How to Write a Speech: Knowing the Purpose – 5 Characteristics of Delivering Bad News

Why write a speech in the first place? Why not a video? Why not a written letter or e-mail? Why not something on Facebook or My Space or any of the social networking accounting sites? It’s a straightforward answer. There are times when a speech is the most effective and powerful way to deliver information. I’ll go into that in more detail in a separate article.

Purpose is the third element of a triangle that begins with first, knowing who your audience is, and second, what the occasion is. Purpose asks the question What are you attempting to get across to this audience? The “what” determines the tone of the speech. How serious must you be? How straightforward? Can you lighten up? Can you encourage?

The most difficult speeches to write are those that deal vpxco with delivering bad news. In this article I want to focus on 5 characteristics of such speeches:

1. They need to provide as complete information as possible as to why something has happened, or why a particular course of action must be taken. The reason for this is that you want the audience to understand and recognize that the step was necessary. If they don’t understand you’ll lose them. They won’t stay with you and they won’t support you. This is particularly true in a major optoki corporate reorganization with extensive layoffs.

2. Don’t delay telling the bad news. In other words, don’t drag it out. The audience is expecting it anyway. Dragging it out is, in my opinion, just like those awful pauses on shows like American Idol and Dancing With The Stars before the host announces which contestant goes home. Never keep people waiting if you have to deliver bad news.

3. Empathize with the audience. The content and tone must reflect the newsheater personal concern of the speaker. In crafting the speech choose clear, simple language and a tone that is as warm and appreciative of the audience as possible without sounding “fake.” It avoids confusion and gets straight to the point.

4. Have the speaker take responsibility. I’ve listened to too many speeches where the speaker blamed another person, another party, circumstances, even the weather for what was happening. Politicians are among the worst offenders. Invariably it is someone else’s fault. Avoid this trap in delivering bad news. It doesn’t work, it sounds as if you are protecting you know what, and it lacks integrity. My experience is that an audience respects someone that, in their speech, takes responsibility for what happened and doesn’t lay it at the feet of someone else.

5. Inject some hope. It’s not easy to end a bad news speech on any kind of a high note. However look for some opportunity that has a glimmer of light, if at all possible. However, don’t fake it. Your audience will know immediately.

Today’s world has seen more than its fair share of bad news speeches. Tough economic situations, huge national and personal indebtedness, lost jobs and lost homes all make for difficult tasks for speech writers. How to write a speech under these circumstances forces the writer to look carefully at its purpose so the speech can be delivered with honesty and integrity. If you have to write a bad news speech, keep the above characteristics in mind.

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