It doesn't seem to matter how well some folks know their subject, they still feel that writing down their thoughts ahead of time into a coherent message that an audience will appreciate is just too hard.  Or maybe they just don't want to put in the time or effort.   

      What's the big deal about writing a speech? The truth is it's a skill you've been learning since you first went to school, even if you never took a speech class. 

      From the time you wrote your first report on "How I spent my summer vacation," you've been putting down your thoughts in an organized, coherent way. You learned a formula with a beginning, middle and an end that would lead the reader or listener to understand whatever you were describing. This is a skill that served you all through your schooling. So why can't you use it now to promote your business?

      Writing a speech can be like going on a treasure hunt that will bring a great reward when you face the audience. Like finding any treasure, you need a map to know where to look and how to dig.  Here's a Treasure Map for your next speech.  It's easy to read and simple to follow.  Just ask yourself these questions before you begin to write.  

      Who will be in the audience and what are they expecting to learn from you? Do they already know something about your subject or is this totally new information? Are they expecting a hi-tech presentation or an informal talk without even a microphone? Will it be a roomful of strangers or a gathering of friends?

      How long are you expected to speak?

      What's the purpose of your talk? 

      Are you going to educate, inform or persuade the entire group or is it your job to honor an individual or the bridal couple?

      What are the three most important items the audience must hear in order to understand your point of view? Use these as your bullet point outline. Do you have the evidence to support each one or do you need to do a bit of research?

      What stories, analogies, metaphors, or humor can you enliven your bullet points with? Can you paint word pictures to make it easier to describe each one for the audience? 

      Will you have a rousing finish that tells the audience what action you want them to take next? 

      Are you prepared to answer their questions, even challenging ones? 

      Most important of all: Will the audience feel they know something when they leave that they didn't know when they came in?

      The answers to these questions are the clues to guide you through the writing process. The feeling of overwhelm or insecurity about how to put down what you want to say will disappear. The Treasure Map will enable you to find the words you need to sound and feel cool, confident and comfortable.

        Bottom line, when you prepare ahead, you'll give a better speech and be very proud of yourself. Your audience will appreciate and admire you, too.

      Next time you're asked to give a speech, just smile like the Cheshire Cat, get out your Treasure Map and start writing!