Why does the art of
speeches matter so much?
Speechwriter Simon Lancaster explains it quite well in his Ted talk: (watch:) Speak like a leader. It is becoming viral within the speechwriting community and for good reason.
This month harvest of speeches illustrates his point, by revealing once again the great potential of remembrance speeches, in Hiroshima, Verdun, or on Europe Day.
If you understand French, (écoutez:) La parole comme une arme: l'éloquence en politique. Cette émission radiophonique d’une heure est consacrée à l’éloquence de la politique française mais ses conclusions valent bien au-delà de l’hexagone.
Enjoy this selection,
The point I’m making here is very serious : The reason we all used to learn rhetoric at school was because it was seen as a basic entry point to society. How could society be fair unless everyone had equal ability to articulate and express themselves ? Without it, your legal systems, your political systems, your financial sytems are not fair. It should be of intense concern to all of us that education in this has been narrowed to a very small and powerful elite (…)
Let’s revive rhetoric, let’s really reinvigorate debates around the world and let’s really give every child on the planet to become a leader. What should we call this grand initiative ? Well here’s an idea. How about : democracy ?
(Full speech:) Simon Lancaster, Speak like a leader, April 2016
Commemorating Europe Day
What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?
What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?
What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?
(Full speech:) Pope Francis, Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May 2016 (also available in Arabic, German, French, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese)
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[...]
« Prime Minister, Ministers, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen, In Europe, we are used to 24 official languages. That is the reason why I am not expressing myself in English but in French, because French is an as important language as English. But for reasons of respect for this assembly I will not express myself in Luxembourgish, although Luxembo... »Jean-Claude Juncker
As we celebrate Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death
Look at Shakespeare: what are the great moments of his work? The sword fights?
No, the speeches,
when someone steps downstage and says, let me tell you what it is, let me tell you what it could be, lend me your ears.
The speeches, and the balcony scene. Those are the parts we remember.
Done right, a good speech can change the world. (…)
Here’s a secret a speechwriter can never forget: people don’t care that much about strategy, or sales goals or market share. They may say they do, but that’s not it.
They want to be inspired. They want to be part of something meaningful and big. And our job is to show them what that feels like.
Every speech is a hero’s journey. But the hero isn’t the speaker up on the stage.
No, no, no.
In our theater, the hero is the man or woman out there in the audience looking for something that will (…) finally let them become the person they long be.
Want more speeches ? Read this monthly selection and the best of the 2016 Cicero Speechwriting Awards.
Want more inspiration ? Join the 2016 World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association. PSA offers a special 15% discount to Logos, Pathos, Ethos readers with the code LPE15.
Enjoy this selection,
Perhaps you need an outsider, somebody who is not European, to remind you of the magnitude of what you have achieved.
Dear speech-fans and -friends,
Most of the speeches this month have a common theme:
From H-D Gensher’s most famous quotation that we recall as he just passed away,
to European current affairs,
to forward-looking speeches delivered in places of former divisions, in Cyprus and between the United States and Cuba,
to George Clooney’s reminder of how to deal with giant numbers.
This common theme is refugees.
This selection is completed by Al Gore’s Case for optimism and shines a spotligh on some of the best rhetorical devices,
and a few lines from Imre Kertész’s Nobel Lecture Eureka - on the occasion of his passing away on 31 March 2016 - as an invitation to explore Nobel Lectures.
Looking forward to your comments and reactions,
It’s too much to talk about giant numbers.
It’s actually easy to dismiss giant numbers.
But it’s very hard to dismiss a young child sitting on the ground crying when her mother’s telling the story about how she left.
Former German Foreign affairs Minister H-D Gensher’s most famous quotation
Wir sind heute zu Ihnen gekommen, um Ihnen mitzuteilen, dass heute Ihre Ausreise…
We have come to you today, to announce, that today, your leaving the country …
To refresh our memory on this speech: The Guardian
Dear speech-fans and friends,
The art of speeches is an old enough discipline to keep us from believing the challenges we face are totally new to mankind.
Looking back to history, we can find in leaders confronted to dangers and difficulties some wisdom, vision, and inspiration.
And good stories. And good quotes.
This month’s harvest provides a few examples.
If you read only one speech this month, read this one
by Umberto Eco,
delivered in 2012 when he received the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal.
To decide and recognize what, in a tolerant vision, would remain intolerable for us, is the kind or borderline that Europeans are called to trace every day, with a sense of equity and with the constant exercise of that virtue that, since Aristotle, philosopher called Prudence.
In this philosophical sense, prudence does not mean reluctance to take risks, and does not coincide with cowardice. In the classical sense of phronesis, prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.
Dear speech-fans and friends,
From Holocaust Remembrance Day to the World Economic
Forum to the State of the Union in Washington, January calls for great
Here is your monthly selection of powerful lines and rhetorical tools.
Whether you craft or collect quotations, you may be interested to read more on the power of virtuous quotes in this piece of research published in the January-February 2016 issue of the Harvard Business Review.
What will you do on March 15th, for World Speech Day ?
Let’s collect our ideas for the next issue.
Build the speaker’s ethos:
As a German born in 1955, I did not live through the darkest times in the history of my country. But the mass murder committed by the Nazis in the name of my nation was the reason I became involved in politics, as I vowed: Never again. …
I say this as a German, as a politician and as a father:
We must keep the memory alive.
We must tell our children about the crimes committed in Theresienstadt, in Auschwitz, Birkenau and elsewhere. We must do so for the sake of our children, we must tell them so that their children will tell the next generation.
Remembering hurts, but we must teach our children how this unique crime in human history, these barbaric acts of evil could happen in one of the most modernized societies of that time.