Easy Steps to Write the Body of Your Speech
YOUR WRITER’S BLOCKS!
we discussed a natural way (sequence) to plan
out your speech. I mentioned that while a
speech has an opening, a body, and a
conclusion, the first part that you write is
the body of the speech. Once the body is in
place, you can figure out an effective closing
and an introduction.
how do you write the body of the speech? Have
you ever had the experience of staring at a
blank sheet of paper, waiting for inspiration
to hit you so that you can write something
meaningful … and waiting, and waiting, and
waiting? Would you be interested in a way to
overcome that writer’s block? If so, read on
and learn my four- step blockbuster approach!
1: Narrow the topic.
the topic: One of the reasons that we
sometimes get writer’s block is that
thinking about the topic overwhelms us. There
is so much to cover, so much to know. This is
an instance where the maxim, “Less is
more,” applies. Look at the central idea of
your presentation. As you may recall from last
newsletter, the central idea is the essence of
your message, boiled down to a single sentence
or phrase. The body of your speech will be
built around that. For example, if your topic
is “The Battle of Gettysburg,” and you
chose as your central idea: “Failing to take
Kulp’s Hill doomed Lee’s Army,” the body
of your talk should be centered around
Kulp’s Hill, it’s significance, and the
domino effect of not seeing its control as a
strategic necessity. It would be a mistake to
try to cover the whole battle in detail, and
especially to try to cover the whole Civil
War. When you narrow the topic, it’s easier
to focus on the essentials.
Before you do any actual writing, brainstorm.
You will be surprised at how much you know
about the topic and/or original ideas you come
up with. What I do is create a brain storming mind
I sit down with a blank piece of paper, draw a
small oval in the center of the page, write my
speech topic in the center of the oval, and
then, for every main idea, I draw a main
branch (or spoke) off the oval and enter the
key words for that idea. Any ideas/topics
associated with that main branch are entered
as sub-branches, with those ideas written on
that sub-branch as key words. Don’t write
whole sentences – just the key words. If I
have an idea off that sub-branch, it then goes
as a sub-sub-branch, again with just the key
words entered. You will find a description of
how to create a mind map in my article, Mind
Mapping – How to Unlock Your Creative Genius.
you get any mental blocks, you can kick start
your thinking by considering categories of
topics. Examples of categories are: Adventure
& Adversaries; Birth & Bounty;
Challenge & Change; Dreams and Destiny;
Experiences & Events; Fun & Fantasy;
Guts & Glory; Humor & History;
Inspiration & Insights, etc. Seeing one of
these categories might get your mind going
again, revitalized with new ideas.
you do the brainstorming, you will think of
specific details you don’t know. For
example, the year that something historic
happened, the name of a person whose quote you
want to cite, and so forth. Write those
questions down, because after you’ve
brainstormed you will go to the next step,
which is research.
that is targeted: This research is
targeted at finding out specific details that
your brainstorming unearthed as important. If
time is tight for you, resist the temptation
to do broad research. Targeted research saves
you time by focusing your research only in the
areas that are needed to flesh out your
Your Presentation: Now look at the results
of your brainstorming and targeted research
and organize your main points and sub-points
into a cohesive whole. I find this easiest to
do in the form of a mind
You can use a more conventional outline form.
The key is that now you have the framework for
the body of your speech. If you need a
manuscript, you could sit at your computer
with the outline by you, and quickly type the
body of the speech.
in mind that the body of your speech is about
85% of the content of the talk. For a
10-minute talk, that is 8.5 minutes. Keeping
the time constraints in mind will cause you to
be realistic about how much material you want
to use in the body of the talk.
you have my four-step NBRO system
for writing the body of your speech or
presentation. Next month, we will unravel the
secrets of how to conclude a speech.
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