Dear speech-fans and -friends,
This past month was marked by two important events: on the one hand, for all of us caring for Europe, the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome; and on the other hand, for all of us speech-fans and -friends, the selection of the best speeches for the Cicero Awards.
I have prepared this new selection, looking eagerly for how speakers (and their speechwriters) would combine the best of their art and technique to move audiences. Reading the speeches delivered by the European leaders, I have found here and there some good, unexpected, moving lines: you will find them in this selection.
But I have also read some pieces that combine all the these qualities – and many more – in a single speech : these were among the finalists of the Cicero Awards. I had the privilege to read them as a member of the panel for this international competition.
It is as is should be: that the speeches that make it to this final selection ‘exemplify excellence in modern oral rhetoric’.
It is also a source of inspiration and stimulation for all of us if we want the speeches on Europe to match the greatness of this project launched 60 years ago.
To help you in this challenge, a springboard to your skills, network and motivation is the Professional Speechwriters Association’s 2017 World Conference in Washington DC next October. There is even a special discount for you with the code: "LogosPathosEthos".
In the meantime, enjoy the monthly selection on www.logospathosethos.eu
The great potential of the commemorative speeches
Now is the perfect time to recall (Alcide De Gasperi’s) famous words: "The future will not be built through force, nor the desire to conquer, but by the patient application of the democratic method, the constructive spirit of agreement and by respect for freedom." Perhaps these words are not dramatic enough in the age of politics by Twitter. But I still appreciate their truth and power. I still believe they are enough to guide us from here.
Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, To speakers of EU Parliaments, 17 March 2017
I have to tell you, for those of you who don't know, Max van der Stoel was my political father. I worked with him for many years, when he was High Commissioner on National Minorities we travelled together to all parts of Europe for many years and he taught me everything. Sometimes a person can be lucky enough as I was to be allowed, by a giant, to stand on his shoulders.
Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Prague, 10 March 2017
Just as anyone writing speeches for a European audience will benefit from reading Aristotle’s Rhetoric, anyone preparing a speech for a Chinese audience – i.e. more and more European speechwriters – will be well advised to read Guiguzi’s First treatise on rhetoric. Good news: this old Chinese classic has been translated into English. It pro[...]
« Some people think that securing current industries - and their jobs - is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the global challenge of climate change. I hear these concerns, but we must find a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. Because what is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, while ... »Emmanuel Macron
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
The best speeches delivered this last month illustrate the power of contrast and antithesis. ‘Antithesis is one of the most popular means of being quotable. It succeeds because such contrast allows you, among other things, to urge one course of action and reject another(…). It makes what (the speaker) accepts and rejects clear and easy to remember’, writes Robert Lehrman in The Political Speechwriter's Companion
Use it, but wisely, as one of the European leaders addressing the Members of the European Parliament reminds us.
For those of us who understand French, voici le lien vers une émission de radio consacrée à la rhétorique politique des présidents, de la troisième république à Barack Obama.
Find out our monthly selection on www.logospathosethos.eu
L’Europe n'est pas une évidence. L'Europe fut et l'Europe restera un choix.
Europe is not self-evident. Europe has always been and will always be a choice.
Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, L'Europe aujourd'hui et demain, 23 February 2017Read more
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
Among all the speeches we come across, why do we sometimes decide to forward one to our friends?
What does it take for a speech to go go viral?
What does it take for a speech to have us, speech-fans and –friends, send it to our loved ones because we think it will lift their spirits?
January 2017 offered a few such examples :
First came Mery Streep 2017 Golden Globes speech that many of you forwarded.
Then another speech got attention for "words which were surprising, honest, bold and deep. (The speaker) used language which won over many sceptics. Newspapers were now printing statements by (sceptics) expressing respect for the (speaker) and taking back their earlier objections. We know that this doesn't often happen. This is one of the reasons why we consider (this) speech extraordinary and historic".
Last but not least, a third speech inspired many of you in Europe, who shared it with their colleagues and friends and drew my attention to it.
Find out which speeches they are and some other good quotes in our monthly selection on www.logospathosethos.eu
And keep forwarding your favourite speeches.
Als ich als 11-Jähriger im Hallenbad das erste Mal auf dem Dreimeterbrett stand, hat mir das keine Freude bereitet. Doch ein Kind, das das erste Mal da steht, weiß, wenn es sich weiterentwickeln möchte, muss es springen. Es weiß, es muss springen. Aber es weiß nicht, wie sich der Sprung anfühlt und wie es genau nach dem Sprung weitergehen wird. Und doch, in den meisten Fällen, wagt es den Schritt nach vorne. Ich habe es damals auch gewagt. Und auch den Sprung vom Fünfmeterbrett.
Weil die Zuversicht stärker ist als der Zweifel… Ich appelliere heute an Ihre Zuversicht!
As an 11year-old boy at the indoor swimming pool, standing on the three-metre diving board for the first time did not make me happy. But children standing there for the first time know they have to jump if they want to make progress. They know they have to jump. But they don’t know what this jump will feel like and what exactly will happen after the jump. And yet, in most cases, they dare to take this step forward. I also did it back then. And I also jumped off the five-metre diving board
Because confidence is stronger than doubt… Today I call upon your confidence!
Read the full speech here (English is below the German text): President Alexander Van der Bellen, Inauguration speech, 26 January 2017Read more
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
Peace is the recurring theme in this month’s selection of quotes and speeches.
Peace for places as diverse as Aleppo, Columbia, Germany, Pearl Harbor.
Peace as the most precious lesson past and current leaders urge us to embrace.
And peace as my best wish to you, readers of this newsletter, as we start a new year. To you, from Australia to Arizona, who read these lines : peace.
I also recommend two webpages:
- The outgoing White House administration reminds us that ‘behind (President Obama’s) words is a group of speechwriters who have worked closely with the President to craft important messages to the American people. It’s meant countless drafts and rewrites, late nights, and last-minute edits from the motorcade. As his time in office comes to a close, the President’s speechwriters — past and present — took a look back at eight years of remarks to share some of the words, speeches, and memories that stand out to them.
Take a look at a few of the President’s top speeches as chosen by his speechwriters’.
- Nancy Duarte, whose books we strongly recommend in our Bibliography, has designed, together with Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an insightful test to help speakers with fear of public speaking, available on the Harvard Business Review website. Answering some 24 questions provides guidance on one’s strengths and where to focus to improve and ultimately feel … at peace when taking the floor.
You’ll find the full latest selection of quotes and speeches on http://www.logospathosethos.eu
Allow me to tell you, from my own experience, that it is much harder to make peace than to wage war.
Peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.
I hope that together, we send a message to the world that there is more to be won in peace than in war; that reconciliation carries more rewards than retribution.
Read the full speech here: Barack Obama, Remarks at Pearl Harbor, 28 December 2016
End of September, I was invited to speak at the Professional Speechwriters Association World Conference on ‘Speeches and Speechwriting in Europe in 2016’. To prepare this talk, I looked for trends that would both refer to Europe and be relevant for an international audience. I soon identified one leading trend, only emerging yet obvious, and already the strongest. I spoke about this new word capturing this new phenomenon : the ‘post-truth’ - or ‘post-fact’ - era of speeches and democracy.
From hardly used before, it is suddenly everywhere now, from titles to articles to conferences.
Little did I know then that the Oxford Dictionary would select it as the 2016 International Word of the Year.
It’s a real concern for our democracies, and an additional challenge for speakers and speechwriters. All the more reason to have a look at the speeches that matter on the European stage today.
You’ll find the latest selection of quotes and speeches on http://www.logospathosethos.eu
Commemorating : the great potential of epideictic speeches
We all know that we are living in a historic time, and that our actions will have effects for generations to come. But we can't know exactly what effect we will have. All we can do is to trust in our values, and have the courage to act on them.
Read the full speech here: Margrethe Vestager, Luther and the modern world, 14 November 2016