the speech. Most large commands have access to a
graphics or training aids section which can prepare
almost any type of visual aid you may need, as long as
you can supply them with a rough idea of what you want.
Most speeches are supported or illustrated with
overhead transparencies, 35mm color slides or video
Remember to discuss the entire outline with the
speaker to be sure it is evolving as he visualized it.
Polish the Speech
You should start to word the speech only after the
entire outline and plan for the presentation is agreed on.
Put yourself in the speakers shoes and mentally
place yourself in the physical setting before the specific
audience as you write.
Check out the aids, preferably in the setting where
the speech will be given. If requested, listen to your
speaker rehearse the speech and suggest improvements.
If you are concerned about the length of the speech,
keep in mind that the optimum speech length is 20
minutes. Figure on one minute per page of
A speech is meant to be heard, not read. This means
that you must write the speech in words that the speaker
would use in conversation with a representative member
of the group to which he is speaking. As a speech writer,
your job will be easier if you imagine your speaker
talking to this representative member and telling him the
information he has planned to communicate (the points
in the prepared outline).
Pick out a member of the group, imagine him sitting
across the desk from you asking a question now and
then, putting in an argument occasionally. Write your
speech to him, interjecting questions and answering
arguments in words that the speaker would really use in
everyday conversation. Start the speech from the
listeners point of view.
Use spoken, not written, language. Some words
cannot be heard and understood as quickly as you say
them. If the audience does not catch the meaning of a
word, their minds are held up at a mental stoplight while
the speaker goes on alone. Avoid pretentious language
such as fatuous and it behooves. Use the simplest
words to help the audience to understand.
Use examples for every point, preferably the per-
sonal experiences of the speaker. Be sure the example
really supports the point you are making. There is a
surefire formula for getting the point across: (1) state
your point, (2) use an example and (3) restate your point.
Check your script. Be sure that statements important to
your objective do not stand nude, so to speak, without
an example or a for instance to clothe them.
The following is a list of a variety of talk traps that
you should avoid when wording a speech:
. Do not get crushed by the weight of your own
over-detailed and over-illustrated speech.
. Beware of falling into the void between two
points in a bad transition.
. Do not find yourself out on a limb with no place
to go after a big introduction.
. Do not become the prisoner of too many main
. Do not get trapped in a jungle of abstractions.
Perhaps the most common dilemma faced by every
speaker is that of nervousness. However, what most
speakers forget is that this condition can be positive as
well as negative. Of course, should you lose conscious-
ness upon reaching the podium, your nerves are working
against you! On the other hand, if you feel anxious and
keyed up, your nerves are doing just what they are
supposed to do. The race horse that is alert and spirited
before a me is often the favorite; the one that is calm and
somewhat sluggish is almost al ways counted on to lose.
The same applies to speaking. Nerves can be an
asset to a speaker by mentally preparing him for his pre-
sentation. Only when extreme nervousness or extreme
nonchalance exists does the speaker need to concern
himself with the natural phenomenon of nervousness.
Nervousness is a natural and healthy thing. For most
people, speaking before a group for the first time is not
easy. By understanding the techniques necessary for
building self-confidence, however, you will be well on
your way to becoming a more effective speaker.
The first thing you must do is develop a positive
attitude-convince yourself that you have the ability to
improve. No one is a born speaker or instructor.
Speaking well is a skill that is developed as a result of
training and practice. Once you have convinced yourself
you can improve, you are ready to begin.
The fastest method of developing self-confidence is
to be thoroughly prepared. If you have carefully followed
the steps in preparation described in this chapter, you
should be confident that the material you have prepared is
adapted to the needs and interests of your audience You
will have the points that you wish to make organized in