You are on page 1of 9

September 2013 | Volume 13

The Speechwriter
EUROPEAN
Newsletter of the UK Speechwriters' Guild incorporating
SPEECHWRITER
NETWORK

MASTERCLASS by David Day


Welcome
Welcome to the thirteenth David Day has written several books on how to write sermons
edition of The Speechwriter including A Preaching Workbook. Many of his principles can be
newsletter. The purpose of applied to speeches.
this publication is to circulate
examples of excellent speeches to
members of the UK Speechwriters’ T he gospel, by
definition, is
‘good news’, and the
congregation: ‘Presume
they would rather
feed their children to
Guild. We do this by picking out
preacher’s message crocodiles than listen
openings, closings, one-liners should reflect this. to you.’
and quotations and other topical This may seem a very
extracts from newspapers and the obvious point,..until As part of the
internet to identify techniques, you encounter people process of focusing on
stimulate your imagination and who say that they feel the listener, it is helpful
worse having been to to sit in difference
provide models which you can
church than before places in the church
emulate. they went. and ask yourself the
question, ‘What will the person
This newsletter appears The ‘purpose’ of Christian truth sitting in this seat see and hear?’
quarterly and is available to is never just to make us better
anyone who is a Standard informed. Rhetoric is not a dirty word.
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ It does not equal manipulation
Take a recent sermon and analyse and is not an insult to God. Those
Guild or the European
its thought. How do you describe the who think that their sermons
Speechwriter Network. human predicament? (i.e. from what contain no rhetoric are either
must people be rescued?). How is the being disingenuous or are natural
problem transformed? (i.e. by what rhetoricians.
means is the rescue achieved?) What
form of hope is offered? (i.e. to what Jesus himself appears to have
desirable state does the rescue lead?) used dozens of different techniques,
Contribute and carefully crafted what he wanted
Preaching is an attempt to to say.
Every quarter we award
change things. To be more precise, to
the Demosthenes Pebble (£25 change people. So, preaching tries to Being clear is not as easy as it
Amazon token) for an outstanding do something. seems. Einstein...was asked whether
speech. Please send your the theory of relativity was too
speeches to: If we take the diversity of the difficult to explain to a school pupil,
congregation seriously, preaching and (he) replied that any scientist
looks slightly less sensible than trying who cannot explain what he is
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk
to fill empty bottles by throwing doing to a reasonably intelligent
a bucket of milk out of an upstairs 14-year-old is either incompetent
window. or a charlatan. To help avoid being
thought incompetent or charlatans,
William O’Malley advised we must focus on the words we use,
preachers, assume a complete and on the way in which we arrange
lack of interest on the part of the them.

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS are expressed, it is also the means by


which they are generated.”
Mad Men were developing Edward
Bernays’ advertising techniques,
Alfred Hitchcock was honing his
by Alan Barker This is one of his major themes. rhetorical skills – both verbal and
Another is that rhetorical meaning visual – to unprecedented levels of
is generated socially. Too much coercive mastery.
Rhetoric: A Very Short discussion of rhetoric stalls at geeky
Introduction chat about figures of speech. Toye Toye uses Hitchcock’s 1935
by Richard Toye deepens the conversation. Rhetoric English 39 Steps, in contrast, to
Oxford, 2013, £7.99 isn’t solely about style; its reception demonstrate rhetoric’s playful
depends on the norms of the society ambiguity. Richard Hannay’s
in which it’s delivered. improvised hustings speech – “I’ve
known what it is to feel lonely and
We’re invited to analyse St Francis’ helpless” – gains layers of meaning
sermon to the birds. Did he really from his situation: impersonating
think that he could talk to the birds? a parliamentary candidate when,
Did the people who circulated the in fact, he’s on the run from sinister
sermon think that he could? Or were agents of a foreign power and
they trying to convince the audience playing for time. Rhetorical analysis
that he could? And if so, why? How identifies “the social meanings of
do we know that what we’re reading particular statements or symbols
even remotely resembles what he in given contexts.” High-flown and
said? These questions both enrich complicated? Well, Hitch’s audience
our understanding of the text, has no trouble doing it.
and demonstrate the impossibility
of deriving a final, authoritative Toye favours political rhetoric
meaning. over others – unsurprisingly, given
his position as Professor of Modern
Rhetoric both reveals and History at Exeter University. He shows
conceals; and it’s this epistemological that rhetoric, of whatever kind, is
slipperiness that Plato found so never politically neutral; rhetorical
offensive. Aristotle, in response, analysis therefore provides insights

A t the heart of Richard Toye’s sought to codify rhetoric into a set of into how a society generates its
excellent new book is “the rules, instigating a project pursued governing ideas, and “the way it talks
problem of meaning and intention.” with varying levels of enthusiasm about the way those things ought to
Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. How ever since. Toye outlines the story be talked about.”
can speakers be confident that the in a superb potted history. He’s
audience will be persuaded? (Think particularly good on the great 20th Rhetoric matters. To explicate this
of Blair at the Women’s Institute figures, who redefined the terms of shaggy beast in 35,000 words is no
conference in 2000.) Can we decide the debate: Richards, Ong, Austin, small challenge, and Toye succeeds
what, exactly, a speaker means? “This Burke. with a consistently light touch. (I’d
is what seems to fascinate us,” he like a few more pointers to some
writes, “although pinning it down is By the 1950s, some intellectuals of the scholars he quotes.) He even
infuriatingly difficult.” on the Aristotelian wing became provides a ‘basic toolkit’ of rhetorical
convinced that “science would techniques. He wants to empower
Difficult, partly, because we can’t eventually be able to foretell us; but he also warns us about the
argue without using rhetoric. When with precision how human minds limits of such empowerment. Above
Kennedy famously said: “Ask not would be persuaded.” Such an all, he says, understanding rhetoric
what your country can do for you, ask approach “now looks,” writes Toye, “helps people to assess the validity of
what you can do for your country”, he “too mechanistic and not a little arguments and to avoid being misled
wasn’t just employing antimetabole frightening.” by plausible but flawed appeals. It
for fun; the repetition of words in can also provide tools that will help
reverse order actually formulates the Too mechanistic because counter them.”
idea. rhetoric’s effects are “inherently
unpredictable”; frightening because, Spot on.
“Rhetoric,” says Toye, “is not on some level, rhetoric does seem to
merely the means by which ideas operate mechanistically. While the

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

The Wit and Wisdom of to “calibrate” his audience, shifting


register as the kairos demands. It
Boris Johnson gives him extraordinary command
Edited by Harry Mount of the hybrid qualities of English,
Bloomsbury, 2013, £9.99 playing off Latinate against Anglo-
Saxon just as he plays off class
O n my beside table, I currently
have a copy of Mark Forsyth’s
The Etymologicon. It’s one of a fast-
against class. And it has given
him the opportunity to rehearse
to perfection an immediately
proliferating breed of book: designed recognisable role, part Wodehouse,
to look more like books than books, part Bunter, that never fails him in
with extra thick pages, big type and “that crucial Johnsonian mission
textured covers. Sort of hyper-real – to get him off the hook.” His
books. Not-quite books. Waterstone’s practised incompetence (“it’s called
counter yesterday was awash with imbecilio,” confides Boris) allows
them. him, very effectively, to hide what
Jonathan Coe recently called “his
Boris Johnson reminds me of
doggedly neo-liberal and pro-City
this kind of book. He’s a not-quite
agenda”. Johnson knows that he has
politician. He plays a ‘bumbling fool’ call him a genius.” (What is it, then, I
nothing to fear from the public’s
(Harry Mount’s words), because he wonder?)
laughter, because the public’s
knows that the only kind of politician
ridicule for politicians has become
that the public will now believe is a Ian Hislop’s comment on Boris is
undiscriminating.
parody of a politician. more ambiguous. When people ask
Hislop, “Is Boris a very clever man
Mount quotes Stuart Reid:
For some, the image is a disguise. pretending to be an idiot?’, Hislop
“people of all social classes and most
Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP, simply replies: ‘No.’
political persuasions will vote for
believes that “there’s a smooth
him, precisely because he reduces
machine under the buffoonery. It’s Johnson’s famously classical
everything to a joke.” Wit and
not an exaggeration,” he claims, “to education, says Mount, allows him
wisdom, then, for our time.

RHETORBORES

for a variety membership of the EU, and therefore


of reasons, participation in the Single Market,
including has played a role in strengthening
actions taken in London’s position as a financial
other countries, centre. That makes it an asset for the
notably the US whole of Europe.
in respect of
the Eurodollar Today, many global financial
market and businesses have their European,
more recently EMEA or global headquarters in
Sarbanes Oxley. London. These include businesses
It is a centre based in other Member States.
for the UK, for In many cases, the alternative to
Europe and London is not Paris or Frankfurt
indeed for the or Madrid, but rather New York,

T he European financial services


market is of crucial importance
to the City of London, and to the
whole world.

London was a global financial


Singapore or Hong Kong.

Speech by Mark Boleat, City


UK more generally. London is the centre before the development of of London Policy and Resources
world’s leading international financial the European Single Market, but Committee, Berlin 5 June 2013
centre. It has attained this position there is no doubt that the UK’s

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

FAREWELL TO A GREAT COMMUNICATOR a good leader creates followers,


Brian Jenner looks at some of the rhetorical skills of the Chief Rabbi but a great leader creates leaders

He tells jokes:

If you have total power like the


President of my Schul who had this
rule who said. All those in favour
say ‘Aye’: all those against, say ‘I
resign’.

He praises his audiences. He


thanks them profusely before
beginning a speech.

Friends, it reminds me, if I


can just you this story, lovely
story about Yossi, an Israeli, who
opened a falafel bar in Golders
Green. Golders Green is the English
Brooklyn. And Yossi’s falafel bar was
one day visited by the tax inspector
who was reading through his books
and he was saying, Mr. Yossi, this

L ord Sacks retired as Chief


Rabbi last month. During his
tenure he has built a formidable
feel bound to one another by a
bond of collective responsibility.
Individualism prevails. Trust
falafel of yours, this is a kind of
Jewish takeaway; am I right?

reputation as a religious leader and declines. Social capital wanes. When And Yossi, with a big smile, says,
as a public intellectual. Despite being that happens, you will be defeated. yes. The tax inspector says, Mr. Yossi,
an academic philosopher by training, I understand where you’ve written
whenever he speaks you understand You have to admire the elegant down as expenses rent, electricity,
what he’s saying. short sentences, combining three materials; but why have you written
part lists and contrasts. With down under business expenses
Why do his speeches work so Jonathan Sacks, you can go through two trips to Miami and three trips
well? his text and it’s quite hard to knock to Tel Aviv? And Yossi, with a big
out words and keep the same smile, said, that’s easy; we deliver!
The Chief Rabbi’s texts have a meaning. Other religious leaders (Laughter.)
rhythm. tend to be more prolix.
Friends, AIPAC, you deliver.
Societies where self-interest Jonathan Sacks is a prolific writer You deliver—(applause)—a strong
trumps the common good of books for mass audiences. If you Israel and a strong Jewish people.
eventually disintegrate…This was become familiar with his books, May God bless you and may you
said first and most powerfully by you’ll identify familiar passages in his continue to bless the people in the
Moses long ago. The theme of speeches. His public words draw on state of Israel.
his great speeches in the book the intellectual storehouse he has
of Deuteronomy is that it is not created. His farewell speeches used some
hardship that is the real trial, but elegant rhetorical techniques.
affluence. Affluence makes you That means he repeats himself
complacent. You no longer have often, but that’s not really a problem. Anglo-Jewry is just less stuffy
the moral and mental energy to It suggests that if you want to acquire than it used to be. There’s less “oy,”
make the sacrifices necessary gravitas as a speaker, you need to more joy, and that’s how it ought
for the defence of freedom. write books and speak. That helps to to be.
Inequalities grow. The rich become build your reputation and clarify your
self-indulgent. The poor feel ideas. Studying the Chief Rabbi’s
excluded. There are social divisions, lectures on YouTube, he has a clear
resentments, injustices. Society Sacks had the ability to coin step by step structure. He will do two
no longer coheres. People do not memorable phrases: minutes of serious speaking, and

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

then add a minute of humour - but took up his post with a mission. He’s orthodoxy, the orthodoxy that
humour that is appropriate to the had 22 years to refine his message. segregates itself from the world and
subject matter. Like Shakespeare, he He repeated it very clearly in one of from its fellow Jews.
sees the need for comic diversion to his retirement speeches.
season serious matters. So the two fastest growing
Today two phenomena elements in the Jewish world are
He’s also not afraid to draw on dominate the Jewish world. The first those who embrace the world and
unusual sources. He can quote is continuing assimilation and out- reject Judaism, and those who
Freddie Mercury to an audience of marriage. embrace Judaism and reject the
academic theologians in Rome: ‘I world.
want it all and I want it now’. Throughout the Diaspora, on
average one young Jew in two It’s obvious from his speeches
In his longer lectures, especially is deciding not to have a Jewish that Jonathan Sacks is a funny guy,
when speaking to American marriage, create a Jewish home and who manages to be worldly and
audiences, he uses some of the build the Jewish future. A chain of pious at the same time.
techniques you might expect of continuity that has lasted for 100
evangelical preachers. He flails generations will end with them, and It’s sad to be losing the most
his arms, whispers and roars and that is a tragedy. eloquent spiritual figure in
generates an intensity of experience British public life. His legacy to
for his listeners. The second, in the opposite speechwriters is to remind them of
direction, is the growth of what the power of humour, chiasmus and
Looking at a documentary from in Israel is called the Edah Haredit ideas. He’s one for future politicians
1991, you can see that Lord Sacks or what some people call ultra- and business leaders to emulate.

HAVE YOU GOT A HOOK?

C hris West from Verbal Identity


spoke at a conference I
attended earlier this year and opened
much to make Americans happy
as perhaps anyone over the last 20
years, a man who is a great personal
his presentation by saying he’d been hero of mine: someone by the name
discussing what to say with one of of Howard Moskowitz, who is most
his former colleagues. He told us how famous for reinventing spaghetti
the colleague had given him a great sauce.
NLP tip on presenting. He then didn’t
tell us what the tip was. Howard’s about this high, and
he’s round, and he’s in his 60s,
Only later did the ingenuity of and he has big huge glasses and
the aside come across because a thinning grey hair, and he has a
member of the audience asked kind of wonderful exuberance and
him during questions about the vitality, and he has a parrot, and
you can spot within seconds what
tip. And Chris said, always leave an he loves the opera, and he’s a great
the song is, and what the hook is
unanswered question, it keeps the aficionado of medieval history.
doing. It’s so simple and contrived,
attention.
sometimes it’s easy forget that a
This laconic opening sets up one
speechwriter has to do the same
A great hook arouses your of the most popular TED talks of all
thing in every speech.
curiosity and makes you want to time.
listen carefully. I was reminded
Here’s a clever way of arousing
of hooks recently when I started Steve Jobs needed eleven words
curiosity. In his TED talk, ‘Spaghetti
listening to some 80’s pop music. to get us to sit up for his Stanford
Sauce’, Malcolm Gladwell describes a
Replaying Fine Young Cannibals - University commencement address.
character in hyperbolic terms.
Johnny Come Home, or Tears for Fears,
Everybody Wants to Rule the World, or Today I want to tell you three
I would (like to) talk about
Eurythmics, There Must Be An Angel, stories from my life.
someone who I think has done as

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Another way to steer the “Well, what’s the struggle?” And said, “But the thing I liked about
audience is to replay a conversation. she said, “Well, I saw you speak, and your talk is you’re a storyteller.
Brené Brown did this in her TED talk I’m going to call you a researcher, So I think what I’ll do is just call
on shame. I think, but I’m afraid if I call you you a storyteller.” And of course,
a researcher, no one will come, the academic, insecure part of me
..a couple years ago, an event because they’ll think you’re boring was like, “You’re going to call me a
planner called me because I was and irrelevant.” what?” And she said, “I’m going to
going to do a speaking event. And call you a storyteller.” And I was like,
she called, and she said, “I’m really (Laughter) “Why not magic pixie?”
struggling with how to write about
you on the little flier.” And I thought, And I was like, “Okay.” And she (Laughter)

MORE DIFFICULT CLIENTS


by William Cohen

T he skill of being a freelance


speechwriter is based not only
on being a good speechwriter, but
I dampened the client’s
expectations. He asked to see
examples of previous work. The
client to turnaround and be difficult,
but not always.

making sure you get paid. art of being a good freelance is to I work in a systematic way. His
learn what works. Sending examples brother dressed as a cowboy at
My heart sank one day when I got doesn’t work. The client doesn’t university. So found a joke from Fred
an unsigned email from ‘International know how to value what he’s got. He Metcalf’s Book of Jokes - ‘even his
Capital Trading’ (not the real name). turns up his nose and says he wants slippers had spurs on them’. One of
something funnier. his university tutors took a shine to
I am seeking assistance with a him. I found a nice line from Withnail
best man speech for a ‘high society’ This is to misunderstand the & I, ‘He was the kind of professor
wedding of around 400 people in speechwriting process. It’s not about who thinks the carrot infinitely more
June. setting a dish before the client for fascinating than the geranium.’
him to taste. The client has to be in
I would like to speak to the kitchen doing the cooking with In the back of my mind was the
somebody to explore the various you. client’s insistence that he wanted a
style of speechwriters to enable me funny speech.
to identify the right fit for the task There were more red flags. He
at hand. wanted 10 minutes rather than 7 There are elements of therapy in
minutes. To sustain the quality over speechwriting. When X said that his
Whilst being a best man’s speech that extra three minutes is really father was an arsehole in business,
I need it to be well written, refined, hard. and his brother was turning into an
witty but sophisticated. arsehole in business, there was a
Still, it’s not easy to turn down tinkle at the back of my mind. Could
To the inexperienced, this may business if you’re going on holiday X also be an arsehole in business? I
look like a perfectly reasonable and an extra £500 would be very sent him my terms and conditions
request, but there are a few clues useful pocket money. just in case.
here that the client has had a vision
of himself as Peter Ustinov. With a deep sigh, I agreed to work It’s at this point that I showed
with Mr International Capital Trading. weakness. I’d done the work, and I
To write a wedding speech is a wanted to go on holiday. He wanted
straightforward technical exercise. I interviewed him. He did to haggle about how much he would
Any speechwriter will do. The line eventually tell me his name and pay up front, so I let him pay less
that rings alarm bells is ‘I’ll need it reluctantly told me the names of than the full figure.
to be well written, refined, witty but other members of his family. The
sophisticated’. A wedding speech for process of building an intimate 24 hours later an email came back
a large audience needs to be simple picture of the best man and groom saying he wasn’t happy. None of it
and a little crude. usually means it’s very difficult for the was any good.

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Speechwriting for weddings buddies, throwing the odd wink which reveals the client’s sensitive
depends on a good selection of about, and stood there shoulders avoidance of smutty language.
one-liners. You’re really in trouble if back, proud as can be, waiting for What’s wrong with Mr International
the client doesn’t understand what a his award. The MD explained that K Capital Trading’s words on the
one-liner is. was a new and exciting addition to page? It’s all opinion, after all. He
the company and as such they had thought my jokes about prenuptial
I came back from holiday and introduced a new award category agreements were insulting to his
submitted my invoice for the full just for him. family.
amount. He refused to pay the
balance. I asked him to send me the K now positively beaming walks It’s easy to forget the lesson
script of the speech he delivered. forward to accept his prize. The MD every once in a while. If you don’t
Here’s an extract: shook his hand and presents K not know the client, you have to get your
with a trophy or a medal but a roll money up front. Otherwise, you risk
By the end of his first year my of toilet paper. The room erupts not getting paid or other delightful
brother had given strategic advice with K standing rather sheepishly practices, like paying the invoice
to most of Y’s leading public and and confused on stage while the three months after it’s been issued.
private firms having known literally MD continued “in all our collective Once they’ve paid, they’re usually
nothing about any of them or the years we have never heard anybody, very well-mannered, and if they’re
markets in which they operated. He for an entire year, talk such a load disappointed, eager to work with you
impressed so much that at the “End of nonsense but also never close so to get it right.
of Year” award ceremonies K was many deals.”
called out above all else. He strutted
down to the stage high-fiving his I like the ‘such a load of nonsense’,

THE TURN-ON
by Hal Gordon

I n the mid-1920s,
famed actor
John Barrymore took an evening
We don’t get much help, either.
The hornbooks of our profession
emphasize the importance of a
in church during a dull sermon. What
kind of a firecracker? It can be an
unexpected joke, an arresting fact or
off to watch his sister Ethel triumph strong opening and a strong ending, statistic or a rhetorical question. But
in Somerset Maugham’s comedy, but they tend to skim lightly over it should be startling enough to draw
The Constant Wife. When he slipped the question of how to handle the a reaction from the crowd and shake
backstage afterwards to offer middle portion which, after all, the somnolent awake.
congratulations, he noted (perhaps comprises the bulk of the speech.
with a touch of sibling envy) that At least one PR expert has
no one had coughed during her Unless your speech is a comic estimated that about 60 percent
performance. How, pray, had she monologue, or you’re dealing with of the audience of after-dinner
managed that? some life-or-death issue that will speeches are having sexual fantasies.
have listeners hanging on every Doubtless this percentage holds
“I don’t let them cough,” the word, most if not all of your speaker’s true on other occasions as well. It’s
actress replied majestically. “I just audience are going to let their not easy to compete with anybody’s
turn on something inside myself and minds wander during the middle erotic daydreams, but with a bit of
they don’t dare cough.” of the speech. If you can’t hold ingenuity and clever writing it can be
their attention every minute on the done.
Most public speakers, even the strength of the subject matter alone,
most charismatic, do not come you must at least persuade them to Hal Gordon has written for the
equipped with built-in cough stay tuned in for fear that they might White House, Gen. Colin Powell and
suppressors. They depend on their miss something stimulating—or numerous corporate executives. He is
speechwriters to help them keep amusing. currently a freelance speechwriter in
the audience interested, and that is Houston, Texas.
where many of us find our creative This trick, fortunately, is not hard
powers really put to the test. to do. It’s like setting off a firecracker Website: www.ringingwords.com

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

SAY IT AIN’T SO - WERE CHURCHILL’S SPEECHES IGNORED AT THE TIME?

S o Professor Richard Toye has


discovered that actually,
Winston Churchill’s wartime
I read a Washington Post article by
MLK speechwriter Clarence Jones,
in which Jones says King started
thing happens—at least, not at the
moment Jones says it happens, or
anywhere near it. King finishes his
speeches went over like lead out reading Jones’ text, but then bit about the promissory note and
balloons. ‘The author says he was immediately after finishing the clearly sticks with his script until
surprised by his findings, but I for famous analogy Jones had written at least another five minutes, and
one don’t buy it,’ says speechwriter about the promissory note, King’s doesn’t actually begin to “tell ‘em
correspondent Lorne Christensen. ‘It’s favorite gospel singer Mahalia about the dream” until much later.
hard to imagine someone tackling a Jackson ‘called to him from nearby:
book like this hoping they can write Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin, tell I’m not calling Jones a liar or even
hundreds of pages confirming what ‘em about the dream!’ an exaggerator. I’m just calling him a
most people already think about witness to a speech. The unreliability
Churchill’s speeches.’ And with that, according to Jones, of speech audiences to remember
‘Martin clutched the speaker’s lectern what exactly happened and how
The thing is, one doesn’t have to and seemed to reset. I watched him they and others felt at the time—
dig hard to find contradictory reports push the text of his prepared remarks that unreliability is tied directly
of speeches. Try reading Republican to one side. I knew this performance to the particular usefulness of the
and Democratic papers’ accounts had just been giving over to the spirit speech—a spontaneous, essentially
of what was said at, and who won, of the moment. I leaned over and ephemeral thing, much like the
the first Lincoln-Douglas debate at said to the person next to me, ‘These emotions that it has the unique
Ottawa, Illinois. people out there today don’t know it ability to provoke.
yet, but they’re about ready to go to
When it comes to speeches, church.’’ David Murray is the editor of Vital
even speechwriters are unreliable Speeches of the Day and he will be
narrators. In researching Martin A nice story, but if you watch speaking at the European Speechwriter
Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the tape of King’s address, no such Network conference on Friday 20
September in Brussels.

THE TEN RULES OF EFFECTIVE LANGUAGE by Frank Luntz

1) SIMPLICITY: Use small words: The 5) NOVELTY: Offer something new. 9) ASK A QUESTION: Making
more simply and plainly an idea is a statement in the form of a
presented, the more understandable 6) SOUND AND TEXTURE matter. rhetorical question makes the
it is… A string of words that have the reaction personal–and personalised
same first letter, the same sound, or communication is the best
2) BREVITY: Use short sentences. the same syllabic cadence is more communication.
memorable than a random collection
3) CREDIBILITY is as important as of sounds. 10) Provide context and explain
philosophy. The words you use relevance. You have to give people
become you – and you become the 7) SPEAK ASPIRATIONALLY: the ‘why’ of the message before you
words you use. Companies often Messages need to say what people tell them the ‘therefore’ and the ‘so
commit the same mistake. They want to hear. It sells the you that’.
launch ‘new and improved’ items you want to be…smarter, sexier,
every day to get their products whatever….. Frank Luntz is an American political
noticed. consultant. These rules are taken from
8) VISUALISE: Paint a vivid picture. his book Words that Work. It’s Not
4) CONSISTENCY Matters. What You Say, It’s What People Hear.

europa|studio
TM

The Speechwriter is edited by Brian Jenner Design by

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter September 2013 | Volume 13 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

INTERVIEW WITH FRED METCALF


What was the first speech laughed when I said I was going
you ever wrote? to be a comedian, they’re not
laughing now – was one of the
I met David Frost on a TV best.
show where I was working as a
writer and he said he needed Do you enjoy performing
some jokes for a corporate your own material?
speaking engagement. It was for
pharmacists and he needed some Not particularly. I’m tense for
jokes on that topic. I managed far too long. I’ve always got to get
to find some. Ever since then I’ve the next feedline out, and then
become used to being a specialist there’s the punchline, and the
for one day only. next feedline, while keeping the
rhythm of the words.
What did you study at and fed David the third. He said, “I like
university? your style, Fred” and we began work What’s your favourite reference
together on a long-term basis. My book?
I haven’t been there yet. But one writing skills had nothing to do with
more GCSE and I’ll be packing my it, it was all about goal poaching. Rodale’s Word Finder – published
bags. in 1947. It’s a great big 1300 page
Which comedian/politician do brick of a book, listing adverbs which
When did you start collecting you admire the most? go with verbs (forty ways of laughing,
jokes and quotations? for instance) and adjectives that go
Barry Humphries is the greatest with nouns (two hundred ways of
The day before David Frost’s standup comic of his generation. He’s describing a book). How Mr Rodale
speech for pharmacists. When I planning his farewell tour for Dame and his staff produced this in 1947
began my career there were about Edna and Sir Les Patterson in the before computers, can scarcely be
two anthologies of jokes available autumn. Don’t miss it. imagined. But it’s the book I would
in print. I was working on a TV want to rescue if the house caught
programme and I used most of the Daniel Hannan made a brilliant on fire.
good ones in the first week, then speech in the European Parliament
I bought the companion volume, about Gordon Brown, which was Do you miss England living in
which I used up in the second week. an instant YouTube hit. He’s also France?
After that, I realised I had to learn to made speeches in Spanish. He’s an
write my own. Atlanticist who loves Europe, but Some nights in England, you
doesn’t want to be ruled by it. He can have an M&S biryani curry with
What font/layout do you use for gets my vote. a crisp new glossy magazine from
your scripts? WH Smith. Unfortunately this is not
What’s your favourite speech in a pleasure available in the French
a film? countryside. You’re reduced to
Toontime 72 point nibbling what’s left of that morning’s
– doesn’t everyone? The local doctor’s graduation
speech in Carousel about courage
baguette rustique, while checking
out the livestock prices in the local
How did you start writing full- and keeping your faith. I’m always paper.
time for David Frost? reduced to tears when Billy Bigelow
comes down from heaven and says Fred Metcalf is the author of
I was in Manchester working on to his daughter, Louise, ‘Believe him, the Biteback Book of Humorous
a show for John Birt – the future DG darling. Believe’. Political Quotations and many other
of the BBC. Frostie moved down to anthologies of quotations. He’ll be
London and we had a football match What did you think of Bob speaking at the European Speechwriter
between the Frost Report and a team Monkhouse’s style of telling jokes? Network conference in Brussels on 20
from an arts show called Aquarius. September.
We won 3-2 and I scored two goals I never met him, but he did
recommend me. His joke: They

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK