Staging Your Speech


Many people ask me how to learn a whole speech. I find that once I’ve staged my speech, one line leads to another and the whole thing flows smoothly along to it’s conclusion.

In a way the script is like a choreography, but instead of different physical movements all strung together to create a dance piece, a script is made up of building blocks like, different emotions, change of pace and intensity.


If you get the script right and the roller coaster ride of emotion, the movements should follow quite naturally. Yes there are some techniques for staging your speech, such as using Holograms, Time Lines, Repetition motifs, Upstage verses Downstage. In general, we can forgive a speaker who lacks these staging techniques, if she delivers a powerful message. We can’t however, accept a speaker with all the staging techniques in the world, if she fails to stir us in our heart or provoke us in our thinking.

My advice to you is to spend 70% of your time writing and rewriting your scripts. Remember the saying “A great speech isn’t written, it’s rewritten.” Think of them as a movie and yourself as a movie director. What do you see? What do you want your audience to see? How does the action unfold? Who are the main characters? If there are too many, chuck a few of them out.

A great movie often doesn’t start at the beginning of a story, but BANG straight in the middle or even near the end. These teaser makes us curious as to how we get there, we are on the edge of our seats as the story starts to unfold. If the blue print of what we think will happen and what does actually happen don’t match. Our mind is surprised, jolted and thus stimulated by this unexpected twist. Remember, that just like a film, two thirds of the footage ends up on the cutting room floor. Don’t be afraid to cut great stuff if it doesn’t further your story in the way that will excite your audience.

Be a movie maker, because speaking creates visuals in the mind of the listeners. What images will you place there?

Post by Olivia Schofield