point A to point B. If you meander off course too much, you risk losing some of them in the wilderness.
A good speech shouldn't just be an information dump. You should illustrate your point with anecdotes, pop culture references, a sprinkling of humor (if it's appropriate to the situation) and anything else that helps illustrate the point you're trying to make.
A conversational tone puts your audience at ease and helps make you relatable. You don't want to sound stiff, rehearsed and formal. Your speech should make each audience member feel that you're talking directly to them. It's also important to include cues and other audience interaction aspects to ensure that the audiences are thoroughly involved with every aspect of the speech. Predicting applause and reactions and making adjustments promptly is the sign of a good speech.
Call to action
Your speech needs to include a prompt for your audience to take some sort of action. A good speech transforms the audience. You present them with the tools they need to make some sort of change or decision, and then call them to take action to make that change or decision.
Now that we have a clear idea of the most important aspects of the speech, we can move on to the writing process itself and how it can be supplemented by hiring a professional writer.
Why you should hire a professional speechwriter
If you want to take your presentation to a new level of professionalism, you should get the help of a professional speechwriter. It doesn't mean you let someone else put words in your mouth. It means you communicate your own original thoughts with better polish and more eloquence.
A good speechwriter will take your thoughts and put them in a logical order, craft a compelling message and use wording that can help you connect with your audience.
Hiring a professional speechwriter allows you to save the hassle of writing the speech and researching for hours trying to look up the right references and details. However, before you finalize the project with a professional speechwriter, you'll have to provide some important details.
Information you need to provide a speechwriter
You'll want to give your writer an outline of the presentation you plan to give. This should include your central thesis, bullet points supporting that thesis and the call to action you want to issue to your audience. You could also provide a synopsis of any personal anecdotes or illustrative stories you want to include.
A good speechwriter can take this basic outline and expand it into a compelling speech. They can put your points into a logical order that helps support your thesis, and leads your audience on a journey that will motivate them to take action.
Information about your audience
It's important for the writer to understand the audience the speech will be delivered to. You should explain the demographics of the audience, the occasion for the speech and the goal you're trying to accomplish by giving your speech.
It is important to realize that you're the one who's actually going to be making the speech. You want it to sound natural and reflect your personality. Tell the writer a bit about yourself. Explain how you usually communicate when you're speaking to people one-on-one. Tell them a bit about your personality, your hobbies and interests and your profession. This will give them the context they need to capture your natural communication style.
Deadline and budget
Knowing the deadline is important to give the freelancer the margin to properly pace the task and complete it on time. It also leaves time for any revisions. Discussing a clear budget costing is also important to ensure you get the task done in an affordable manner without having to compromise on the quality.
Delivering the speech
OK, now here comes the scary part.
Even the best-written speech in the world will sound dull and stilted if it's not delivered properly. Delivering the speech is the hardest part, but you can massively cut down on your nerves and knock if out of the park by remembering these tips.
There's a natural pacing to the way people talk, and your speech should be delivered using this natural pacing. Talk too fast and with too few pauses and people won't be able to follow you. Talk too slow and pause too frequently and people won't be able to stay awake. Speak at a natural pace, pausing every so often to let your points sink in.
Use punctuation as your guide. A brief pause for a comma and a longer pause after a period. You can pick up your pacing during interesting stories or entertaining anecdotes to build excitement with your audience, and slow down your pacing to build suspense when you're making an important point.
Volume and inflection
Remember to change the volume and inflection of your voice as you speak. There's nothing worse than a droning monotone. In that same vein, it's also off-putting when a speaker uses the same inflection patterns over and over. For example, have you ever listened to a speaker who goes up in tone at the end of every sentence? Pretty soon, you stop hearing their message and just start hearing their idiosyncrasy. Vary your volume and inflection to match your message.
Eye contact and movement
Even if you pace yourself well and vary your volume and inflection, you'll have a hard time engaging with your audience if you stare at your notes through your entire speech. Make sure you've memorized the majority of your speech to avoid being glued to your notes.
Also, don't stand stock still throughout your presentation. It's more engaging to move around the stage and appear loose and relaxed. The caveat here, though, is don't let your movement turn into pacing back and forth. Put thought into how you move around the stage, and make your movements deliberate rather than unconscious.
This is the most important advice we can give you. Practice your speech over and over and over. Practice it in the car. Practice it in the mirror. Practice it in front of friends and family. Time yourself to make sure you're not rushing or dragging. Practice inserting pauses for audience reactions so you aren't thrown off guard by laughter or applause during your presentation. Above all, practice the speech until you're sick of hearing it, and then practice it a few more times.
Giving a speech can be a nerve-wracking experience. Hiring a professional writer will give you the confidence that you have great, engaging content. Practicing your speech over and over will give you the confidence that you can deliver it in a way that does the content justice. Public speaking doesn't have to be terrifying. With practice and a bit of professional help, you can make a lasting impact on your audience.