How To Write A Manuscript Speech

Submitted By daswissbastard
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Pages: 4

Sample outline for a manuscript speech
(from Joan Detz, author of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH)

I. I follow a standard outline format. A. B. Where there’s an A … … there’s a B 1. 2. Sometimes I use full sentences. Sometimes not a. b. Fragments work great Creative punctuation = okay, too • • II. Bullet lists = very helpful Clients can see them quickly

The introduction needs to be short.

I. Use a ragged right margin. (Never justify the right margin in a speech manuscript.) Use lots of white space. A. B. Easier to read Easier to annotate 1. 2. Encourage your speaker to “mark up” the outline. The more comments your speaker provides on the outline, the better your manuscript will be.



Use BOLDFACE to highlight key points. Judicious underlining = helpful


Suppose you have two possible anecdotes, but you can only use one of them. A. B. Include both anecdotes. (You don’t have to polish every word. Just write enough so your speaker gets the idea.) Type both anecdotes in italics (so they stand out) and ask the speaker to choose. (This gets the speaker involved early in the process … and also reduces your re-write time.) 1. Remember: You’re not writing the speech for yourself. You’re writing the speech for your client. There’s a difference 2. You want your outline to reflect your client’s style


Make the main body as detailed as possible. My outlines typically run 6+ pages … counting lot of white space, of course.

I. II. III. This should be short. Don’t introduce anything new. Make sure your closing relates to your opening. A. Repeat key words from your opening. B. Refer to your opening point. C. Put any opening statistics/examples/anecdotes in final perspective. IV. Wrap up with clarity and clout.

“Dollar for dollar, Joan Detz’s courses are the single best investment any speechwriter can make.” (George Chartier, US federal government speechwriter) For seminar information, visit Register early to avoid the waiting list.

9 Steps To A Better Speech

___ 1. Focus your topic.

___ 2. Analyze your audience.

___ 3. Target your research.

___ 4. Organize your material.

___ 5. Simplify your language.

___ 6. Add rhetorical devices to create style.

___ 7. Use humor; don’t abuse humor.

___ 8. Allow enough rehearsal time to improve delivery.

___ 9. Consider the power of media coverage.

Joan Detz is the author of CAN YOU SAY A FEW WORDS? (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), which was noted in The New York Times. The book gives advice for “special occasion” speeches – including awards, retirements, commencements, memorial tributes, anniversaries, panels, job promotions, and dedications. The author is donating 50% of her advance royalties to libraries. Copyright 2008, Joan Detz.

Audience Analysis

Name and size of audience? Day/date/time of speech? Age range? Translators required? Professional backgrounds? Political involvement (legislative issues)? Social issues (community projects, fundraising, etc)? How often does this group meet? Previous speakers … upcoming speakers? What topic has this audience found most interesting … and why? Least interesting … and why? Any special concerns/problems for this group? Exact location? (Include directions. Attach map if necessary.) Type/size of room … seating arrangements? AV: lighted lectern, microphone, Teleprompter, PowerPoint? Phone # of person handling sound/light/heat/AV? Q&A session (moderator … allotted time) Who will introduce the speaker?

Joan Detz is the author of IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY, IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). “I see a lot of books on public speaking. This one I’ll keep.” (Terrance McCann, executive director, Toastmasters International) Copyright 2008, Joan Detz.

Client Data Sheet
Name Place of birth / Hometowns College & summer jobs First major job Mentors Work philosophy Volunteer activities Affiliations Hobbies Sports Vacations Politics