Your audience hears your speech or presentation but once. There’s no second chance. So here’s a few guidelines for writing muscular and memorable power speeches and presentations that work the first time:

  • Focus — Write a single, simple, vivid, declarative sentence expressing the most important concept or idea you want to leave with the audience. It should contain cause and effect and guide, define and structure the speech or presentation. The focus is the compass, the guide, for the entire speech or presentation.
  • Structure — A well-written speech or presentation has essentially the same structure as a well-written book, poem or song — context, foreshadowing, dramatic development, climax.
  • One thought to a sentence — Short sentences may look choppy and unattractive on paper, but they’re given life in the honest performance. (Watch Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech below.)
  • Conversational language — There are essentially two forms of English — written and spoken. Speeches and presentations delivered in written English are usually weak, flaccid and eminently forgettable. By contrast, speeches and presentations delivered in spoken English are likely to be intriguing, robust and memorable.
  • Strong, short, simple words — Use words with guts and power. Taut, vivid, tangible, edible, potable, smellable words coming together to create vivid images in your audiences’ minds. Anglo-Saxon-based words are almost always more powerful than Latin-based words. (Watch Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight On The Beaches” speech below.)
  • No codes, clichés, jargon. euphemisms, acronyms, bureaucratese, technobabble or psychobabble.

Barack Obama: Yes We Can

Winston S. Churchill: We Shall Fight on the Beaches