The Table Read: A Critical Element in Speechwriting

Whenever I’m involved in a big conference with multiple speakers I make the point that “it’s all one speech.” That is, it’s one big message and each speaker is telling a different part of the story. In real life, of course, that doesn’t always work out. But for any company that’s serious about reaching an […]

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Five Speechmaking Lessons from Abbott & Costello

Like Jerry Seinfeld, I grew up watching old Abbott & Costello re-runs on TV. Here he deconstructs the classic “Who’s on First?” routine to demonstrate why it’s so funny. But the lessons he draws are just as useful for anyone giving a presentation or speech: 1. Edit to the bone Seinfeld notes that “all the […]

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Don’t Swipe Stories — Carve Out Your Own

Are there really people out there telling the same old tired stories about the ship vs. the lighthouse or the Chevy Nova in Latin America? Both are myth, by the way, which doesn’t necessarily disqualify a great story. What does disqualify a story is that it’s been told over and over again by millions of […]

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Where I Have the Temerity to Copyedit Sir Winston Churchill

I came across an excellent article in a little journal known as the New York Times about the “music” of language. It really spoke to me, as I’ve always said that while I have no actual musical talent, I do seem to have a knack for understanding the rhythm and flow of language. That’s probably why I […]

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Adele and The Secret to Writing a Great Speech

Can speechwriting be taught? To an extent, yes. But the key ingredient that separates a good speech from a great speech will always be elusive. I was reminded of this by an NPR story this morning. It described a concept called appoggiatura, which one expert says is the secret to writing a hit song that tugs at the […]

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