If you want to give speeches that move quickly, flow rhythmically and engage your audience here’s a few tips on what to do:
1. Spoon feed.
Use shorter sentences. When you write for a listener you write very differently than for a reader. Spoon feed your audience. Bit by bit.
To keep your sentences short, use fewer adjectives and lose unnecessary words. Read the speech out loud to get the full effect. If you feel like you’re gasping for air, your sentences are too long.
2. Stay active.
Use the active voice: “The cow jumped over the moon.”
Stay away from the passive voice: “The moon was jumped over by the cow.”
Passive voice is usually stilted and the only way you’re going to tell if it is … is to read out loud to hear how it sounds.
3. Eliminate the past.
Concentrate on using the present or future tense.
These are much more dynamic than the past tense, but sometimes you can’t avoid speaking of events that have occurred in the past. You might have to tell a story or lay the foundation for what you propose for the future.
4. Use sentence fragments.
When I studied English at high school, the kids who used a fragment sentence always failed.
A sentence fragment is a statement that can’t stand alone.
For example: “Like the time I went to the football game.”
That is not a complete thought and English teachers always encouraged usl to write in complete thoughts with sound sentence structure.
When we talk, we tend to use sentence fragments all the time.
Don’t do it when you write!
5. Have your say.
If you have an opinion, state it strongly.
For example: “Everyone should eat chocolate.”
That sounds much stronger than: “In my opinion, everyone should eat chocolate,” or “I think everyone should eat chocolate.”
6. Use “that.”
When you write for the ear, you need a host of verbal props to assist the listener.
If you move too fast through your thoughts, your audience will have a hard time keeping up.
For example: “I can tell you that our economy has had several years of solid growth.”
Although a very subtle difference if you take the “that” out of the sentence, it does sound
much more rhythmic to a listener.
And rhythm is what it’s all about … a speech should be music to the ears!
Don’t let this happen to your audience!