On the one hand, nutrition and dietary science by itself is not a very public speech-oriented discipline. It mostly deals with long-running studies and analyzing statistical data from huge arrays of data – the very nature of this science means that any progress is based on prolonged (often may years long) research of how this or that combination of nutrients affects humans and other living beings.
On the other hand, it is hard to imagine another science that would mean so much for an average human. Everybody makes dozens of nutrition-related decisions every day, and our health, lifespan and wellbeing heavily depend on what we know about this subject and if we are willing to apply this knowledge. It is no wonder, then, that many courses in nutrition and dietary science include segments related to speeches, their preparation and delivery. Anybody studying this discipline seriously should expect to be asked to deliver a speech every now and then – and learning the main principles of how to do it before you run into such a task the first time is certainly worth it.
You can find all the necessary information in bits and pieces over the Internet; or you can read this guide where it is neatly packed on a single page.
The choice of topic often defines whether a speech is going to be a success or not. Fortunately, nutrition offers a broad choice of subjects to talk about. Here are some ideas that lend themselves especially well to the format of a speech:
Try to choose a topic you find fascinating yourself. If you are not interested in what you are talking about, you cannot expect to draw in other people as well. Here are some examples of what you can talk about:
Speeches are measured by how long they take to deliver, not by the number of words. At a glance, it does not seem like a problem – simply take any online tool for converting between words and minutes, and get the desired results. However, reality is a little bit more complicated:
In other words, use the results of such converters as approximate values. Later you will have to practice the speech you have written to see if you can cram it into your time slot.
The format and other aspects of a speech are defined by its primary purpose. In nutrition and dietary science, it is usually persuasion (you want to convince other people to change their views on food, nutrition and lifestyle) and instruction (you want to give the audience information about nutrition they do not currently know, without actively trying to have them change their minds on anything). Anyway, you should decide which goal you pursue before you start planning, let alone writing. Another common type of speech is an entertaining one. Although you are unlikely to have to write one as an assignment from your professor, sometimes adding amusing stories or quotations is a good idea to build rapport with the audience.
Speechwriting suffers from insufficient planning even more than any other type of academic writing. The audience perceive the speech by ear, without the help of a text. They cannot go back if they miss something or get confused. If you lose your audience halfway through, your chances of getting them on board again are extremely slim.
This is why it is so important to start with building a framework and sticking to it. Divide your future speech into parts (they are usually similar to most other academic texts: opening, body, conclusion) and jot down the most important aspects of each of them.
In addition, set aside specific amounts of time to spend on each part of the speech: better to do it now than to hectically cut parts of your text when you discover you have exceeded the limit without covering half of what you intended.
They are like seasoning – when used in moderation, they can turn an otherwise bland speech into an exciting piece of content. However, if you use them too often, it will likely have an opposite effect. The audience will think that you have nothing of your own to say and get confused with all the quotes and figures you throw their way. Therefore, choose which hard facts you use very carefully and only introduce what is definitely relevant for the topic, no more than one or two times per point.
Repetition, when cleverly used, can go a long way towards driving your point home. Pick a word or a phrase that plays an important role in helping your argument, and use it several times across the speech. You may emphasize it non-verbally, if necessary, for example, by preceding or following it with a pause. For example, if you are talking about the influence of certain products on health, you can emphasize how important it is by using the word “life” and repeating it every time when you introduce new evidence supporting your suggestion.
Although you write your speech on paper, you should keep it in mind that it is meant to be spoken aloud. This means that you should use language that is closer to spoken, not written English. This means:
Of course, you can write the way you usually do, but the audience will have harder time following you.
The opening is important because it defines the initial attitude the audience will take towards you and your speech. You should grab their attention immediately (e.g., by providing some highly unexpected fact about proper diet), show your credibility (e.g., by referring to personal experience) and seamlessly lead them up to the main part.
The conclusion is important because it determines the impression you leave the audience with. Even if the speech was good, a weak ending can make the audience wonder what it was they were listening to.
Words like ‘so’, ‘therefore’, ‘thus’, ‘likewise’, ‘next’, etc. create logical connections between individual parts of text. They are important in all kinds of academic texts, but play an especially significant role in speeches, because people actually listen to them. When you listen to a text without transitions, it feels choppy and disconnected. So, make sure you end and begin points with these words and sentences.
In academic writing, it is never a good idea to think that you job is done once you finished writing per se. It is doubly so when it comes to speechwriting, especially on such crucial and sensitive topics as nutrition and dietary science. Not only can you make a serious mistake that will be easily exposed once you are on stage, but also there is always a likelihood of saying something that will offend somebody. Therefore, some post-writing work is always necessary.
Differently from most other academic assignments, you need not pay much attention to spelling and grammar. What is important is how your speech sounds, not how it reads. People will not see your spelling, and some grammatical irregularities are to be expected in oral speech. However, you should pay attention to potential weak spots: leaps of logic (conclusions that do not logically follow from the preceding evidence), abrupt transitions between points, irrelevant evidence or statistics, etc. Identify the areas you can improve and do it.
Quite often problems go unnoticed until you try to hear how the speech reads and sounds aloud. Thus you are more likely to notice if certain sections sound unnatural and need to be worded differently. Time yourself when you read it to make sure you can fit the speech in your time limit.
Another person, somebody who has never seen the speech on paper, is always more likely to notice if there is something wrong with it than the one who wrote it. Get somebody whose judgment you trust listen to your delivery and ask him/her if:
Not every speech needs visual aids, and your assignment does not always presuppose that you should use them. However, when used cleverly and in coordination with the speech itself, they can greatly increase the effect of its delivery, especially when dealing with complex topics. Nutrition and dietary science, being a health-related discipline, can also benefit from various visual representations of how changes in nutrition positively and negatively affect human body. Before you start designing your slides, decide which tool you are going to use – today one has access to plenty of alternatives to PowerPoint.
However, use visual aids sparingly and do not make them the centerpiece of your performance. The speech is primary; slides should simply illustrate your point from time to time, lest they draw attention from you and your delivery.
Or, if it changes at certain points, make sure it follows your design. Incongruous tone can harm your credibility and make the entire speech sound weird and disjointed. The tone is defined by many things: your choice of words, the kinds of rhetorical questions you address to the audience, even your body language. This means that you should bring both verbal and non-verbal aspects of your speech in accordance with your tone.
We hope that after reading this guide you will have no further questions about writing speeches in nutrition and dietary science – our writers have already thought about everything for you!