Welcome to this website devoted to the art of speeches in Europe today. Logos, pathos, ethos brings you some of the best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical tips. As its name suggests, this multilingual website is inspired by the long-standing European tradition of the art of speeches stretching back over twenty-five centuries. It seeks to shine a spotlight on speeches that matter on the European stage today.

Logos Pathos Ethos, December 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

Depth and gravity marked the speeches delivered this past month as Europe commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the end of the first world war, the eightieth anniversary of the Kristallnacht, or looked ahead to global challenges, with the Katowice COP 24 just starting, 

These speeches typically call for good lines, as you can see below in our monthly selection of what good rhetoric is. 

On a lighter tone but as relevant, the latest book in the Bibliography section provides useful insights on what audiences can get – or not – from the use of numbers and statistics in speeches. 

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

I want to say this with all the force I have in me today, 

because the coming night we will be thinking about the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht in Germany. 

And this is for me the ultimate symbol that if you just put enough effort into it, as Hitler and Goebbels did, in a couple of years' time, even in a sophisticated society, you can manipulate people's anxieties and fear and instrumentalize it to such a degree that you can dehumanise part of your population, especially if you can say that they are different. This is what happened in Germany between 1933 and 1938.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, 25th anniversary of the OSCE High Commissioner on national minorities, 9 November 2018

 

The power of the ‘Why’ question

Eighty years since the pogrom night – why, ladies and gentlemen, am I talking to you about this today?

... and the speech comes full circle

This is why we commemorate today (…). That is the message and the essence of our acts of commemoration today.

Read the full speech here: Angela Merkel, Commemorative event marking the 80th anniversary of the Reichspogromnacht, 9 November 2018

 

The power of the ‘Why’ question … and who raises this question

(English below)

Il y a 10 ans, en 2008, mourrait à l’âge de 110 ans le dernier combattant français connu de la Grande Guerre, M. Lazare Ponticelli. Chaque 11 novembre, M. Ponticelli, immigré italien, honorait la promesse faite à ses camarades tombés trop jeunes au combat. Il se rendait au monument aux morts pour penser à eux.

A la toute fin de sa vie, il avait finalement accepté de témoigner dans les écoles. Et son témoignage commençait ainsi - et je cite: « D’abord, je n’ai jamais su pourquoi on se battait… ».

Lire le discours intégral d'António Guterres, Ouverture du forum de Paris sur la paix, 11 novembre 2018

 

Regarder et écouter le discours d'António Guterres, Ouverture du forum de Paris sur la paix, 11 novembre 2018

(In English)

Ten years ago, in 2008, Mr. Lazare Ponticelli, the last known French veteran of the Great War, died at the age of 110. Every year on 11 November, Mr. Ponticelli, an Italian immigrant, honoured the promise he had made to his comrades who had died too young on the battlefield. He used to visit his local war memorial to remember them. Right at the end of his life, he had finally agreed to talk to schoolchildren about his experience. He always began with these words: “First of all, I never knew why we were fighting …” 

Read the full speech here: António Guterres, Address to the Paris peace forum, 11 November 2018

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Factfulness

Factfulness - Logos Pathos Ethos
Hans Rosling

Speakers often ask for numbers and statistic in speeches to support their message, but is quantifiable data the best idea in a speech? In a speech, ie not to be read with the eyes, on a screen or on paper, with the possibility to pause, analyze, and reflect, but heard by the ear, in a flow of words and sentences, with hardly any time or tool to p[...]
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Quotation of the day

« There is nothing to lose from acting; there is everything to gain. -- Antonio Guterres, Remarks on climate change, 10 September 2018... »
Antonio Guterres
Posted by Isabelle
See the quotation

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Logos Pathos Ethos, November 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

Just back from the Professional Speechwriters Association ‘s 2018 Word Conference: the opening keynote speech was a call for going high when they go low (Philip Collins wrote this book I recommended last year) and the closing keynote session focused on ‘Enough said : What’s gone wrong with the language of politics’, with New York Times CEO, Mark Thompson interviewed on his book. 

I had already recommended the first one in the bibliography. I’ve read the second one and recommend it to anyone who wonders what has happened – when and how – and what to do. With these two highlights of the conference and everything in between, as well as the conversations during the breaks, it’s definitely a call to do our best, especially in times of important elections on the other side of the Atlantic this week, and on our side next spring.

Next to an updated bibliography, you'll find the monthly selection of what good rhetoric is below.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

A rhetorical treasure from the Professional Speechwriters Association’s 2018 World Conference

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product (…) counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. 

Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks at the University of Kansas, 18 March 1968

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Logos Pathos Ethos, October 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

One speech stands out this month: it mobilises a whole range of rhetorical forces and ammunition to serve a message that concerns all of us. This speech is the United Nations Secretary General’s call for action on climate change, delivered on 10 September 2018. 

If you read only one speech this month, read this one! Which is why, exceptionally, there is only one speech in this newsletter. 

One speech, but myriad rhetorical devices. I’ve identified some of them below, and under "Read more".

Very important as well: the Professional Speechwriters Association’s 2018 World Conference starts in just three weeks in Washington, DC. I will be there. Let me know if you will.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

How to address the audience

Dear friends of planet Earth,

 

Start with a bang

I have asked you here to sound the alarm.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment.

We face a direct existential threat.

Read the full speech here : Antonio Guterres, Remarks on climate change, 10 September 2018

Watch the full speech here 

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Logos Pathos Ethos, September 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

Welcome back!

Here’s your selection of the best quotes and speeches delivered over the summer. 

Stories emerge as a leading theme.

Why do we tell stories?

Why is it important to tell them? 

Why do they work so powerfully in speeches?

Of course, I mean well-chosen and well-told stories. The Bibliography section on this website has several references that explain what a story is (in contrast to anecdotes), how to set the scene and build the character so that the audience will be eager to listen to what happens next and will remember your message. 

You’ll find these and more examples of what good rhetoric is below.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Why do we tell stories ?

Many (people) have already forgotten.

Little by little, perspectives have changed.

Stories have been misremembered.

The danger of memories is that they do not die suddenly –

they fade, and they are distorted.

It's in all of our interests to constantly refresh them.

Read the full speech here: Cecilia Malmström, Transatlantic trade in turbulent times, Brussels, 19 July 2018

 

I mention this story for three reasons. First, I want to pay tribute to Mr Brookins and all other American soldiers for their courage and bravery (…). Secondly, because many (…) who were there that day in December 1944 are no longer around to tell the story themselves. (…)The third reason is that this story shows the unbreakable bond that makes the transatlantic partnership what it is. This bond explains a lot about how we have been able to come so far together.

Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, 'Transatlantic relations at a crossroads', Washington, 25 July 2018

 

Stories are memorable

(English below)

Solche Schilderungen lassen mich nicht los.

Die ganze Rede auf Deutsch: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Gespräch mit Bürgern aus der Nachbarschaft, 22. August 2018

 

I can’t forget these stories.

Read the full speech: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Turkish-German coffee afternoon, 22 August 2018, translated into Englishand in Turkish, given the subject and the audience.

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Logos Pathos Ethos, July 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

A wind of bracing openings, unexpected quotes, and refreshing tropes has been blowing on this past month’s speeches. 

They are more than welcome; they are necessary to renew the debate on the future of Europe, ahead of the European elections next year.

You’ll find these and more examples of what good rhetoric is on: www.logospathosethos.eu

Have a relaxing and inspiring summer. This newsletter will be back for the September issue.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Make it easy to grasp

It means that by the time I’ve finished this short speech, somewhere in the world another five women will have lost their lives through complications in pregnancy or childbirth. And twenty more will suffer lifelong pain or disability.

Contrast

It’s not “just a woman’s problem” – it’s an insult to all humanity.

Rhetorical question

As the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation estimated, every dollar spent can save up to six dollars which can then be used for housing, sanitation and other services. So how can we afford not to?

When the speech comes full circle

It’s essential for helping us to achieve our global goals of healthy, happy and prosperous societies and economies. This is why I was determined to make women and girls the focus of this year’s European Development Days.

And why I am very happy to join you here today. Thank you very much.

Read the full speech here: Neven Mimica, No health without rights – women and girls decide, 5 June 2018

 

Unexpected simile

Beyen wrote: ‘Europe is like a giraffe: an animal difficult to define but easy to recognise.’ And fifty years on, that’s still a good description.

Tricolons, repetitions, quotes, crescendo, varied rhythm and much more :

Read the full speech here: Mark Rutte, The future of the European Union, 13 June 2018

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