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Chapter 17. Are We There Yet?: Conclusio... > Crafting a Title - Pg. 144

Are We There Yet?: Conclusions, Revisions, and Titles 144 Crafting a Title Speech titles have two purposes: They suggest the general contents of the speech while simulta- neously grabbing the audience's attention. Think of the title as an advertisement. If successful, the title should make the listener want to hear more. A good title has these characteristics: · Relevant · Intriguing · Brief Relevant means timely or up-to-date. As a general rule, avoid recycling titles. Unless the fit is perfect, your speech will seem dated. Avoid last year's slang and local expressions that are apt to be mis- understood. Intriguing means pleasantly puzzling. For example, if you're addressing a community group that's opposed to sidewalks being installed in the neighborhood, consider "A Walk on the Wild Side," "An Important Community Issue," or "The Issue of Sidewalks." Encores and Exits There's no magic bullet that works for all speech writers all the time. Nonetheless, effective speech writers are most likely to adopt these approaches: · Accept that the first draft will have to be revised. · Break their writing into manageable tasks. · Focus clearly on audience and purpose. · Seek feedback and weigh it carefully. · Be flexible in their approach to writing. Brief means that the title must be punchy. The title should be as short and to the point as possible. Senator Margaret Chase Smith realized this when she called her speech against Senator Joseph McCarthy a "Declaration of Conscience." The only exception is scientific talks, for tradition demands that those speeches be prefaced by long, descriptive titles. It's a good idea to title your speech even if you think no one will ever see it, just to be in the habit and just in case you need one at the last minute. Class Act Write the title last, after you have finished the entire speech. Creating a title that is both intriguing and suitable will be easier after you have written the rest of the speech.