The Speechcraft Checklist
Episode #10 of the course How to write a great speech: Linguistics, drama, and rhetoric by K.C. Finn
For the final lesson in this course, it’s essential that we recap everything we’ve already learned, but here we’ll do it in a different format so that you have a complete checklist to refer to and consider once your final speech is complete. So here are nine key questions that you need to consider once you’ve finished your speech, and some tips on ensuring that each one is fully answered.
1: Is My Speech Structured?
Check your speech for a clear format and an even balance of Information, Motivation, and Persuasion, as per the advice in Lesson One. Does your structure match your intention?
2: Does My Speech Sound Powerful?
When studying, editing, and practicing your speech, listen out for catchy, memorable moments and be sure you’re making the most of them. If you’re not using all the techniques from Lesson Two yet, try to include each one at least once, and make sure it’s on the most important areas that you want people to remember.
3: Is My Meaning Clear?
Check the denotation of any major words and phrases that you’re emphasizing in your speech. Is there any way they could be taken the wrong way, or have another meaning you haven’t thought about? If so, check back into Lesson Three and make some quick replacements!
4: Am I Emphasizing the Right Things?
If you are able to, record your speech and listen back to your rhythm and emphasis. Do you sound varied and natural? Are the right words standing out? Make a note of anything that seems out of place before your next rehearsal, check with Lesson Four and try again.
5: Do I Sound Natural?
Are you still tripping up over some of your phrases? If your speech isn’t down to a smooth art and you’ve rehearsed it several times, look at splitting up sentences where you’re still getting into a jumble, or cutting out and replacing awkward words that leave you tongue-tied or aren’t in your natural vocabulary. Lesson Five will remind you how.
6: Am I Going to Be Heard?
Engage your core like we learned in Lesson Six, and do it every time you rehearse to project without shouting. Do you have enough air and are you pacing yourself to breathe properly? If you have a recording device like a mobile phone, leave it recording at the other end of your biggest room and see if you can still be heard clearly.
7: Am I Speaking with Authority?
Have you placed enough of yourself in the speech and told people why you’re the right person to be talking about this topic? Make sure Lesson Seven’s exploration of ethos is firmly in the back of your mind as you speak, ensuring that you have the confidence and expertise to speak your mind.
8: Does What I’m Saying Make Sense?
Have you crafted a logical series of related events in your speech? Do they all follow on from one another with good links, and do they reach the point you intended to make when you set out on your original intentions? Remind yourself of Lesson Eight’s theory of logos to be sure that you will appeal to the reasoning of your target audience.
9: Am I Speaking from the Heart?
By the time your speech is finished, do you feel the emotions that you intended to convey, and do you think others will feel them too? Return to Lesson Nine for a quick check on pathos, and get ready to make your words felt as well as heard in front of the crowd.
So now, it’s up to you! Take your time to work through each of these questions carefully as you put together, practice, and revise your speech. Remember that rehearsals are the key to success, and if you can get a tester audience in for a bit of practice, that’s even better.
It’s time to say goodbye for now! I sincerely hope that this course has provided you with a wealth of information, tips, and tricks on how to craft and perform excellent speeches. If you’re looking for more on writing, creative education, and productivity, don’t forget to take a look at my other Highbrow courses, which teach creative mindfulness activities, focus and motivation, and practical techniques for writing, editing, and setting up a freelance business from home, amongst other topics.
I wish you the very best in all your endeavors and would like to thank you for taking this course. Until we meet again!
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