You're in charge of a one-day Departmental Retreat coming up in just 10 days. It's a very big deal because it's the first one your company has ever held. Because you're the department manager, you have to give the opening Keynote Remarks to set the tone for the entire day. You don't have to speak for very long... less than 10 minutes will do it. You want your remarks to be light but serious, grab their attention, make the audience feel good about showing up, and assure them they're not wasting their time.

      The problem is you haven't a clue what to say or how to say it. What should you do?

      First of all, don't panic. Writing a speech is not like advanced calculus. You don't need to study for years to learn all you need to know. You already have about 90% of it tucked away in your brain. You just need to access it.

      The key to unlocking what you already know is to ask pertinent questions and write down the answers that come to you. Please don't skip this step. Ask the right questions and write down the answers and you're halfway to getting your speech written. 

  1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS EVENT? Why are they here? To know each other better? Acquire new information? Feel they're an important part of the company's success? How will the company benefit from their participation?
  2. WHY THIS EVENT AND WHY NOW? Is it required that they attend or voluntary? Is it a bonus to let them know their work is appreciated? How will they benefit from being here? How do you want them to feel about having spent their time here today?
  3. WHAT IS THE PROGRAM? Who are the other speakers? Why is their information important? Will there be rest/food breaks between sessions?
  4. WHAT ARE THE LOGISTICS? Do they have to be checked in and out in order to get credit for attending? Are they on their own for lunch or is lunch being provided? What about parking? Is there a Suggestion Box for problems or ideas for improvement?
  5. WHAT IS THE VALUE THEY WILL TAKE AWAY AT THE END OF THE DAY? How will they feel about their place in the company? What do you hope they'll take home with them? Will you ask them to fill out an evaluation or survey to let you know what they gained?

      You can probably think of others, but this is a good start.  And here's the amazing thing. Once you start asking and answering questions, your mind suddenly comes up with things you didn't know you knew. You'll find that ideas tumble over each other in their urgency to get out of your head. 

      Now all you have to do is organize your answers into speech form.

  1. Welcome - glad you're here
  2. This is why it's important that you came
  3. This is what you'll take home with you
  4. This is what's going to happen: you'll hear terrific speakers, have rest and food breaks, etc.
  5. Here are the logistics (or housekeeping) details
  6. Here is the value you'll get from being here. And if you don't, let us know.
  7. Now, on with the show!

      One last suggestion: Pretend you're sitting in the audience. What would you like to hear from the Introductory Keynote speaker? The audience wants to hear the same things you do.

      That's all there is to it. As you move your answers around, often funny stories or incidents will occur to you that are a propos to what you're talking about and you can always put them in.

      It's a lot easier than you think to write your speech. You just have to unlock the door to your brain to let out the information you already know. Of course, if you're overwhelmed with work, don't have time to write it yourself, and you'd rather ask a professional for help, call me! I'll be happy to help you create a speech you'll be proud of!