When you’re writing a speech, try starting off with just the back of an envelope (a smaller one) and a pen.
Simplicity and brevity are your friends when you want to write a presentation that’ll really engage your audience.
Don’t get me wrong – whether you have to speak for 10 or 50 minutes, you probably won’t fit an entire speech into a ridiculously small piece of paper (no matter how small your writing may be).
That’s not the point. At the outset, you have a different goal in mind.
Restricting yourself to the limited canvas of a small envelope or piece of paper is perfect for forcing you to write little more than:
- The central points you want your audience to get,
- Why you believe your audiences might agree, and
- Your ‘so what’s’ for your audience
That doesn’t seem like much. Right?
Actually, it is.
You can and should build entire speeches around central points – reducing and condensing these into short sentences, phrases or collections of words.
You’re literally stripping what you want to say down to the bare essentials and, in doing so; you do your audience and yourself a great favour. You get to the point and make it easier for those listening to ‘get your point’.
And you’ll be in good company when you join the back of the envelope brigade. Abraham Lincoln used this approach to write his speeches (including the Gettysburg address). Ditto for John Lennon when he penned lyrics.
Enough said. There’s no more room on this envelope.
What are your observations and thoughts about speech preparation?