Ace Your Speech with Q&As

No one ever said speechwriting is easy; but sometimes it’s harder than it has to be. Consider this scenario: you start on a speech and quickly find yourself spinning your wheels. You simply don't have a good enough grasp of the subject to make any headway. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking…

You could wait for elves to come by in the night to finish the job. Then again, you could avoid this situation altogether. Before you begin a major speech, take the time to put together together a solid set of questions and answers (Q&As). 

Preparing a Q&A package is worth the effort for a number of reasons. The exercise lets you concentrate on and become familiar with each topic in isolation. When you really know your material well, it’s much easier to weave the ideas together in a narrative. And, if you run the Q&As by the client, you could get approval for much of your content long before your first speech draft is a fait accompli.

Here's benefit to prepping Q&As: you can often take the answers and plug them into the speech verbatim. (Even the questions can be reused in the speech as transitions. Asking a question is a great way to move from one subject to another.)

The trick, then, is to ‘pre-fab’ your answers to make them easy to insert into the speech. Begin each answer with an overarching statement or thesis. Then provide a sentence or two of background. Follow up with some proof: a fact, statistic, quote, anecdote etc. If possible, end the answer by explaining why this particular point represents a benefit or opportunity to the audience.

Once the speech is finished, don’t throw away those Q&As. They may come in handy for your next assignment.