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The Art of Speeches and Presentations: The Secrets of Making People Remember What You Say by Philip Collins

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CHAPTER THREE

TOPIC

There is nothing more important than the main argument of the speech. It is impossible to write a good speech without clarity about the central argument. Too many writers do not know what they have to say. You need to isolate your main point. You should spend most of your preparation time sharpening this central argument. Speeches that have no central argument demonstrate just how important it is. The main argument needs to be placed conspicuously in the speech and threaded throughout it.
The Topic can be addressed in a process of five steps. The first step is to get to the point where you can write down your main argument in a single, clear sentence. This is equivalent to the wrongly maligned idea of the sound-bite, which is, after all, just the most vivid encapsulation of the speech in a single phrase. Alternatively, you can consider this to be the title of the speech. The second step is to write the speech in a paragraph, ensuring that everything refers back to the central argument. Once that paragraph is tightly written and contains no extraneous material, the third step is to take the text up to a page, introducing the very best of your supporting material and facts. At this point you are ready for step four, which is to write a detailed and thorough outline of the speech. This is good practice in itself but it may also help to persuade the speaker to engage properly in the process and accept the speech as his own, if you are writing for someone else. ...

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