Speech Writing And Editing For Speeches With Impact

Speech writing and editing will make a speech more impactful

Speech writing and editing are essential skills in politics, business, and other fields. Speechwriters who do the job present the goals and message of their client in a speech to be delivered to their desired audience. To craft it correctly, the speechwriter edits and revises the speech until it is ready for release.

Behind every powerful speech is a writer and editor who assembled words and relentlessly revised the piece until it’s ready to be shared with the world. Both speech writing and editing are just as important as public speaking. And this comprehensive blog will give you all you need to learn these two essential skills. 

What Is A Speech Writer?

Speeches have different goals. They can be to persuade or simply inform. Writers specializing in speech writing aim to craft a speech that effectively serves the speaker’s goal. Their role is to write an output conveying the speaker’s message to their target audience.

It’s why speech writers must work hand-in-hand with their clients. Doing so will help them understand the objectives and key points their clients want to impart.

Consulting with the client a vital part of speech writing adn editing

What Are The Parts Of The Speech Writing And Editing Process?

How do writers come out with a good speech? One of the first things to do is determine the purpose of the speech and its target audience. As stated, they must consult with their client and brainstorm to properly identify a topic, a thesis statement, and the main points.

Then, they must spend time researching the audience and the topic. After gathering data, they can prepare an outline, which will serve as the framework of the speech. Generally, a speech has three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

The introduction is where they grab the audience’s attention, introduce the speaker’s point of view, and preview the main points. Common intro lines include:

  • Stating statistics.
  • Telling a story (personal or a reference to others).
  • Asking questions (direct or rhetorical).

The writer will have the avenue to discuss the main points in the body. It also entails supporting these key points with solid pieces of evidence.

The conclusion summarizes everything the speaker discussed. Typically, as in the case of persuasive speeches, it ends with a strong call to action

What Is Editing In Speech Writing?

If you will be a speechwriter, note that your job doesn’t just end with crafting the first draft. As people say, the best speeches are written — they’re rewritten. 

Speech editing is an iterative process that subjects the writing to critique. It analyzes and polishes not just the grammatical correctness of the sentences and appropriateness of language, style, tone, and voice but also the general speech flow, cohesiveness, logic, and truthfulness.

What Is The Purpose Of Editing?

Editing is a critical part of the process of crafting a speech. Its main aim is to ensure that the final piece for delivery is clear, cohesive, effective, and aligned with the speakers’ goals (and personality).

A speech editor checks if the grammar is correct and if paragraphs and transition words — including any analogies made — are well-structured and organized. More importantly, it ensures that the words chosen and written can compellingly paint the speaker’s message. 

Why Is Editing A Speech Important?

Writing, rewriting, editing, and revising. You must go through all these processes to create a great speech that resonates with the target audience.

Editing is vital because it polishes the speech to be more understandable, engaging, and impactful. It’s a process that assesses if the piece of writing meets the audience’s interests and fits the speaker’s personality, voice, and style. For example, if the speaker is known for their comical approach, you must see to it that the speech has a tinge of humor.

Editing is also vital in terms of reinforcing the credibility of the speaker. If a speech has grammatical mistakes, has incoherent thoughts, or is full of unnecessary adverbs, run-on sentences, and other linguistic flaws — then it can negatively impact the speaker’s authority. Subsequently, it can affect the audience’s receptiveness toward the thesis statement and main points.

Speech writing and editing - reworking is crucial for a great speech

How Does A Speech Writer Know When A Speech Is Finished?

Now, how do you know if your final draft is the version that the speaker will deliver? You can ask yourself the following questions, and if your answer is all yes, then you can already stop editing or revising and endorse it to the client.

  1. Does the speech hit all the objectives? Is it capable of conveying the speaker’s message?
  2.  Does it sound like the voice, tone, and personality of the speaker?
  3.  Is the content of the speech engaging? Will it resonate with the target audience?
  4.  Does the speech effectively portray the images and scenarios that the speaker wants? 
  5.  Is the flow of the speech smooth? Are the paragraphs coherent, well-organized, and logical?
  6.  Are there no grammatical, spelling, or syntax errors?
  7.  Have you corrected any run-on sentences or too-long words that could make it hard for the speaker to speak eloquently?
  8.  Are all the facts accurate? Are the analogies used making sense?
  9.  Have you addressed potential counterarguments?
  10.  If the speech will be delivered, will it be within the allocated time frame?

What Are The 3 Stages Of Editing?

The editing process is painstaking yet necessary to create a great speech. Here are the three main stages of editing:

  1. Structural editing. You must look at the bigger picture before tackling the minute details when editing. This first stage is called structural or substantive editing. Your focus here is to assess the logical order of paragraphs and sections. If the flow of the narrative isn’t smooth, you can rearrange, delete, or add portions of the speech. At the end of this stage, you want to have a speech that’s logical and easy to follow and comprehend.
  2.  Copy editing. The second stage is where you look into the speech sentence by sentence, examining it for any errors in grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, and consistency (in terms of style, language, tone, and even the use of pronouns). As you go over line after line, you should also look out for the choice of words and the phrasing. If there are too many adverbs or adjectives, you also want to cut down on those as they can make the overall speech feel too flowery. 
  3.  Proofreading. At this stage, you have the final chance to correct any lapses you couldn’t find in the first two stages. You must be meticulous in finding typographical errors or any other minor flaws. While others do this in the second stage, some writers and editors include fact-checking at this stage. This is to protect the credibility of the speech — and its speaker.
Revision and reworking part of speech writing and editing process

What Are The 6 Principles Of Editing?

After speech writing, it’s always a must to have your draft edited. Some self-edit; some seek their peer’s help to do the editing duties. But any editor would have to follow the six major principles of editing.

  1. Editing for focus. Ensure that all parts of the speech support the thesis statement. Eliminate sentences and paragraphs that deviate from the speech’s core message. 
  2.  Editing for clarity. Is the speech logically written? Are all the sentences clear, and can the audience comprehend your words and terms?
  3.  Editing for conciseness. In relation to editing for focus, you must see to it that the speech is refined and has no inessential components. Favor short words over long ones, simpler terms over jargon, and short and crisp sentences over run-ons. 
  4.  Editing for continuity. Transitions words help the speaker bridge one section or paragraph to another. It also allows a more seamless speech flow, helping the audience understand the messages you convey better. So make sure the speech has that sense of continuity when editing it. 
  5.  Editing for variety. As an editor, you must consider how the whole piece sounds when delivered. Does it sound too plain, robotic, or monotonous? Are there too many statistics in one portion? Where can you strategically insert anecdotes or personal stories (or humor)?
  6.  Editing for impact. While editing, assess the narrative. Does it paint vivid images? Will it resonate with the audience and appeal to their ethical principles, logic, and emotion?
Excellent speech writing and editing strengthen speeches

What Are Some Tips For Editing A Speech?

Ask any expert at Toastmasters or an editor at New York Times, and they will all agree: You have to edit mercilessly. To be an effective editor — and be someone that will help a speaker bring out the best of their presentation skills via a flawless speech — follow these tips:

  1. Read the speech aloud. This will help you catch too-long sentences and words that have been frequently repeated. 
  2.  Give your brain and eyes a rest. Pausing for a while and returning later will help refresh your editing skills and spot errors more easily. Better yet, have a second pair of eyes check the output after editing. 
  3.  Be careful with Is and mes. Note that the speech should not sound self-centric. If the speech has too many first-person perspectives, transform them and make it all about the audience. 
  4.  Watch out for vague pronouns. This is especially true when the sentence or paragraph has too many subjects. Sometimes, it’s better to state the subject than rely on a pronoun. 
  5.  You can use tools but don’t fully rely on them. There are online tools that will help you check for spelling and grammar. Use them as your aid — not something that will do your job on your behalf. 
  6.  The dictionary and thesaurus are your buddies. If you want to ensure that the speaker uses appropriate and strong words, always make it a point to refer to these references. You can also countercheck with style guides. 
  7.  Stay within the main points. One of the main goals of an editor is to edit for focus, clarity, and conciseness. So make sure that the sentences always reinforce the speaker’s message. 

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