Speak To Me

When I was in college, I saw the movie The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. I had recently discovered that I had an interest in politics, and when we walked out, it was Michael J. Fox’s character, the domestic policy advisor, whose job I wanted. He got to write the speeches. And they were doozies.

What makes a good speech? The West Wing’s Sam Seaborn would tell you that great speeches contain soaring rhetoric, language that makes people get up out of their seats because they are so energized by what they hear. Watch here as he changes a pedestrian greeting into something that will give you chills.

A good speech tells a story. I don’t mean that you need to start with “once upon a time,” but memorable speeches have characters and a journey, so that the audience can connect with the language.

A good speech says something:

Sometimes, a good speech says something obvious, but does it in a way that speaks to a particular audience and thus hits a home run:

What are some of your favorite speeches, real or fictional?

Posted on February 23, 2012, in Speeches and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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