Moxie Institute

How To Start A Speech – Content Writing Series 2 of 5

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Welcome back to our second lesson in our series on how to write a speech. In this 5 part guide, we’ll be covering the Moxie Institute’s POWER method for writing a powerful and persuasive speech. This article covers a couple of lessons out of one of our core Chapters the “O” in our POWER acronym, Organize. The full online course includes information on:

  • How To Write A Title
  • How To Write An Opening
  • Call To Adventure
  • The Body
  • The Closing
  • How To Outline

In this blog, we’ll be focusing on how to outline your presentation and how to write the opening to a speech, arguably one of the most important and valuable elements of writing your speech. If you’ve lost them in the opening, you’re not likely to win them over in the middle or at the end!
In our last blog, we covered the “P” for Purpose and highlighted how to conduct an audience analysis. If you missed or want to review the article on Purpose CLICK HERE. As a recap, here’s an overview of our POWER method.

Write with Power – The Power Method

The term POWER is an acronym for presentation writing and over the course of this series we will dive deep into each letter:

  • P – Purpose – How to write with purpose. No one has ever heard a speech and said, “that was great, but what was the speaker’s point?”
  • O – Organize – We will teach you how to organize your thoughts and how to write the outline to a speech.
  • W – Writing – Writing tips and techniques are the best tools at the disposal of any good presenter. We will cover how to harness the power of the pen.
  • E – Engage – Engaging your audience is of the utmost importance, if your audience is not engaged in your words and delivery, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
  • R – Revise – Even Michael Jordan wasn’t good at basketball to begin with. He was cut from his high school team. As much as it is painful, we learn our best life lessons when we are challenged. No one starts out on top, the greats are the ones who stick around until the end. It’s been hypothesized that it takes GRIT and roughly 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill.

Now that we’re all refreshed on the method, let’s jump into the How To Organize Your Speech.

How To Write A Speech Outline

Every speech has an opening, a body, and a conclusion. While you want your speech to flow as if it’s conversational, you also want it to have a solid foundation, which we call an outline. The opening to your speech will be what hooks your audience into what you’re sharing, the body is the meat and potatoes of your speech where you’ll elaborate on your topic, and the conclusion is where you bring it all back to the beginning, summarize your speech, and drive it home with a clincher. It sounds easy when you break it all down, but so does figure skating if you break it down to its basic elements. Both require repetition and revision. Your speechwriting skills will become more polished with each revision and rehearsal, so don’t get down in the dumps if you’re not TED Talk ready after your first or third drafts.
Use the below worksheet to help you outline your next presentation or speech.

Next, we’re going to focus on how to write the opening to your speech using our tried and true methods that have helped world-renowned TEDx Talk presenters like Simon Lancaster, CEOs, and those who simply want to improve their presentation skills. Because one of our most popular services is our speechwriting services, we’ve got a host of award-winning speechwriters tips and techniques available to us. Here’s a sample of some of the methods that our expert staff speechwriting use to craft applause-worthy TEDx Talks and corporate presentations for Fortune 500 companies and their CEOs that we’ve partnered with.

How To Start A Speech

When figuring out how to start a presentation, the organization of your speech is a major component. You need to keep an audience engaged and following your story. The last thing you want is for your audience to get lost on the journey that you’re leading them on. So how should you start your speech to capture the attention of your audience and gain maximum impact?
Your opening sets the tone for your entire presentation. Your audience makes a value judgment about you in the first 30-60 seconds. That first minute is when you introduce your message and tell the audience why they need to hear it.
To help you remember the importance of your opening, we like to use the train analogy. What people remember the most about a train is the engine and the caboose. The same goes for your talk, people remember the beginning and the end the most. To encourage audience engagement we need strong openings and closings.
The first step to a greeting should be to give your audience something unexpected and engaging. Think about challenging their conventional wisdom.
To engage your listeners you need to have them retain some information.
Primacy and recency is a concept that states that people remember best what they first hear, primacy and what they hear last, or recency.
Here are the steps to write an engaging opening to your presentation:
Everyone is focused at the beginning of a talk, so use a grabber to demand their interest even more! Here are the ABCs (and D) of grabbing an audience’s attention with a hook.
A – engage audience
B – pique their interest
C – present topic in an interesting light
– speak to them where they live – most importantly tap into who they are and how they think

How To Hook Your Audience

One of the tools that the Moxie Institute utilizes in all of our presentation openings is the PUNCH method.
The acronym PUNCH stands for the following ways that you can hook your audience into what you’re saying with ease.
P = Personal – Illustrate a story to make the presentation more personal. Tell a client, customer, or your story, show, don’t tell. This method gets the audience visualizing and taking a journey with you through story.
U = Unexpected – Reveal something unexpected to your audience – a shocking quote, a question with a surprising answer, a statistic that goes against conventional thought. Something to make them wonder if there are other areas that they’re not “in the know” about as well. This establishes you as an expert and intrigues while enticing the audience’s appetite for more surprising facts.
N = Novel – Show or tell something novel, something that’s never been seen or heard before
C = Challenging – challenge conventional wisdom or assumptions about the topic – ask a hypothetical that makes them think.
H = Humorous – Humor is a great way to engage your audience, laughter is contagious and it connects you to the audience.
BONUS: 7 Memorable Ways to open A Speech or Presentation by one of our admired clients, YPO.
These are the best hooks or grabbers to get your audience latched onto what you are saying. Once you’ve got their attention it’s yours to keep if you can keep them engaged and interested in what you’re presenting.
Now that we’ve covered the “O” of our 5 part POWER method, you’ve got some tools of the trade, but may still be itching to learn more techniques to hone your skills. Check out our online courses for in-depth information or contact us below to learn about how our professional speechwriters and speaker coaches can help you craft your next presentation.

What Next?  “W” – Write For The Ear Not The Eye

Stay tuned for our next blog in this 5 part series which will cover the “W” of the Power method, Writing Tips. In this blog, we’ll be shelling out best practices for writing your most standing ovation worthy speech yet! We’ll dive into how to write for the ear and not the eye in order to captivate and enthrall an audience.


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