Speechwriting Tip: When does your speech begin to fly?

Cut to the good stuff, right away.

There's a story that actor Dustin Hoffmann had to appear tired and worn out in a role. So to get ready for the role he ran around and around the movie set, until he was literally tired and out of breath. Luckily, the audience was spared watching the hour it took him to reach that moment of authentic sweaty exhaustion. The scene started and Dustin Hoffman was in the action. That's exciting. Warm-ups aren't.

The same is true for writing. Do you make your listeners go the many, many words with you - until you start to finally sail with a concrete, exciting idea? Do want the film editors do - cut it out!

Sometimes it just a few words here or there: "This evening I would like to share a story with you."

Where does the sentence start to fly?

With the word “story”. Start here. Kill the rest. "I have a story"  Better yet, just jump right into the story:"I adopted my parents." The word-fat is cut off and you leave us with meaty words that grab our attention immediately.

Other times, you may write whole chunks of unnecessary information before you get flowing into those meaty, essential words.

Go ahead write as much as you need to get warmed up, but once you get going, cut out the warm-up words. We don't need them. All the extra unnecessary information you give us - takes away from the impact of your true message. The one that makes you fly and the one you want us to fly away with.

Don't bog down your speeches with the warm-up words.

Do the running for yourself and give us just the result - sweat! The true essence of your message.

 (Yes, I know it's painful, but you have to kill your darlings).

Dyane Neiman

Dyane Neiman is the Moving Speaker: www.moving-speaker.com. She helps business professionals at all levels, who want to enjoy speaking in public, in English. She always encourages people to edit, edit, edit their speeches until they discover the meaty essence. Get in touch at dyane@moving-speaker.com

Photo credit: courtesy of Amanda Tipton

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