Dear speech-fans and -friends,
Happy New Year to you all, long-time subscribers and new readers.
The year 2020 has started well with a rich selection of great quotes and speeches delivered this past month. Whether on European politics or on global warming, to close the year 2019 or inaugurate a new mandate, speechwriters and speakers have combined unexpected questions, fresh lines, strong metaphors, powerful quotes, wise thoughts, and care for the audience to meet their objective: get their message across.
Hats off to the speakers and speechwriters who have made it to this monthly selection already during their first month in office!
You’ll find these best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical devices below and many more under Read more.
Whom do you quote?
Institutions matter. “They give legitimacy and ensure continuity,” as Jean Monnet rightly said. They matter because they expand our capacity to act. They are a reflection of what we stand for.
What to do with annual speeches?
(English translation below)
Erinnern Sie sich noch? Vor genau zwölf Monaten hatte ich einen Weihnachtswunsch an Sie: "Sprechen Sie auch mal mit Menschen, die anderer Meinung sind."
Do you remember what I said last year? Twelve months ago I told you my Christmas request.
I asked you to talk to people who do not agree with you.
Today I want to ask you how that went. What debates and discussions have had a particular impact on you this year?
Writers and storytellers, here's the quest
Today our problem lies—it seems—in the fact that we do not yet have ready narratives not only for the future, but even for a concrete now, for the ultra-rapid transformations of today’s world. We lack the language, we lack the points of view, the metaphors, the myths and new fables.
Pay attention to the first two words of the title: “how to”: they imply that there is a way, that you can learn. And indeed, the idea that we – women, but “they don’t have the monopoly of insecurity”, so actually everybody, really – can learn “how to be powerful in (our) speaking is at the heart of this book.
Viv Groskop invites u[...]
« You may say I'm a dreamer, but I am not the only one. -- John Lennon, quoted by -- Donald Tusk ahead, ahead of the European Council meetings, 22 June 2017 ... »Donald Tusk
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
A new European Commission and a new President of the European Council are starting their mandate. To succeed, they will need to deliver great speeches.
Whether a speaker or speechwriter, you will find inspiration in the best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical devices delivered this past month below and under 'Read more'.
You will learn ‘how to own the room’: the Bibliography section is updated with ‘How to own the room – women and the art of brilliant speaking’ by Viv Groskop and her podcast: How to own the room offers, on the same fun and lively tone, useful takeaways from interviews with a series of powerful female speakers.
You will also get a masterclass with Andrew Imbrie, speechwriter to former Secretary of State John Kerry. In this podcast, Andrew Imbrie shares most valuable lessons from his experience on how to build a relationship with the speaker, the ultimate objective of a speech, the most important question, how to address different audiences, etc., including specific guidance for European speechwriters and speakers.
With this, you’re equipped to start your work!
So, best wishes,
It’s the unity, stupid (*)
In my office of the President of the European Council, I keep a self-made poster with the inscription "It's the unity, stupid". I made it to always remember what is most important. And I will leave it there, just in case.
(*) For our readers not familiar with this reference to the 1992 Clinton’s campaign ‘The economy, Stupid’:
‘Our campaign needed to be more effective (…). We needed much better coordination among all the forces, with a single strategic center. James Carville took it on (…). Carville put a sign on the wall as a constant reminded of what the campaign was about. It had just three lines: Change vs. More of the same – The economy stupid – Don’t forget health care.’
Bill Clinton, My life, Arrow books, 2005, p. 425.
Whom do you quote?
There is one quote from the great Václav Havel – one of the heroes of 1989 – that stands out for me when I look ahead to the future. He said:
“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”
I choose this quote, because over the next five years, our Union will embark together on a transformation which will touch every part of our society and of our economy. And we will do it, because it is the right thing to do. Not because it will be easy.
As European leaders in office for the 2014-2019 period were ending their mandates and their successors were getting ready, speeches delivered this past October focused mainly on achievements and lessons learnt.
The President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, used the end of his term as “an opportunity to look beyond the cut and thrust of current events and to reflect on the past, trusting that the experiences we have had and the lessons we have learned, may be useful for others”.
You’ll find a selection of quotes from speeches delivered by the outgoing Presidents of the European Central Bank, European Council, and European Commission below, and under ‘Read more’.
I am just back from the 2019 Professional Speechwriters Association’s World Conference and I am amazed, once again, and year after year, by how much we learn, how deep we connect, how motivated we come back from this unique gathering.
What better way to keep up this spirit than read the brand new second edition of ‘The political speechwriter’s companion’ by Robert Lehrman and Eric Schnure? I review and recommend the book in the Bibliography section.
Looking forward to seeing many of the Brussels-based readers of this newsletter at Eric Schnure’s booktalk this week.
Combined with simple and elegant structure (three qualities), building a bridge toward the audience, quotes, and other rhetorical devices
In a few weeks, I will come to the end of my term as President of the European Central Bank. Such occasions provide an opportunity to look beyond the cut and thrust of current events and to reflect on the past, trusting that the experiences we have had and the lessons we have learned, may be useful for others (…).
Today, I would like to focus on three qualities that often appear to inform what we think of as good decision-making: knowledge, courage and humility.
here as well combined with simple and elegant structure (three reasons for gratitude), building a bridge toward the audience, personal anecdotes, storytelling, quotes, and other rhetorical devices
This may perhaps be the greatest challenge of our times – how to make out of politics what it once was: acting and thinking for the common good.
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
What has been the leading theme in the speeches delivered this past month?
In these weeks of transition in the European institutions, as Commissioners-designate have been preparing their hearings before the European Parliament this week and next, the highlight has been the Climate Summit in the United Nations. Although the United Nations Secretary General announced ‘the ticket to entry is not a beautiful speech, but concrete action’, we heard some powerful speeches.
So, climate. Our planet.
What do people remember from the speeches they have heard, and in this case from late President Jacques Chirac as France marks a day of national mourning on the occasion of his death last Thursday? In terms of speeches and quotes, these words delivered at the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002 come on and on, in France and abroad: "Notre maison brule, et nous regardons ailleurs" – "Our house is burning down and we're blind to it".
So, climate. Our planet. Again.
Want to learn more about speechwriting and speeches? Eric Schnure, co-author of the the just released second edition of the Political Speechwriter’s Companion is coming to Brussels early November. To know more about the different events and the conversation I will have with him – and hopefully many of you ! – save this date: Tuesday 5 November 1.30 pm. More detail for our European-based readers will follow – or contact me directly. Eric began his career in 1993 as a speechwriter for Vice-President Al Gore.
So, expect stories on speeches on Climate. And our planet. Again and again.
Last but certainly not least : I’m heading to Washington DC for the Professional Speechwriters Association’s 2019 World Conference on 21 to 23 October. Looking forward to learning, getting inspired, and seeing many of you there.
You’ll find the best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical devices below, and under ‘Read more’.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Start with a ‘bang’
Nature is angry.
And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature.
Burning forests are a tragedy no matter where they happen and no matter their scale. A tree needs many years to grow, but only few minutes to burn. We seem to know this, but we needed a shock, the shock of the Amazon rain forest fires to awaken ourselves from our lethargy.
"Notre maison brule, et nous regardons ailleurs". ("Our house is burning down and we're blind to it.").
Jacques Chirac, World Summit in Johannesburg, 2 September 2002
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
Two main themes mark the speeches delivered this summer:
- buiding the speaker’s ethos. We see this in new European leaders introducing themselves as they are preparing for their mandates and taking office.
- And raising the alarm on global warming. This issue is in so many speeches. The challenge is to find the words and craft the speeches the situation is calling for : simple, clear, compelling so as to move from promises to action.
You’ll find the best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical devices below, under ‘Read more’.
To accompany and inspire you as you get back to work, what better advice than starting every day with a speech of note? The anthology ‘Speeches of note’ is all you need and you’ll find the details in the Bibliography section (the English version is already published ; the French translation is announced for next month).
How European leaders build their ethos
I- European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen
(English translation below)
(The opening was delivered in French)
Il y a exactement 40 ans, la première présidente du Parlement européen, Simone Veil, est élue et présente sa vision d’une Europe plus unie et plus juste.
C’est grâce à elle, et à toutes les autres icônes européennes, que je vous présente aujourd’hui ma vision de l’Europe.
Et 40 ans plus tard, c’est avec une grande fierté que je peux dire : C’est finalement une femme qui est la candidate à la présidence de la Commission européenne.
Je le suis grâce à tous ceux et toutes celles qui ont brisé les barrières et les conventions. Je le suis grâce à tous ceux et toutes celles qui ont construit une Europe de paix, une Europe unie, une Europe des valeurs.
C’est cette conviction européenne qui m'a guidée tout au long de ma vie et de ma carrière - en tant que mère, en tant que médecin et en tant que femme politique.
C’est ce courage et cette audace des pionnières comme Simone Veil qui est au cœur de ma vision d’Europe.
Et ce sera cet esprit qui guidera la Commission européenne que j'ai l'intention de présider.
Exactly 40 years ago, Simone Veil was elected as the first female President of the European Parliament and set out her vision for a fairer and more united Europe.
It is thanks to her, and to all the other European icons, that I am presenting my vision of Europe to you today.
And 40 years later, I can say with great pride that we finally have a female candidate for European Commission President.
I am that candidate thanks to all the men and women who have broken down barriers and defied convention. I am that candidate thanks to all the men and women who built a Europe of peace, a united Europe, a Europe of values.
It is this belief in Europe that has guided me throughout my life and my career — as a mother, as a doctor and as a politician.
It is the courage and daring of pioneers such as Simone Veil that are at the heart of my vision for Europe.
And it is my intention to lead the European Commission in that same spirit.
II - President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli
(To watch it in your language, see below.)
(Traduction en français ci-dessous.)
Io sono figlio di un uomo che a 20 anni ha combattuto contro altri europei, e di una mamma che, anche lei ventenne, ha lasciato la propria casa e ha trovato rifugio presso altre famiglie.
Io so che questa è la storia anche di tante vostre famiglie... e so anche che se mettessimo in comune le nostre storie e ce le raccontassimo davanti ad un bicchiere di birra o di vino, non diremmo mai che siamo figli o nipoti di un incidente della Storia.
Ma diremmo che la nostra storia è scritta sul dolore, sul sangue dei giovani britannici sterminati sulle spiagge della Normandia, sul desiderio di libertà di Sophie e Hans Scholl, sull’ansia di giustizia degli eroi del Ghetto di Varsavia, sulle primavere represse con i carri armati nei nostri paesi dell’Est, sul desiderio di fraternità che ritroviamo ogni qual volta la coscienza morale impone di non rinunciare alla propria umanità e l’obbedienza non può considerarsi virtù.
Read the full speech here.
Je suis le fils d’un homme qui, à 20 ans, s’est battu contre d’autres Européens et d’une mère qui, elle aussi à 20 ans, a quitté les siens pour trouver refuge auprès d’autres familles.
Je sais que cette histoire est aussi l’histoire de beaucoup de vos familles … et que si nous nous racontons nos histoires autour d’un verre, nous ne considérons jamais que nous sommes le fruit d’un accident de l’Histoire. Bien au contraire, nous considérons que notre Histoire est une histoire marquée par la souffrance, par le sang de ces jeunes Britanniques qui ont été tués sur les plages de Normandie, par le désir de liberté de Sophie et Hans Scholl, par la soif de justice des héros du ghetto de Varsovie, par le printemps réprimé par les chars dans les pays de l’Est, par le désir de fraternité que nous devons reconnaître chaque fois que la conscience morale impose de ne pas renoncer à l’humanité et que l’obéissance ne peut être considérée comme une vertu.
Interpretation available in English, French, German… (you can choose from the 24 official languages) here, starting at 13.06.