When people ask me how to write a speech, my answer is simple. "Start with the takeaway, " I say. Sometimes, I get puzzled looks. I stand by what I say, though. Whether you are entering a conversation or a presentation, it is best to have an exit strategy. What do you want to get out of it? What do you want your audience to know?
Too often, I fall victim to hearing uninspiring messages because the speaker switches direction or does not define a clear message. Think about this.... the Gettysburg address was delivered in two and a half minutes! It does not take long to make history, it just takes direction.
Once you know what you want your audience to take away from a presentation, then you peel back the layers. Start with the end and then build a bridge to get them to the destination. **It is important to note, however, that allowing the audience to participate in self-discovery will make them more engaged in your message. At any age, I have not met anybody that truly enjoys being talked TO more than being talked WITH. Ask questions and then lean back long enough to allow people to answer them.
Lastly... have the audience re-frame your takeaway in their own words so that they are sure to take the message with them.
Renee Crews is a Communications Consultant in the Chicago Southwest Suburbs. She is available for keynote speaking and teaches many seminars specializing in communication skills and "How to get along with difficult people."