Logos Pathos Ethos, January 2020

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. 

Best wishes, 

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

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.

Read the full speech here: Charles Michel, Commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty, 18 December 2019

 

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."

Lesen Sie die ganze Rede: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Weihnachtsansprache 2019 Schloss Bellevue, 25. Dezember 2019

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?

Read the full speech here: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Christmas message 2019, 25 December 2019


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. 

Read the full speech here (available in English, Swedish, and Polish): Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel prize in literature, Nobel lecture, 7 December 2019

 

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Logos Pathos Ethos, December 2019

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, 

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

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.

Read the full speech with 17 occurrences of ‘unity’ here: Donald Tusk, Opening ceremony of the 2019/2020 academic year at the College of Europe, 13 November 2019

(*) 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.

Read or watch the full speech here, with interpretation in 23 official languages: Ursula von der Leyen, Presentation of the College of Commissioners and their programme, 27 November 2019

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Logos Pathos Ethos, November 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

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. 

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

www.logospathosethos.eu

 

Ethos

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.

Read the full speech here: Mario Draghi, Acceptance speech for the Laurea Honoris Causa from the Università Cattolica, 11 October 2019

 

Ethos

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.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, Athens Democracy Forum 2019, 9 October 2019

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Logos Pathos Ethos, October 2019

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 Speechwriters 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’.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

www.logospathosethos.eu

 

 

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Start with a ‘bang’

Nature is angry.  

And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature. 

Read the full speech here: António Guterres, Remarks at 2019 Climate Action Summit, 23 September 2019

 

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. 

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, meeting on the action for the Amazon, 3 September 2019

 

"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

 

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Logos Pathos Ethos, September 2019

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).

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

 

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.

Read the full speech : Ursula von der Leyen, Opening Statement in the European Parliament Plenary Session, delivered in French, German and English, 16 July 2019

 English translation :

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.

Read the full speech translated in 24 official languages

 

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.

Watch the full speech here: David Sassoli, acceptance speech as newly elected President of the European Parliament, 3 July 2019

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.

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Logos Pathos Ethos, July 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

On the eve of a new five-year term for the European Parliament, European Commission, and other major positions in Europe, here’s our monthly selection of the best quotes and speeches for inspiration.

In these important times for the European project, it’s all the more an honour and pleasure to see every month new speech-fans and -friends registering for this newsletter, both European institutions insiders and citizens caring for words and quotes to express their ideas in a powerful way. Welcome and thank you for your trust. 

You’ll find the best quotes, speeches, and rhetorical devices below, under ‘Read more’.

Make the most of this summer to get inspiration, read good speeches and books (see the Bibliography section), listen to good stories, and prepare for new challenges. 

See you in September.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Advice to a newly elected European Parliament

(English below)

Comme il est naturel et normal dans une assemblée démocratique telle que la nôtre, nous divergeons par les programmes que nous souhaitons mettre en oeuvre, par les idées que nous voulons défendre et même quant à notre propre rôle.

Gardons-nous cependant du travers qui nous conduirait à faire de notre Assemblée le forum des divisions et des rivalités. Trop souvent déjà, les Communautés européennes donnent à nos opinions publiques l’image d’institutions bloquées, incapables de parvenir dans les délais nécessaires à des décisions.

Notre Parlement aura pleinement satisfait les espoirs qu’il a fait naître si, loin d’être le lieu de résonance des divisions internes de l’Europe, il parvient à exprimer et à faire percevoir par la Communauté l’élan de solidarité si nécessaire aujourd’hui.

Lire le discours complet de Simone Veil, à l’occasion de son élection comme première Présidente du Parlement européen, 17 juillet 1979

As is only natural and normal in a democratic assembly such as ours, we differ on the programmes which we

wish to implement, on the ideas which we wish to advocate and even on the very role we are to play.

Let us, however, avoid the error of turning our Assembly into a forum for rivalry and dissent. Too often in the past, public opinion in our countries has gained the impression that the European Communities are hamstrung institutions, incapable of reaching decisions within the necessary time-limits.

Our Parliament will entirely fulfil the hopes which it has raised if, far from being the sounding-board for the internal divisions of Europe, it succeeds in articulating and bringing home to the Community the spirit of solidarity that is so necessary today.

Read the full speech here : Simone Veil, on her election as First President of the European Parliament, 17 July 1979

 

The value of a speech

One of the great powers and responsibilities of being a central banker is that you can move markets with a single line in a speech. Every word counts a billion. And this is why I always admire Mario's speeches, which are priceless pieces of art.

Telling the story of the euro

Allow me to tell you the story of the euro (…) As every European success story, it is full of crises and lessons learned (…).

And the speech comes full circle :

These six moments, these six examples are all examples of crises. But every time we have been challenged, we have found solutions and even surprised ourselves with what we can achieve. This is a fitting way to tell the story of European construction.

For a series of surprises and lessons learnt, from the British statesman who wanted his grandchildren to be able to pay in euro to the military asked to burn banknotes :

Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, celebrating 20 years of the Economic and Monetary Union, 'Building the euro: moments in time, lessons in history, 19 June 2019

 

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Logos Pathos Ethos, June 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

This past month has been extremely rich, with the European elections campaign inviting European leaders to translate their ideas into words and their platforms into speeches: several speakers came up with vibrant definitions of political debate and poignant pleas for democracy.

But May is also a special month in the European annual calendar: a month of commemoration (from the end of the Second World War to the Schuman declaration on May 9) and a month of celebration (from the State of the Union in the European University Institute in Florence to the International Charlemagne Prize for the Unity of Europe, in Aachen). These occasions compelled several European leaders to express what Europe - and the European way - is about.

Find out the best quotes, recurring themes, and rhetorical devices below. 

We will all need this inspiration at the dawn of a new five-year mandate. 

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Speeches to comemorate – aka epideictic speeches 

The beginning of the month of May is also metaphorically the time of year when we start to reflect. 1 May is Labour Day, when we remember that in 1890 we fought for the eight-hour working day. On 2 May, we remember the victims of the Holocaust, and on 4 May, we remember the victims of war in the Netherlands. On 5 May, we celebrate the Liberation. On 9 May, we celebrate European unification, which, for me, remains the most successful response to the tendency toward self-destruction which we Europeans have often displayed.

It is always difficult to keep these commemorations fresh. This today is one of the most inspiring initiatives – for which I thank you – which challenge us to reflect and discuss, not merely to engage in sterile commemoration. So much seems self-evident today. It is our responsibility to keep commemorations fresh in order to pass on the message and promise to our children and grandchildren too.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Annual reflection on the eve of 4 May, the National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands, 3 May 2019

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Logos Pathos Ethos, May 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

With just four weeks to go before the European elections, this newsletter gathers the best quotes and speeches to speak about Europe today. 

With several days off in May, you’ll have time to read the short yet most enlightening Chinese classic Treatise on rhetoric, just translated into French this spring – an English annotated translation already available since 2016. See the Bibliography section.

And the Best of the 2019 Cicero speechwriting awards has just been published. You can indulge yourself with one Cicero Award speech a day until the results of the election. I draw your attention to two of them especially: if you want to be energised, the Grand Award: Go boldly. If you want to be moved and read excellence in contemporary European rhetoric, a commemorative speech written by a fellow European speechwriter delivered just one year ago, early May 2018: Never be a bystander.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

www.logospathosethos.eu

 

Leadership

Today is no time for regrets. The world is fast outpacing Europe.

Europe cannot remain obsessed by the past, when the rest of the world is looking to the future.

It’s time to step up. What we do not do for Europe, nobody will do in our place.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, European Policy Centre Breakfast, 1 April 2019

 

Ce que nous avons vu cette nuit ensemble à Paris c’est cette capacité de nous mobiliser, nous unir pour vaincre. Au cours de notre histoire, nous avons bâti des villes, des ports, des églises. Beaucoup ont brûlé ou ont été détruites par les guerres, les révolutions ou les fautes des hommes. A chaque fois, à chaque fois, nous les avons reconstruites.

Retrouvez le discours entier ici : Emmanuel Macron, Adresse à la nation au lendemain de l’incendie de Notre-Dame de Paris, 16 avril 2019

 

From this place [Strasbourg, France], I would like to say words of comfort and solidarity with the whole French nation in the face of the Paris tragedy. I say these words not only as the president of the European Council, but also as a citizen of Gdańsk, 90 percent destroyed and burnt, and later rebuilt. You will also rebuild your cathedral. 

From Strasbourg, the French capital of the European Union, I call on all the 28 Member States to take part in this task. I know that France could do it alone, but at stake here is something more than just material help. 

The burning of the Notre Dame cathedral has again made us aware that we are bound by something more important and more profound than Treaties. Today we understand better the essence of that, which is common, we know how much we can lose. And that we want to defend it – together.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, to the European Parliament, 10 April

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Logos Pathos Ethos, April 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

With the European elections in just two months, it is topical that this month’s harvest offers a selection of speeches with a special focus on building a rapport with the audience. You’ll find your monthly selection of the best speeches and quotes below.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Building a rapport with this audience, in this place, for this event

- Here in Lund, Sweden

In 1962, before many of us were even born, a young law graduate from the United States arrived here in Lund. The topic of her studies – civil procedure in Sweden – wasn’t one that seemed likely to change the world. And yet the things that Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw here in Sweden really did end up changing the lives of millions of women. 

Read the full speech here: Margrethe Vestager, Dealing with power in a brave new world: economy, technology and human rights, Anna Lindh Lecture, Lund, 18 March 2019

 

- Here in Berlin, Germany

I was born in the year that the Berlin wall was built. Our son Marc was born in the year the Berlin wall came down. Our son Max was born in the year 2004, when Europe became one and whole again by the enlargement with the Central and Eastern European countries. I say this because for a global audience this perhaps seems to be just a bit of history, but for me it is my life.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019 

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Logos Pathos Ethos, March 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

How to organise ideas and assemble words so that the speech achieves something: bond with the audience, make sense out of the flow of events, and call to action?

With the Brexit deadline in just one month and climate change’s awareness growing and growing, great speeches are not only welcome; they are necessary. You’ll find a selection of the best speeches and quotes below.

For our French-speaking readers, je vous signale, dans le numéro de Sciences humaines du mois de mars 2019, un dossier spécial sur l’art de parler: une introduction générale à cette discipline riche de 25 siècles et un rappel de son importance et de son intérêt, à l’heure où elle revient dans les programmes scolaires.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Logos, pathos and ethos combined

Ladies and gentlemen, I have five grandchildren. Four of them are in primary school. The youngest is only one year old.

Perhaps that’s why the following story struck such a particular chord. I was reading a BBC article about the recent climate demonstrations here in Belgium. Groups of primary schoolchildren were marching with their grandparents. One child held up a hand-written sign. It said: “2080: what are polar bears?”

Karmenu Vella, High-level conference on climate change and oceans preservation, 19 February 2019

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Logos Pathos Ethos, February 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

With the Brexit deadline in just two months and no deal voted yet, 

with our planet hotter than ever, science to make it clear and more and more people mobilising, 

and with the crucial European elections in just four months,

there’s a sense of urgency in the speeches delivered this past month.

Edward R. Murrow’s words – introducing Churchill’s impact at another time of urgency in our history - come to mind:

“Now the hour had come for him to mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world”.

You’ll find sharp spearheads below. 

Read them, urgently! 

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Urgency

Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope’. 

But I don’t want your hope. 

I don’t want you to be hopeful. 

I want you to panic. 

I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. 

And then I want you to act. 

I want you to act as if you were in a crisis. 

I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.

Greta Thunberg, Our house is on fire, 25 January 2019

 

Urgency and leadership

It is 16 January today. We are only 10 weeks away from the end of March, the moment when the UK has chosen to become a third country.

And today, 10 weeks away, the risk of a no deal has never been so high.

Our resolution is to avoid such a scenario, but we also have a responsibility. That is why, we are intensifying our efforts on our side to deal with this scenario.

Michel Barnier, Debate on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, 16 January 2019

 

Logos, pathos, and ethos

Those habits of reasoned debate which you teach are exactly what Europe needs today. 

Democracy has always been about feelings, as well as reason. If we forget about feeling, our politics becomes bloodless, detached from the lives of the very people it should serve. But if we forget about reason, we lose our ability to find the solutions that make their lives better.

Margrethe Vestager, Award of Gold Medal for Public Discourse, Trinity College Dublin Historical Society, 25 January 2019

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Logos Pathos Ethos, January 2019

Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

Happy New Year! 

That 2019 will be happy is by no means a foregone conclusion. Stakes are high (for our non-European readers, 2019 will see European elections resulting in a new European Parliament and a new European Commission; and one of our Member States will decide how to leave the Union) and challenges are huge, as this past month selection shows once again: populism and the defense of our fundamental values, climate change (with the COP 24 speeches), terrorism and sexual violence (with the Nobel peace prize lectures). All call for speeches that identify clearly the issue, show progress and give hope, and empower in strong calls for action. This selection of speeches and quotes shines a spotlight on a few such speeches.

So, to start well this new year, enjoy the reading below and, more than ever :

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

Call for action

(English below) Vos Majestés, Distingués membres du Comité Nobel, Mesdames et Messieurs, Amis de la paix,

Le défi est clair. Il est à notre portée.

Pour les Sarah, pour les femmes, les hommes et les enfants du Congo, je vous lance un appel urgent de ne pas seulement nous remettre le Prix Nobel de la Paix mais de vous mettre debout et de dire ensemble et à haute voix : « La violence en RDC, c’est assez ! Trop c’est trop ! La paix maintenant ! »

(In English)

Your Majesties, Distinguished Members of the Nobel Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends of peace,

The challenge is clear. It is within our reach.

For all Sarahs, for all women, for all men and children of Congo, I call upon you not only to award this Nobel Peace Prize to my country’s people, but to stand up and together say loudly: “The violence in the DRC, it’s enough! Enough is enough! Peace, now!”

Denis Mukwege, Nobel peace prize lecture, 10 December 2018

 

Thank you very much for this honour, but the fact remains that the only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals.

Nadia Murad, Nobel peace prize lecture, 10 December 2018

 

Contrast

Today is a special day for me. 

It is the day when good has triumphed over evil, 

the day when humanity defeated terrorism, 

the day that the children and women who have suffered persecution have triumphed over the perpetrators of these crimes.

Nadia Murad, Nobel peace prize lecture, 10 December 2018

 

If credibility is of the essence, get ready to address the challenge raised by this teenager

You’re never too small to make a difference.

Greta Thunberg, Speech at COP 24, Katowice, December 2018

 

In politics, bridges are more important than walls, though we know how much easier and faster it is to raise a wall, than to build a bridge.

Donald Tusk, Award of the honorary doctorate from the technical university of Dortmund, 16 December 2018, 

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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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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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Logos Pathos Ethos, June 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends,

Data has been all over the news this past month. Little surprise it ranks high in this selection of the best speeches and quotes to highlight its importance (Andrus Ansip), denounce abuse (Guy Verhofstadt), or restore hope in the future (Carlos Moedas). 

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

If you read French, une nouvelle lecture vous attend dans la section Bibliographie. 

 

NB : Speaking of data, your data to receive this newsletter: the only data collected is your e-mail address, and a first name and surname in most cases (sometimes a nickname). You receive this monthly newsletter because you have expressed the wish to receive it, in most cases by registering on the website, or by sending an e-mail. Your data is stored in Belgium. You can ask it to be corrected or deleted at any time. You can unsuscribe at any time. Your data is not forwarded to anyone.

If you are fine with these, you will continue to receive this newsletter. If not, just reply to this mail with your request.


Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

 

One word to remember

Today, we are here to discuss technologies that will change our world. For this, there is just one word to remember: data.

(with 21 occurrences in a 10-minute speech)

Read the full speech here, Andrus Ansip, Technologies that will change our world, 15 May 2018

 

The power of a question

You have to ask yourself how you will be remembered : as one of the three big internet giants, together with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who have enriched our world and our societies ? Or on the other hand, in fact as a genius who created a digital monster that is destroying our democracies and societies ? 

Watch the full speech here, Guy Verhofstadt, Conference of Presidents with Mark Zuckerberg, 22 May 2018 (starting at 11’.10’’)

 

Surprises, anecdotes, quotes, stories, 

and tricolons 

I look at the media, or I talk to people and so often all I hear is Doubt. Fear. Disbelief (…)

I think we are not "afraid" of new technologies so much as we are afraid of the loss that we think they will bring. Our lives. Our control. Our jobs.

Read the full speech here, Carlos Moedas, Horasis global meeting, 6 May 2018

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Logos Pathos Ethos, May 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

This newsletter is reaching your mailbox as Europe celebrates the end of the Second World War (8 May) and the audacity of the European integration project — mind you, launching this invitation the first day after only the fifth anniversary of such an unspeakable horror.

This peace project remains a leading theme in major speeches on the European stage, several decades later, as this selection  of the best speeches delivered in April shows. It still inspires leaders when they speak about the present or reflect about the future. And it matches the views of the Europeans, who still put peace at the top of the most positive results of Europe, together with free movement, well before other achievements like the exchange programme Erasmus or the Euro.

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

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

Europe, first and foremost, a peace project

J'appartiens à une génération qui n'a pas connu la guerre et j'appartiens à une génération qui est en train de s'offrir le luxe d'oublier ce que les prédécesseurs ont vécu(...) Mais je viens aussi d'une terre et d'une famille qui a connu toutes les saignées de notre histoire passée. Alors les choix sont simples, moi je ne veux pas appartenir à une génération de somnambules. Je ne veux pas appartenir à une génération qui aura oublié son propre passé ou qui refusera de voir les tourments de son propre présent.

Watch the full speech here (delivered in French with live interpretation into 23 languages): Emmanuel Macron, Discours au Parlement européen, 17 avril 2018.

Read the full speech here.


I could sum it up in just one sentence: don't let the sleepwalkers lead more people to disaster.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, Acceptance speech for the 2018 Polonicus prize, 28 April 2018

 

The European ideal took shape in the second part of the twentieth century. Although, at the time, the world was riven by animosity and fear, some were imaginative enough to envisage a future in which we were joined together by mutual interest, trust and affection. European values are the values that we advance in Ireland, within our European family, and in our relations with the wider world. Europe is one of the most successful political projects of the last century. So much has been achieved that once seemed the stuff of dreams.

Read the full speech here: Leo Varadkar, Martens Lecture on the future of Europe, 26 April 2018

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Logos Pathos Ethos, April 2018

Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

The debate on the future of Europe is in full swing with one Member State leaving the European Union in just one year, European elections coming up shortly after, in May 2019, and the next multi-annual financial framework (Which priorities? How much money?) currently discussed.

Different views, different speakers, all mobilising rhetorical tools to serve their vision and rally support.

See this month’s selection of best quotes and speeches below and click on ‘read more’ to get the whole selection.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,