Dear speech-fans and -friends

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.

Dain Dunston, The Downside of Up: The Outrageous Fortune of Being a Speechwriter, 2016 Cicero Speechwriting Grand Award, delivered at the 2015 World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association


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. 

President Obama, Address to the People of Europe, Hannover, Germany, 25 April 2016


(English below)

Die Einheit Europas war ein Traum von wenigen. Sie wurde eine Hoffnung für viele. Sie ist heute eine Notwendigkeit für uns alle.

Konrad Adenauer, German Bundestag, 15 December 1954 (Auf Deutsch)

European unity was a dream of a few.  It became a hope for [the] many.  Today it is a necessity for all of us.

Konrad Adenauer, German Bundestag, 15 December 1954 (in English)

Quoted by President Obama, Address to the People of Europe, Hannover, Germany, 25 April 2016


(English below)

Le fait d'être à Sienne, de se remémorer l'histoire de cette ville et de sa république, et de contempler les fresques magistrales de Lorenzetti au Palazzo Pubblico nous offre un cours accéléré en politique. Lorenzetti (…) se servait du langage universel de la peinture pour expliquer les effets du bon et du mauvais gouvernement. Le message en guise de rappel était certes destiné au gouvernement local mais il n'a rien perdu de sa force au fil des siècles (…)

Prenez garde à ceux qui vous dépeignent l'avenir idyllique du tout-puissant État-nation autarcique. Lorenzetti aurait peint ces démagogues du mauvais côté de la fresque.

President Schulz, Le dialogue nous sauvera, Docteur honoris causa, Sienne 22 April 2016

Being in Siena, looking back at its history and its Republic and Lorenzetti’s masterly frescos in Palazzo Pubblico, also provides a crash course in politics. Lorenzetti (…) used the universal language of painting to explain the effects of good and bad government. The message stood as a reminder to the local government, but it remains equally powerful over the centuries (…)

Beware of those who sell you an autarchic idyllic future of the all-powerful nation state. For Lorenzetti these demagogues would have ended up on the wrong side of the fresco.

President Schulz, Dialogue will save us, Doctor Honoris Causa, Siena, 22 April 2016


If anyone remains that doesn't share the Paris Spirit - or who still wants to continue arguing instead of acting –let me quote the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it".

Commissioner Arias Cañete, UN Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement, New York, 22 April 2016


Europe faces its greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War. This crisis is testing our values, and it is testing our will. And it is reminding us that solidarity is not only a moral virtue but an essential part of our European Union.

President Juncker, 'Forced Displacement: A Global Development Challenge' , 2016 Spring Meetings of the IMF, World Bank, 15 April 2016


Great speechwriting?

It should be poetic.

It should be mellifluous.

It should be the music of words.

It should be aimed at your head and your heart and your gut.

Good speechwriting?

A speech says more with less.

A speech has a heartbeat.

A speech tells a story.

Rodger Evans, Rhetoric : Indulging the Hope that Nature Will Finally Yield to Observation and Perseverance the Keys to the Heart, 2016 Cicero Speechwriting Awards.