You can see my credentials in my bio. You should also know that I love to write speeches. In fact, I've been accused of being a better speech writer than speech giver! I'm working on that. ;-)
I'll tell you how to write a speech way I do it, and I'll tell you how to make it great. Plus I'll give you some tips on what to put in, and what to leave out. I love this topic. How Good Do You Want Your Speech to Be?
From outset, you should know that how to write a speech depends on how good you want it to be, and how much time you want to put into it. I'll put most important things first so that you can just go as far as you want, and stop when you run out of time. Remember to leave time to practice speech three or four times. If you can record second or third and listen to it, so much better.
How to Write a Speech People Will Remember
In old days, and I mean back in time of Greeks, much more emphasis was put on writing of speech, content. Now people tend to emphasize presentation, style, vocal qualities, and technology. But writing a good speech is irreplaceable - I'm going to tell you how to get put content in, make it clear, and make an impact on your audience...how to write a speech people will remember.
(Why 13 steps? It just turned out that way. But if you think public speaking is scary, it fits, doesn't it?)
1. Know your audience: if you forget this, everything falls apart. You can't tell dirty jokes to a Christian women's group. You've seen commercial where best man gives wedding toast and goes on and on about how much of a player groom was? Remember who's there and what they want to hear. What do they like and dislike? What kind of humor do they like? If they're a mixed audience, you have to be more mainstream in your language and manner. This is most important part of how to write a speech.
2. Know your purpose: only time you're allowed to break rule #1 is if your purpose is to shock or to inform people about something uncomfortable. In latter case, you'd need to make up for shock value by acknowledging it, comforting them, etc. Besides all that, your purpose determines everything else. Visualize a straight line from you through your audience to purpose. If you want to persuade them, you have to take them from where they are to place of persuasion. If you want to inform, you have to take their brains from where they are, to where they'll know your information. Knowing them, and taking them there is what it's all about.
3. Know what you want them to think about speech later: This is another part of your purpose, essential to how to write a speech. If you want them to say, "you really showed compassion in that speech!" then you have to do whatever you can to demonstrate compassion. If more than anything you want them to remember a certain fact, then do everything you can in speech to implant it in their brain - shock them, plead with them, amuse them, but make sure they focus on that fact.