Writing Assignment: Write A Short Speech

by Randy Murray on September 20, 2013

After dinner, you’ll be asked to say a few words.

This, for many, is terror incarnate. Public speaking features high on the nightmare list for many, many people.

Even writing such a speech can bring up these fears. From my experience I can tell you that once you’ve faced this terror, once you’ve stood at the podium and mumbled out those few words you’ve scrawled on a crumpled page, you’ll discover that it’s not that bad.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. But you can still write the speech, even if you don’t deliver it.

Speeches are a form of performance. Even a short toast is a miniature play, performed by an actor. That one way to master the fear: remember that it’s not you delivering the speech, you are an actor performing a short play.

The best speeches are entertaining, stirring, and informative. They engage us, demand our attention, and just for a moment, turn a gathered crowd into an audience.

A speech is an opportunity. Don’t waste it. Say what must be said and leave this audience with something of value. Entertain them. Engage them. Inform them.

For today’s assignment, write a short speech that will be delivered after a dinner with gathered fellow writers. It should be no longer than three minutes in length. Your mission is to stir this group of people, writers just like you, into a renewed commitment to their art and calling.

In this three minutes you should introduce yourself as a writer, share your struggles, and give an example of why this struggle is important to you. To do this you must first outline your ideas, then expand your outline into a first draft, then read it out loud, testing to see if your draft is readable and within your allotted time.

Then rewrite it and test it by reading aloud again.

If you can muster the courage, stand at your desk and record a video of your speech. For the completely courageous, share your recording online!

Writing Assignment: Write A Short Speech by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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