BEATING WRITER’S BLOCK

LET’S MAKE A START….

My aim is to help people who have to make a speech or presentation and don’t know where to start.

I have a process that has never let me down and I really hope that it will help you. If not, please get in touch with me at speechestogo@gmail.com and I will see if I can help.

There are three main stages:

  • Structure
  • Brainstorming
  • Editing
  • Polishing

STRUCTURE

Body – I want to share three main points

Ending – Why I passionately believe in the main points have made.

If the speech is about a person, I generally end with something along the lines of ‘ I think Sam is a wonderful person – energetic, fun and very very good to know and I hope that you agree….. Sam is unique – and areally special friend. Thank you …..’

BRAINSTORMING/RESEARCH

Every good speech benefits from solid research. Asking the right questions will get some good material.

Example – I have been asked to speak about Sam on the occasion of his/her 40th birthday. Inspiration has not yet struck, so I will get into brainstorming mode by asking some questions:

Early years:

Exactly when and where was Sam born – details of early family life. Friends- school -favourite/least favourite subjects –teachers – sports -recreations – holidays – achievements

Teens and 20s

Passions – friends – academic – achievement – work -any quirky things

Later

Family – partner – challenges – work – achievements – contribution – voluntary work – support offered to friends and family

The above list is not exhaustive. I would advise people to do as much research as they can. Of course most of the background information wil lbe discarded, but more material increase your chances of finding a ‘hidden gem’

The best source for all the above is the subject’s friends and family members.

EDITING/WRITING

Once the brainstorming/research phase is over, your task is to find three main points which bolster your central argument.

You will have collected too much information.

The best speeches have ‘ bite sized’ chunks which are relevant. Some of the points will tell the audience things that they did not know.

My technique for the editing process is to go for a walk. It will be between 40 and 50 minutes.

During the first 20 minutes or so not much happens, but after that the thoughts start flowing. By the time I have finished I have the main points of the speech. This has never failed me.

( I do not think this is a random process. The first half of the walk encourages an aerobic effect and allows the subconscious to get to work. )

Sometimes the ending comes to mind first – at other times the three main pillars of the speech come. Once these things are established the introduction should come easily.

POLISHING

Every speech benefits from revision – speaking out loud helps you get an idea for phrases that are smooth or clunky, sharp or flat. Having a friend listen to your draft will add value and some bits can be cut or emphasised as a result.

Your speech should be memorable – so work out ways in which ist could stand out. If the subject like playing with a frisbee as a child, why not threaten to throw one to a friend at the back of the audience?

Interaction with the audience often works well. I usually ask a friend in the audience to do a bit of gentle heckling. I also ask someone to lead off the applause at the end. Some might regard that as cheating – to me it’s just common sense.