Pam Anderson, Ad-Mix Ad Agency President, will talk politics from a media side and provide a column for our newsletter.
Now it’s time to write a speech and if you are running for a local office you may not have the luxury of hiring professional speechwriters, but keep these things in mind when preparing your material and your message will win your audience over.
First and foremost, you have to know your central point before you begin. What thought or point is it that you want people to leave with and think on later?
Your speech will need a beginning, middle and end. So create a time line, this will keep you on task. Limit yourself to two or three points under the main topic. The opening paragraphs of a speech are the most important. Most speechwriters agree that audiences decide if they like you or not in the first twenty seconds.
Consider who you are addressing. The same speech will not work at every event. Here are few things to consider.
Will the audience be predominantly male, female or a mix? What is the age group? Also, think about the area in which you are speaking, the socio-economic status of the audience and the issues that are of interest to that group.
Keep in mind that the audience is hearing your speech, not reading it. Writing a speech for listeners is quite different than writing one that will be read. So keep it simple, don’t use complicated words and sentences and try to keep your speech between 7-10 minutes.
Make sure you relate to your audience by discussing something they are interested in, but keep it light, maybe a local event or sports team. Humor always goes over well and puts your audience immediately at ease. Make your speech conversational so the audience doesn’t feel like they are being talked at. It is important that you tell your audience what you are going to say so that they do not miss your message.
Do not use a bunch of statistics to prove a point, audiences are more receptive to stories or anecdotes to illustrate a topic. Make your speech brief but concise and make it emotionally compelling by giving your audience a stake in the speech. The most persuasive speeches follow a problem-solution format. In the problem section you have to be firm, to alarm your audience and to let them know you understand that their concerns are real and that you have a solution that will make sense to them. Explain your platform, what you will do and how you will do it. Make sure that any proposal you present is tied to your ability to make it a reality.
Finally, remember to leave your audience thinking. This is your last chance to make an impression so prepare a strong ending that summarizes what you have said.
Read and re-read your speech out loud as you write it. Practice your speech on a family members, friends or advisors for feedback. Then memorize it. You can take notecards with you but only use them for reference. Make sure you maintain eye contact while giving your speech and use hand motions so you don’t appear uncomfortable, stiff and nervous. Save time for questions at the end so that you appear approachable by the audience and always have a sound bite ready in case the media is present.
Pam Anderson, AdMIX Agency