Politics has always been more talk than action. Therefore, the ability to write a great political speech is a key success factor in politics, anywhere you go. Remember, politics happens all the time, and not only during elections.
Here are 7 practical tips for public relations consultants and political campaign handlers on how to write a great political speech.
Research and know thy audience
The more you know about your target audience, their needs, their desires, and their pain points, the more effective your writing will be.
Every good speech is written with a target in mind. While it’s important to command a general appeal, your political speech must have a core. That comes from researching and anticipating your audience.
The beginning of a political speech is when you have the attention of your listeners and how you proceed from there will determine if you will get their interest or lose it. Always begin your opening with shocking fact, statistics, a humorous anecdote related to your big idea or a poser like Martin Luther King Jr “I have a Dream”.
Get your listeners engaged early and keep the preliminaries short.
Connect but dare to be different
Connecting with your audience is probably the most important ingredient in delivering a great political PR speech. The next most important thing is to dare to be different.
You want a speech that’ll be memorable. Many times, an audience may only remember a single line. An example is John F. Kennedy’s declaration in his 1961 inaugural address: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Credibility, emotion and logic
Aristotle framed his speeches around three core elements. Your political touch will be more persuasive if you do the same. The speech elements are:
- Ethos – The credibility of the speaker as perceived by the audience.
- Pathos – The emotional connections you make with the audience.
- Logos – The sound logical argument brought forth in your speech.
That way, your political speech will have a clear path and a destination.
Repeat but don’t be boring
Repetition helps people remember your political speech, drives home the topic of your speech and leaves an impression.
Repetition certainly has power, but it can also be hideously boring if the speech lacks depth and intelligence.
Use the power of silence and transition
To help drive home your point, utilize transitional phrases to signal intent. For example, take a rhetorical question like “What does this mean” – and follow it with a pause. Silence gets attention – and this tactic creates anticipation (along with awakening those who’ve drifted off).
Similarly, a phrase like “So here’s the lesson” also captures an audience’s interest. It alerts them that something important is about to be shared. Even if they weren’t paying attention before, they can tune in now and catch up.
Close with a bang
Any blunders or omissions made in your main political speech can be forgiven by the audience if you have a strong closing.
Close with what you want your audience to remember. Recap your biggest takeaway. Tie everything together. Share a success story. Make a call to action. Don’t hold anything back. Your ending is what the audience will ultimately talk about when they head out the door.
With all these points on hand, public relations consultants will help their political clients write great political speeches. Remember to win it, not wing it.