Writing a business speech? Follow these eight dos and don’ts

Writing a business speech and not sure what to do? Here are eight dos and don’ts to help you.

So, you’ve been asked to speak at a conference about your business expertise. First, well done. Second, if writing a business speech feels overwhelming, then read on to learn what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.

1) Do structure your speech

You know in movies where someone walks up to the mic and delivers a soaring speech that inspires the crowd without one lick of preparation? I hate to tell you but those are actors reading from a script. When people try that in real life, they can end up veering from interest rates to digital distribution to EU working conditions, leaving the audience confused and the speaker flustered.

For an effective speech, you need to have a logical journey from point to point, which means revising multiple times. Remember to repeat the key points at least once and use transitions when your changing topics. 

2) Don’t make it all about you

It’s easy to feel that because you’ve been asked to speak, you can talk about whatever you like, but it’s important to understand what people in the audience care about. Effectively, they are the consumer and you are the seller. Your job is to make a good impression and give 2-3 essential pieces of wisdom.

3) Do get the tone right

There’s a big difference between speaking to an audience of established business people in your field and soon-to-be graduating students that you want to work for you. Make sure you’re delivering value to the audience, creating an optimistic mood, and talking to them on their level.

4) Don’t blow the intro

Just as you decided to read this article based on the title and opening paragraph, people will decide whether to listen to your speech in the first few seconds. Get their attention with a big idea, a shocking fact, or a joke.

5) Do keep it short

Attention naturally fades after a few minutes, no matter how interesting the speech, and if you’ve lost their attention, then who are you even speaking to? Plus, the longer you speak, the more likely you are to veer off-topic. Make your points and leave them wanting more.

6) Don’t blow the conclusion either

You’ve kept them engaged throughout the speech, but what do you want the audience to do now? This will be the last thing ringing in their ears, so tie the speech together, repeat your best point, and make a call to action.

7) Do come prepared with some customized merchandise

If this event allows for networking, take a few personalised pens, printed with your business information, to hand out. They’re more useful to the other person and less likely to get lost than a business card.

Alternatively, if this is a recruitment event, stuff like custom pens or tote bags can be given out to potential employees to boost their connection with you. Check out this selection of personalised pens.

8) Don’t be afraid to include theatrics

According to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, people can remember just 20% of what they hear, but 50% of what they see and hear. So, if you want the audience to take your information on board, make a demonstration at the same time as your speech.

Hopefully, this has helped your nerves. But if all else fails, imagine the audience in a silly costume.