Monday, February 16, 2009

Speech Writing - 3rd Production

Knowing and connecting with your audience is key when it comes to public speaking.

If you are, for example, speaking in New York, and want to emotionally sway your audience in regards to increased security for terrorism, you might BRIEFLY mention 9/11, and talk about how something similar must never happen again. And I say briefly because 9/11, like any other terrorist attack, religious reference, abortion opinion, or other, creates a lot of emotion in people. Some people lost relatives due to the 9/11 attack, so be careful. The last thing you want to do is smile while talking about 9/11, because your approval rates will sink faster than the Titanic.

You could, arguably, use that point anywhere: L.A., Texas, Rhode Island, wherever. But if you want to speak to New Yorkers personally, you need a little more connection that is related directly to them. If you're in L.A., for example, you might want to talk about rising crime rates, or changing the political system there so it works more efficiently.

Those points are all good, you might say, but how would I apply them in everyday life? I mean, this is the 'youth voice,' or 'voice of the youth;' it's not like I'm traveling cross-states here daily!

And you're right (if that's what you're thinking-I tried to create a hypothetical concern there). You probably aren't, and you're probably just looking for tips on how to present an excellent speech, presentation, or other.

So let's take it down a few levels. If you're presenting in a competitive environment, where everyone's speech is mostly the same, but good in the eye of the teacher, your job should be to STAND out. If you're doing a speech where you're trying to gather student's support on running a social activity for the whole school, or something similar, try connecting with them.

"Ladies and gentlemen, students and teachers. I am standing here today with little words that are of much complexity, of little complexity in my speech. I look at my competitors, Ryan, Joshua, and Meg (COMPARE yourself to them. LET THEM see that there might be something new to you that the others did not, and could not, bring to the table.), as I think about their speeches.

They were excellent; they were truly superb and accurate in almost every sense. (Be respectful; your audience may not be in your favor yet, and audiences always like respectful speakers.) Except for ONE. (Draw EMPHASIS-show that you care about that one little detail, and that it is significant for your audience and pivotal that they know it.) They did not talk about how it will help you. They did not talk about how you are important, or how it is you, Ren, or you, Compton, or you, Elisa (point/look at them, let them know that they are INDIVIDUALLY being talked to, and that you're not just an uncaring professional face.), that eventually writes their name in support of this activity.

They did not address the fact that this election is not about choosing leads for the social activity, but this election is about you. You as a people that write our names in favor, that have to see beyond personal emotions and friendly connections, but in the long shot of looking for who WILL SERVE THEM BEST. (Emphasize, lay your points out--use hand motions if it helps.)

You electing me as your leader is more than an honor, more than a personal moral booster, but a significant sign that represents the student body. A sign that...."

And you can continue from there. But the audience, in all reality, unless you're talking directly to teachers, politicians, or people who are actually practiced in the area of speech making, and know when you could be/are bluffing, they don't really care.

The biggest challenge for people who are trying to win their audience's favor is connecting with undecided voters. Professionally speaking, your competition could just as easily smother you over with a few 9/11 references and fancy words. Undecided voters in any sense, especially politically, are dangerous. But they could also be highly effective.

Thanks once again for reading this week's blog, and hope to see you next week!

-Fresh Writing

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Speech Writing - 2nd Production

Greetings all!

As a brief recap from last week's post, we went over:

-A brief introduction into public speaking
-The dangers of being nervous
-The unavoidable factors of being nervous, and symptoms of such

This week, we tackle the topic of knowing your audience.

Whether you're doing a school presentation, running for president for a student government program, or going as high as running for a local or federal government office, you have to know who you're speaking to. If you're doing the hula on stage for a local citizen gathering where you're trying to gain financial support for a project, you'll probably get laughed off the stage, and have a year's worth of bad reputation to live up to. But if you're doing the hula for a Hula Club in which you're trying to be elected as the best hula-dancer, you'll probably receive a more appealing and positive reaction from your audience.
Right now, you're probably thinking, yeah, okay, tell me what I don't know. I obviously am not going to start dancing half-naked on stage while trying to fund-raise. But the metaphor is relevant.
Barack Obama, for example, does an excellent job when it comes to connecting with his audience. He might clap as he comes on stage, shake hands with the audience, or as he is famously known for doing, toss his own untouched water bottle to a dehydrated woman at a caucus in February 2008.
It's heartwarming, it makes you appear as if you understand them, know what they want, and will listen to the public. Barack Obama's watertoss proved more than an accurate throw, but it showed that he cared for an average, lowly, American citizen. It put a positive grin on many peoples face as they saw what Barack Obama could be, and it made him unique. I mean, come on: when was the last time you saw George W. Bush toss a waterbottle to someone, or shake hands without the businesslike, professional act that he always tries to put on?
It's what can make the difference between an A- and an A+ on a speech grade from your teacher, or having to shake hands with your competitor with a false happy smile as he clinched the ticket to the desired political office, or you being that one who is absolutely bursting with happiness as you finally shot down your competition and got that political office. Knowing and connecting with your audience is the best way to sway opinions in your favor; the key part that causes many people to fail is knowing how to do so.

Thanks for reading this blog, and as a peek at next week's, we'll go more into the specifics of connecting and to use it in a speech. Thanks for reading!

-Fresh Writing

Sunday, February 1, 2009



As you are evidently reading this post, might I begin with a short but informative introduction.
Our first topic in which we tackle is public speaking. We all have to do it at some point; there's no point in denying it. Some love it, and some hate it, but it's still an everyday part of life.
For those that are uncomfortable with public speaking, you'd be surprised at how much it can benefit you, and not just for giving speeches or presentations. It can:
-Bolster your morale
-Help your social skills
-Make you more verbally articulate and clear
-And just genuinely be a lot of fun

Public speaking, as I've found, is easiest to 'learn' when you know someone that is proficient at publicly speaking. I've done my fair share of speeches, and got plenty of compliments at the end, but I'm sure an unknown person just randomly writing a blog doesn't really qualify as a superb role model. So try someone higher up, such as Barack Obama.
Barack Obama's ability to orate clearly and yet with unmistakable meaning has swept hundreds of people off their feet around the world overseas. Apart from his excellent economic, diplomatic, and international plans, his ability to successfully 'capture' his audience has been argued to have won him the presidential seat in the White House, where he sits now.
It is simply amazing to watch him speak, to use words in such elegant style that he does, to use such pivotal body language, and to see a truly flabbergasting speaker talk with such style. So how does he do it?
The key thing is his simple calmness. His unmistakable knowing of what he's going to say, who's he talking to, and how he's going to say it are some of the most crucial and significant qualities of his oration techniques.
As any good orator knows, there are principles in which you must simply have in your speeches, presentations, or other. In any public speaking, you must:

- Know your speech (or presentation, but for the sake of these bullet points, we'll go with speech)

- Know your audience

- Connect with your audience

- Use appropriate body language

- And, most of all, do not show how nervous you are.

The simple fact that I am saying this should not be new to anyone, but completely unavoidable. Evidently, you are going to be nervous. Anyone who is not nervous before or during a major speech or presentation is either on many calming pills, immune to their personal emotions, or simply knows their speech cold. No matter how you slice and dice it, you most likely will be nervous.
But the thing is, when it comes to serious public speaking, you can't afford it. Imagine if Barack Obama was standing their, his eyes scanning the crowd like bugs over a fire and was biting his nails. Would you vote for him?
Even if his speech was good, that pause in which you thought, why is he so nervous? Could cost anyone a few votes, which could mean the difference between crying into a napkin for four years or being on the next first class airplane to D.C.

As a conclusion, might I thank you for reading our first blog, and hopefully this will be a start to an interesting and educational discussion. As a future look at next week's blog, we'll go more into knowing and connecting with your audience. Until then, thanks for reading!

-Fresh Writing