One last look just might pay off...

The fuse on speech assignments seems to be getting shorter. That’s my impression and other writers have told me they’re seeing the same the trend. With the pressure to research and write speeches under rush conditions how do you keep up standards? It’s not easy, especially when tight deadlines leave you with little choice but to cut corners.

No matter how fast you have to scramble to get a script together, here are three things you should always do.

  • Put the finished speech away, even for 5 −10 minutes, while you drink a cup of coffee or look out the window. Your eyes probably need a rest anyway. Then, read over the speech one more time. It’s surprising how many typos, missed words and lumpy constructions jump out when you look at a draft with fresh eyes.
  • Grab a highlighter and go hunting for the key messages. Mark them, then read them again. Does the opening include a clear main message? Could it be sharper? What about your secondary messages? Are they easy to pick out and do they support the main message? Tweak if necessary.
  • Test drive the speech. In other words, read it out loud. And, stand up to do it. Mark spots where you stumble, or need to take a deep breath to continue. Then, go back and make changes.