Speeches with Impact
Speeches with Impact is a two-day training course for people with writing experience who want to learn how to write a compelling speech for someone else that could be your minister or secretary of state, your mayor or alderman, your governor or manager.
Because writing speeches is an art, I prefer to work with small groups. This way everyone gets a lot of attention and there is plenty of time for interaction. I alternate short pieces of theory with topical examples and many exercises. We watch videos, discuss what works and what can be improved, and learn from each other: a very intensive way of working that makes it possible to learn a lot in a short time. Experience shows that the participants, due to the topical content of the course and the interactive method, quickly pick up the required skills.
1. How do you make sure your speech fits the audience?
Who will be your audience? What do they expect? Are they friendly or hostile? What do you want to tell them? What impression do you want to make? What do you want the audience to ‘take away’ from your speech?
These are some of the questions that a speechwriter always has to answer before he/she can start writing. Because the answers tell you which message to send and how to send it: which arguments and examples will be most convincing, which story will be most fascinating, which words will be the most apt.
2. How do you make sure your speech fits the speaker?
The challenge for a speechwriter is to write a text that suits the speaker, whoever it is. So you need to have a sense of your speaker’s language, you need to know what drives and inspires him or her, but also what your speaker reads and listens to. The more you know, the more you understand your speaker, the more authentic the speech you will write.
3. How do you formulate a clear message?
The basis of a clear speech is a clear message. A message that is short and concise, but also fascinating and stimulating. You need to think carefully in advance who you want to convince and why, or: what should your audience remember from the speech? The answer to the question ‘what’s in it for me’ – from the perspective of the listener – is usually a good guide.
4. What is clear language?
Long sentences and difficult words make a speech difficult to follow. Passive tenses and long words create a distance between writer and reader. In order to make a text clear and accessible, sentence construction needs to be short and words need to be simple. In short; to write a speech, use colloquial language instead of formal prose.
5. How do you make a speech concrete instead of abstract?
A picture paints a thousand words, is a familiar phrase. This applies not only to visual images, but also to stories, anecdotes and examples. They make the abstract comprehensible and accessible. Whether you want to inform or persuade: concrete examples help. Examples need to be ones that the listener can imagine and identify from their own experience.
6. How do you give a speech a clear structure?
A clear speech also has a clear structure: what belongs together is put together. In other words, you have to provide an argument in your speech. That’s important because your listeners can’t go backwards when listening to your script; You have to get their attention with the opening notes and not let go until the final chord.
7. How do you make a speech attractive to listen to?
In addition to a clear message and an obvious structure, it is also important to make a speech pleasant to listen to. To do that you use figures of speech like similes and metaphors; there are hundreds to choose from…
8. How do you build up a convincing argument?
How do you find the right arguments? How do you build a persuasive case? What are fallacies and how can you recognize them?
9. What is framing and how do you use it?
Dutch professor Hans De Bruijn states that framing is the language through which we perceive reality. Framing is the art of defining perceptions through appropriate words. How do you do that? How do you create a frame? How do you use frames and how do you reframe the frames of your opponents?