General tips when writing a speech:
- Use a ragged-right (flush left) margin. NEVER use full justify — too hard to read.
- In paragraphs of copy, serif text (e.g., Times New Roman) generally reads more easily on a quick scan.
- Don’t make the text too small; think 14 point and above.
- Use lots of white space and plenty of space between paragraphs and lines so that the speaker can make annotations.
- Use bold face to highlight important points (very judicious use).
- Make sure you reflect your clients style as much as possible, and provide options so they can customize the speech to their personality.
- The opening sets the stage/mood for the rest of the presentation.
- It should contain an outline of what will be touched upon in the speech.
- The introduction needs to be short.
- “Where there’s an A ... there’s a B."
- It’s important to emotionally connect with your audience — this can make your audience more receptive to hearing your key messages.
- To make a personal/emotional connection, it is helpful to begin with an appropriate personal story or anecdote that relates to the presentation.
- Full sentences can be used, but fragments are ok too.
- Creative punctuation helps.
- Bulleted lists are helpful for people to see lists of ideas.
- The main body should be as detailed as possible.
- Include several options for things like anecdotes, so your client can choose one.
- It doesn't have to make be perfectly polished — your client will probably have words that they would prefer to use, that is more in their voice.
- Keep it short and do not introduce any new ideas.
- It needs to relate to the opening:
- repeat key words and concepts
- refer to opening point
- final perspective using original stats/anecdotes/examples
- Wrap up with clarity and clout.
Adapted from tips by Joan Detz.