Speaking about Speeches
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Keywords: speech, speeches, public speaking,speaker
Summary: How to write and give a good speech. A good speech is like the memory of the sunny days of childhood. The nuances, the expressions may be forgotten but the meaning will always be clear in your mind.
A good speech can express love, sway public opinion, entertain a family or hold a huge audience spellbound. A professional speaker will use his head to make it sound as though he is speaking from the heart. Public speaking is the art of being able to hold an audience enthralled, whatever the issue, wherever the venue. Like speechwriting itself it is an acquired art.
Some people are born with the gift of oratory, others must struggle to become articulate. They are professional speechwriters who write lectures for professors, homilies for clergymen and spiels for speakers. Then, of course, there are civil servants who write statements for politicians and statesmen who compose orations to be delivered to the masses. Other speeches and toasts are written by any of us who want to say something in public. There are wedding toasts, business addresses and funeral eulogies. A speech can express concern and compassion and be delivered with restraint or with passion. A speech is about reaching, perhaps teaching, your audience.
A speech must be suited to the occasion and to those who will hear it. You should never presume to write down to an audience but it is wonderful if your words can be uplifting. Speeches are more about content than length. Completing a speech with a relevant toast helps you end on a happy note.
The content, therefore, is critical. A wonderful opening will be forgotten if it is not followed by appropriate content and a riveting, or amusing, conclusion. So whether you want to persuade, inform or simply express your feelings publicly a speechwriter will help you phrase it properly.
You can convey your content in many different ways. You can assert your beliefs forcefully, communicate your feelings lovingly or put your case persuasively. You can be blunt and factual or lyrical, painting pictures with your words. An accent can add to the attraction of your speech, a dialect can give depth. That is, of course, if that dialect has a particular relevance to the content of the speech.
You may be asked to speak at a trade union conference, a meeting of the World Bank or your local school’s annual prize-giving day. Your brief may be to congratulate a colleague on promotion or to give the toasts at a formal function. You may have to give the keynote address at a conference or an after dinner speech at your corporation’s annual dinner. Yet whether you are speaking at your parent’s golden wedding anniversary, your friend’s birthday or a baby’s christening the same rules apply. You’re speech should always be appropriate to the audience and the occasion. The death of a child, for instance, must surely call for sympathy and support. The death of a very old person may call for a eulogy that celebrates a long life and some humor may be very appropriate in the church, the funeral home or even at the graveside. A poem or a verse may also be appropriate to a memorial service.
If the occasion is a family re-union your speech, should naturally reflect, in an informal way, shared memories, shared experiences. If it is a military occasion it must reflect army protocol and experiences. If you are a local councilor you may want to sway your voters by appealing to their self-interest. A toastmaster’s introductions must be appropriate and, if possible, witty. Every speech, whether serious and sad or wacky and mad, has its own underlying formula. That basic formula must always be, ?What am I trying to say and to whom?? The most stimulating speech is useless if it does not get your message across. So don’t be too smart, be simple.
You may for instance, use jargon, if you are talking to any group that will understand it. If, however, the audience is mixed you should only use language everyone will understand. If you are addressing a local gathering you may use local expressions, local landmarks but those allusions will be lost if you are talking in a strange town.
Your message may be unpopular but your arguments should always be reasoned and politely expressed. Charm, wit and understanding win more hearts than the most blatant verbal attacks. A good public speaker uses humor but is not a comedian. It’s no use having them rolling in the aisles if they can’t remember afterwards why you spoke. Your speech should always get the message across.
A good speech is like the memory of the sunny days of childhood. The nuances, the expressions may be forgotten but the meaning will always be clear in your mind. Just like a melody your carefully chosen words should linger, hauntingly, in the minds and hearts of those who hear it.
Niamh Crowe is the CEO of the web’s leading speech site (http://www.speech-writers.com) according to Alexa.com and Ranking.com. Online since 1994, her site has thousands of speeches for every event and occasion including birthdays, weddings, graduations etc. She lives in Ireland where she is married to Fred. The have 5 children.