Today we’re going to take a look at two simple writing hacks that will make your speeches flow more smoothly, and help you connect with the audience. They are chunking and transitions.
Chunking your writing
Sections of a speech that have similar content can be grouped together. For example, if we were writing about childhood incidents, we would put all these together. If we were writing about our workplace, we would keep these stories together.
This is chunking. It’s a useful process to complete after you’ve written the speech. Go through your speech with a few differently coloured highlighter pens and mark out sections that have similar content. Seeing these different colours will make it easier to group the content.
Transitioning in writing
This is something we do naturally in our everyday conversation, but sometimes struggle with when writing our speeches. How do we move smoothly from one section of a speech to another without appearing clunky?
Fortunately, there are phrases we can use to make these transitions work.
These are phrases like, ‘In addition…Moreover…Another…Also…’
These are phrases like, ‘Although…However…Conversely…On the other hand…’
These are phrases like, ‘To summarize…In conclusion…As a result…Finally…’
Keep this in mind too: transitional phrases are also good places to inject two small pauses.
The first is a short pause at the end of the section. It will subliminally tell an audience that you’re moving into another part of the speech. (If this sounds confusing, never fear, there are some examples below).
The second place is after the transitional word or phrase. After that word, inject a comma.
So we might do something like:
‘All back stock must be moved out of the warehouse by the 15th of August.
(Pause) Although, (pause) if there are perishables…’
Another example is:
‘He eventually returned to London to live in his father’s house.
(Pause) As a result, (pause) he never again traveled to Ireland to…’
As I’ve said before, make punctuation your friend! A comma is a small pause. Full stops and paragraph endings are places for longer pauses.
Both chunking and transitional phrases help to make speeches run more smoothly. After your speech is written, think about how you can move text around to make it more logical, and where you can use transitions to better move from one section to the next.