Speech writing

With a successful speech, speakers infect their audience: they inspire and convince them. The basics of writing a speech are rooted in ancient rhetoric. Copywriters who write a speech make use of them.

What is a speech?

speeches (Latin oratio), are public speeches delivered in a monologue manner. They are usually delivered freely, using bullet points, to ensure eye contact with the audience. Contact with the audience is important, because speakers usually want to convince the audience of something. Teaching how to write a good speech is the Rhetoric.

To find out how to write speeches, an overview of the fields of rhetoric is useful. Among its basic components are the various Speech genres, Speech functions and Elements of speeches and the rhetorical means, with which speeches are refined.

Speech genres

Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, a kind of instructional treatise for his students, dating from 340 to 355 v. Chr. can be dated, three different speech genres described. He distinguishes in ancient rhetoric the court speech (genus iudiciale), the council or. Advisory speech – also called political speech (genus deliberativum) – as well as the praise resp. Celebration speech (genus demonstrativum). These three are different in their functions and intended effects on the audience. Speech writers craft their speech with their audience and purpose in mind.

The subject of court speeches are in the past. In court, the function of these speeches is to pass judgment on past actions. The speech focuses on the prosecution’s and defense’s presentation of evidence.

Political speeches are held in front of a gathering and aim to make judgments in relation to future events. Speakers present their position on a political problem, such as a legislative proposal.

In eulogies, such as wedding speeches, the focus is on enjoying a present event with the audience. Thus eulogies, in comparison with court speeches and political speeches, have a special feature: Speechwriters and speakers are not concerned with passing judgment or presenting their position on a controversial subject. The evaluation of the person or the object of eulogies is indisputable: either they are praised or, more rarely, censured.

This division was supplemented in late antiquity by a fourth category. Christian thinkers named as a fourth genre the spiritual speech or. Sermon (genus praedicandi). They serve to edify or convert the listeners. This can be done by addressing issues of faith.

Writing a speech with speech functions

Speeches aim at a certain effect. the audience should be convinced of the speaker’s opinion and share it, voluntarily. Audience members should accept a political decision as a good one, be convinced of the innocence of a defendant, or, vicariously through the speaker, collectively celebrate a person. In order to achieve this effect, authors writing a speech can resort to different functions.

When writing a speech, authors can target their audience’s logic and insight by persuading them intellectually. To do this, they convey knowledge, such as facts or evidence, with which they instruct (docere) or prove (probare). For example, a defense lawyer will argue in court with circumstantial evidence for the innocence of his client.

Speechwriters can also address their audience emotionally. In the emotional speech there are two basic types. Speeches can have a soothing or arousing effect on the audience. To achieve the first, authors use means by which they please (delectare) or win over listeners (conciliare) can. To achieve the second effect, speechwriters design their speech to move the audience (movere) or incited to action (concitare).

Elements for writing a speech

In order to write a speech, authors resort to an outline that has also existed since ancient rhetoric. Aristotle, and later Cicero and Quintilian, divided the process that every speech goes through into five phases of work.

At the beginning there is the invention of thoughts (inventio). In this phase, speechwriters decide on the topic and the various contents of their speech. In festive speeches, such as wedding speeches, the theme is given. The question is only, what contents come into the speech and how these thoughts are structured (dispositio). What anecdotes from their shared past does the bride’s mother include in the design of her speech?

The speech is then written, d.h., the thoughts are presented linguistically (elocutio). There are many different rhetorical stylistic devices available for this purpose. Does the maid of honor find an appropriate quote to express a wish to the bride and groom?

After that, future speakers should still take time to memorize the speech written down (memoria). Once this point is completed, authors should have the speech proofread. As a finishing touch the pronunciation is added. With the help of bullet points on index cards, speakers can then use free speech, self-confidence and effective pronunciation (pronuntiatio) convince.

Speech writing with stylistic devices

The salt in the soup when writing speeches are rhetorical figures, also called stylistic devices. Non-linguists also know and use this. Very well-known stylistic devices are metaphor, synonym, and rhetorical questions.

Thus the word "Berlin" can be stand not only for the city, but, as a metaphor, also for the government. "Berlin has decided", is a transfer of the Bundestag to the word Berlin and does not mean that all Berliners had to agree on something. In some areas, especially technical and technological ones, metaphors make it possible to talk about things. For example, the word "Internet" describes the technology behind it as a "network or "sea of data, to be able to imagine it. Even the activity of being on the net, surfing, is a metaphor.

Writers get variety in the speech with synonyms, i.e. when they use different words with the same meaning for one term. Synonyms for the word "gift are for example "present, "gift", "Souvenir", "souvenir" or "attention". With this selection of synonyms, it becomes clear that synonymous words are rarely completely congruent in meaning. Often they are related in meaning, but differ in subtle nuances.

To reinforce a message, authors can use rhetorical questions when writing a speech. Rhetorical questions do not expect an answer and are rather statements. Often this creates an implicit denial in the audience. This stylistic device is also used in everyday life. An example of this is the question: "Didn’t I tell you??".

Speechwriters use them to write more impressive, pictorial texts, which are thus easier to understand. This can create an additional connection with the audience. If you can’t outsmart the blank page even with tips on how to solve writer’s block, you can have a speech written for you.

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