Originally published in 1951, this book is dedicated to everyone who has ever been called upon to say a few words.
Anybody can deliver a speech. Men prove that every day. They stand up on their feet, and they say what they want to say. If a man fears he can't make a speech, he can take a short course in public speaking and almost immediately he will acquire the ability to rise and give out with words of wisdom or what not.
But few men can write a speech. That's why you hear so many inept speeches. Go to church on Sunday, to your service club, your trade association, to any business meeting, and you hear speakers who have spent time and effort in preparing a speech. Yet they don't interest you. They talk loud enough. They have the voice, the presence, the words, but they don't know how to put those words together in a way to arouse your interest.
You hear a man make a speech for a cause in which you are interested, but the way the fellow puts the appeal just about breaks your heart. It isn't that he can't make a talk. He simply doesn't know how to make his talk interesting.
Then you hear a man who isn't a good talker, talking about a cause in which you have no interest. Yet he holds your interest for twenty or thirty minutes or an hour. His voice lacks volume; it squeaks; he has no presence -- nothing to hold you but his message. Yet he holds your interest through the whole talk.
What is the difference? One knew how to write a speech -- the other didn't.
Now most of the bad speeches you hear have good material. The speakers have put hours into assembling the data. Properly handled, this material could be made into an interesting talk. But these speakers just don't know how to handle speech material properly.
The suggestions in this book are assembled to give you a formula for writing a talk. It is a formula that good speakers use. It is one that will help you write a speech that audiences will like.
- Preface: Why -- How to Write a Speech
- Get Off the High Horse
- Write a Synopsis
- Lay It Out on Paper
- Now You Need a Plan of Presentation
- Their Interest, Not Yours
- Write It to Joe
- Use Your Own Words
- Spoken, Not Written, Language
- Write It in Units
- Write the End First
- Start with a Smile
- Once upon a Time
- Sprinkle with Conversation
- Bring in News, but Local News
- Talk about People
- Don't Slight Your Possessions
- Dramatize Some Points
- Needle Your Facts
- Now Let's Check the Script
- Check for Variety
- Cut Out the "We's"
- Check for Clarity
- Is It Specific?
- Shorten the Long Sentences
- Trim the Wordage
- Let's Check the Big Words
- Throw Out the Cliché
- Are You Using Questions?
- Other Checks You Might Make
- It Isn't Easy, Mister
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