The 2024 European elections are coming up, and parties are selecting their candidates.
I've been asked a couple of times for help on writing a winning speech.
I'm not an expert on speech writing. But I do communication trainings for managers who want to win over their C-level for important projects. And over the past 5 years, I've used & trained volunteers on public narrative as a tool to inspire people for action.
Putting these two experiences together, here is what I suggest to people:
- Cover the 3 Aristotle principles
- Build the 3 cornerstones of public narrative
The 3 Aristotle principles:
- Build credibility ('ethos'). First, ask yourself: "Do people believe me?" or "Would people trust what I'm saying?" Think about how you can show listeners you're genuine, that you know what you're talking about.
- Connect emotionally ('pathos'). It's crucial to engage your audience emotionally. Questions to consider are: "How do I make this matter to them?" and "How do I make them feel closer to me or the topic?" Think of storytelling, visuals, metaphors.
- Structure matters ('logos'). Your speech should flow logically, A+B = C. People should nod and think, "Yes, that makes sense." If you want to create suspense, first provide all the arguments & facts and leave the conclusion/your key message for the end. If you want to get straight to the point, perhaps 'shock & awe', then bring your key message first (i.e. if you could only say 1 thing, this would be it), and then provide your reasoning.
The 3 public narrative cornerstones:
- Share your personal story ('story of self'). What life moments drove me to run for office? Which challenges shaped my values? Who or what influenced my choices on this issue?
- Connect with the audience ('story of us'). What values do we share on this issue? How does my story fit our community's narrative? Which shared stories highlight our common values?
- Emphasize the urgency ('story of now'). Lastly, make sure to explain why we need to act now.
Fuse the answers together into a story or multiple stories. Easier said than done.
But think: children's stories, Star Wars or whatever narrative you find absorbing. The Hero, the challenge, the situation. Speak in present tense. Bring in details, picture it in your mind and chances are your audience also has a picture in mind - and is therefore engaged.
And here are 5 more tips & questions to ask yourself:
- Define your vision. If you're in politics, what's your dream for the future? Also, what plans do you have as a candidate or representative?
- Know your strengths. Ask yourself, "Why am I the right choice for this campaign?"
- Start strong and finish stronger. What's your opening line? And how will you conclude? The start & the end of your speech matter the most.
- Take notes to give you guidance, but don't write out the full speech. I know there are different practices here, and you see top-level politicians read from fully written-out texts. But: if you
- Practice in front of others & get feedback. Get as much exposure and get as close to the real environment that you'll be finding yourself in.
May the force be with you!
p.s. 👇 below, find the latest podcast, what I'm currently reading/listening to and my favourite quote this week
🖋️ My favourite quote
"The biggest ego trip is getting rid of your ego. And the joke of it is, your ego doesn't even exist. There's nothing to get rid of. It's an illusion." -
Alan Watts in "Not what should be. Tao of Philosophy." (from Sam Harris' Waking Up App)
🎙️ My latest podcast
I'm pausing the podcast over the summer, but have some great new conversations already that I'll share in September, e.g. with a Member of the German Bundestag and a leadership development expert from the US.
The last episode: