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by David Brown
A brief primer on writing speeches and oral presentations.
<b><em>While a speech and an essay have much in common,</em></b> a speech or oral presentation differs from a written essay (see <a href="http://WWW.WHITESMOKE.COM/HOW-TO-WRITE-AN-ESSAY.html/">How to Write an Essay</a>) in several ways. The most significant difference to keep in mind in speech writing, however, is that a speech is heard while an essay or written presentation is read. This point, obvious as it is, leads to the main features of a winning speech.|
Like other good writing, speech writing requires that you use correct grammar, that your words are precise, and your word choice strong. Using a good English grammar software package, like WhiteSmoke's all-in-one writing solution that provides grammar check, spell check, dictionary, thesaurus, writing enhancement, and more features in one online writing tool, will assure your speech is free of errors. Use its thesaurus to help you find a better word. Use the dictionary to make sure the word you want to use really means what you want to say. The writing enhancement tool suggests ways to improve your writing using a unique Natural Language database.
<em>First, let's explore some key differences between written and oral presentations.</em> Then let's look at some speech writing tips. Finally, let's summarize the key features of a winning speech based on the differences and tips. While there are variations in guidelines for writing any specific type of speech, there are some guidelines that will help you write any sort of speech or oral presentation. After reading through these speech writing tips, you ought to be able to write a winning oral presentation.
<b>Some key differences between speech writing and essay writing:</b>
<li>No matter how riveting the speaker, some people in the audience will be distracted some of the time. A reader goes back and re-reads. A listener can't do that. So a speech has more repetition of important information than a written text. It also clearly marks for the audience the connections between parts of the presentation.
<li>A speech must hold the audience's attention with more energy, fewer words, and clear thoughts. Again, a reader can go back and re-read, can page back to see a table or graph, or can even skip ahead to see where things are going. A listener can really do none of these things.
<li>The speaker is present in the room with the audience, unlike what is usual for written documents. In speech writing, it is important to keep this in mind. For a dramatic (and perhaps silly) example, if a writer antagonizes a reader, the reader simply throws away the essay, perhaps uttering a few angry words. If a speaker antagonizes the audience, the audience could start throwing rotten fruit at the speaker. Less silly, the speaker often comes across personally and uses the first person (I), while a writer often comes across impersonally and stays with the third-person (he, she, it, one).
<li>The context, or occasion, of the speech is generally known for an oral presentation, while not necessarily known for written text.
Don't have your audience throwing rotten fruit at you for bad grammar or boring words. Remember that WhiteSmoke English Writing Software offers a thesaurus and writing enhancement tool that will aid your efforts to write a good speech which will hold your audience's attention.
<b>Some speech writing tips:</b>
<li>Keep brief and to the point. Be clear.
<li>Give listeners an overview of where the speech will go, particularly for longer presentations.
<li>Introduce your speech in such a way that your audience wants to keep listening and knows what you are speaking about (see <a href="http://www.whitesmoke.com/how-to-write-an-introduction.html">How to Write an Introduction</a>). Many will advise you to start with a joke or funny story. If you do, make sure it is relevant to the topic of the speech, it is in keeping with the occasion of the speech, and it is funny for your audience. Don't use old jokes, jokes in bad taste, or stories that have nothing to do with the topic of the speech.
<li>Provide clear markers of transitions (see <a href="http://www.whitesmoke.com/how-to-use-paragraph-transitions.html">How to Use Transitions</a>) from one idea to another, including how the ideas relate to the main point, as stated in the introduction.
<li>Don't read the speech when you give an oral presentation--learn the speech beforehand, and use the written speech only to refresh your memory. Note cards usually serve better than paper, but be organized in either case--remember, the audience is right there. As a writer, you can have a mess of note cards around you, dig through them, pause, think, re-organize them, etc. The written words won't show that process. So, while writing the speech, this is fine. While giving the speech, you will lose your audience if you look down, search through notes, etc.
<li>Avoid relying on slides or PowerPoint when writing a speech. A good speech conveys its ideas orally. Turning the lights down for a speech in order to show slides invites your audience to a nice drowsy nap. Especially after a meal.
<li>Release your audience at the end--have a conclusion that makes it clear the speech is done, summarizes your main points, and leaves the audience feeling as though the speech is complete. Whether or not you take questions after the speech, the conclusion must provide a sense of closure (see <a href="http://www.whitesmoke.com/how-to-write-a-conclusion.html">How to Write a Conclusion</a>).
<b>Four key features of a speech:</b>
<li>Clear introduction that invites the audience to listen.
<li>Well organized body that clearly indicates transitions and the relationship of each point to the main ideas of the speech.
<li>Lively and engaged speaker who moves around and engages the audience's interest.
<li>Clear conclusion that leaves the audience satisfied.
<em>Whether writing an informative speech,</em> which tells its audience about something, such as a new project that will effect their lives, or a persuasive speech, which seeks to change the views of an audience to match the speakers, such as one might make to convince an audience to vote for a candidate, or a wedding speech, which is generally warm, personal, and a bit humorous, all speeches have these features in common.
Speech writing has many features in common with other good writing. The differences, however, remain the key to knowing the features of a great speech. Other writing software has some features in common with WhiteSmoke writing software. The differences, however, have audiences applauding <a href=" http://www.whitesmoke.com/landing_flash/grammar.html?d=1&a=24&r=1285/">W... everywhere it's used.
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ID #503327 entered on April 22, 2007 at 6:31am