Dear speech-fans and -friends,
The European political cycle is in full speed now. What kind of speeches do we need?
You’ll find below the answers by two major European leaders and, by clicking under ‘Read more’ below, a series of good quotes and speeches delivered this past month.
Enjoy also the special literary bonus.
A reminder to speechwriters who want to see their work rewarded: this week is the last week to benefit from the early-bird tariff to enter your speeches in the Cicero awards. More here.
A language everyone can understand
We will try to talk in a language that everyone can understand. And we will listen, too, and hear people’s concerns.
Nice speeches won’t do – Great, smart, powerful speeches can
Epic geopolitical tensions, the climate crisis, global mistrust and the downsides of technology can jeopardize every aspect of our shared future. That is why commemorating the 75th anniversary with nice speeches won’t do.
See also smart and effective signposting with the “four horsemen” recurring theme
Today I want to speak to you in stark and simple terms about the challenges we face.
I see “four horsemen” in our midst — four looming threats that endanger 21st-century progress and imperil 21st-century possibilities.
The first horseman comes in the form of the highest global geostrategic tensions we have witnessed in years.
And after describing these four challenges – or horsemen:
We must address these four 21st-century challenges with four 21st-century solutions.
Let me take each in turn.
First, peace and security, that I mentioned. There are some signs of hope.
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[...]
« When we gather in places like Babi Yar, Auschwitz or Ponary, to honour the memory of the murdered victims, we helplessly search for the right words and phrases. Some, like Pope Francis, who recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, choose silence (…) . It is (…) understandable that we most often choose silence, because silence can be louder than a s... »Donald Tusk
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.
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