A public speaking opportunity is a great honour, but it’s also a huge responsibility. If the prospect of writing and delivering a great speech overwhelms you, these tips from Claire, the founder of the Yorkshire copywriting business Write for You, are designed to help.

  • Just start: This is the most important element. Get a pad and a pen or start tapping away on your laptop or phone. It doesn’t have to be perfect - no one will see it – but this is the precious raw material that will eventually become your final product.
  • Keep your speech with you: This is your baby, so don’t let it out of your sight. That way whenever you have a new thought, you can add it straight away, even if you’re in a queue at the supermarket or on the train. I do this on my phone constantly when I’m writing something.
  • Dare to plan: I know it’s tempting to put it off but it’s worth thinking about the day itself,
  • particularly how you want to deliver your speech. Are you someone who works in a more fluid way with the help of cue cards, or would you prefer to write your speech out in full and read it out?
  • Be kind to yourself: If you know you’re going to be nervous, don’t add to your worries by trying to shoot from the hip! You only get one chance to get this right, so if you’d prefer to read your speech out, that’s fine. If your words are authentic, they will still be meaningful, and it might also reduce those sleepless nights. And please don’t hold yourself to the standards of a seasoned comedian and feel you need to have everyone rolling in the aisles – you might not be Peter Kay, but you do have a great personality that will come out naturally on the day. There’s only one you, and that’s who your friends and family want to see.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice: I’ll let you into a secret: I can’t remember the last time I listened to music in the car. That’s because it’s a mega-efficient opportunity to talk out loud, and thanks to Bluetooth, no one will think you’re crazy! I constantly practice things in the car, saying them out loud until I’m happy. That way all I must do when I get home is type because half the work is done. Practising something out loud is also useful if you’re worried about a part of your speech that you know might trigger your emotions. It diffuses its power, leaving you more composed on the day itself.

When you’re comfortable with your key points and the flow of the speech, you can then start to think about your delivery. And that’s a topic for a future blog, so watch this space!

Want to work with Claire?
Write for You is for everyone, from senior executives attending high-stakes events and meetings to people who want to honour their husbands or wives at anniversary parties! Founder Claire is also a frequent public speaker, hosting a weekly Instagram Live for people who are isolated at weekends. Follow her @my40pluslife.me

You can visit Write for you’s website at www.writeforyou.site