Handout: Our Writing So Far: Some Common Problems and Specific Suggestions
80-90% of the time, an extemporaneous speech is better than a manuscript speech.
Hierarchy of speech quality (Bucket Analogy):
Worst is a Bad Extemporaneous speech, which can be improved by composing a manuscript (10% of speeches given). Then comes a Bad Manuscript. (40%). A Good Extemporaneous speech is next best. It is worth it to learn to write a good Manuscript, because those speeches can be the best; they require the right time, place, topic, audience, and speaker.
Advantages of manuscripts:
7) Symbolic Value – Caring (a speaker can show he or she cares by using notes – Cher said that her speech at Sonny Bono’s funeral was so important she had to write it down)
8) Institutionalizing (Before Delivery) – set the stage for the speech, advance its purpose, get buy-in.
9) After-Life (a manuscript is communicable through more channels than an extemporaneous speech after it is delivered)
Why More Professional Speechwriters:
1) Growing Complexity of Subject Matter
2) Growing Complexity and Multiplicity of Audiences
3) Speakers have less time to write
4) Speaker are less expert on many topics
5) Audiences spoiled – exposed to best writers
6) Audiences Overwhelmed by Information Glut (Need to Cut through Clutter)
7) Speeches wear out quicker
8) More Speeches being given
9) Writing skills generally in decline
10) Proactive Needs: “Strategic Speechwriting” – scheduling, selecting the audience, fitting the speech into a larger strategy
What makes a good manuscript speech?
Speechwriting is an art form, distinct from other kinds of writing. Writing for the ear is very different from writing for the eye, a “different language”.
3 Reasons why the Ear is different than the Eye:
1) The Ear is slower than the mouth
2) The ear has a lousy memory – rhyming an rhythmic music and poetry is the exception – speechwriting should be about music, poetry, and pictures.
3) The ear cannot pause, rewind, or fast forward
No, “In one eye and out the other”, or “I can hear it in my mind’s ear”
To manage the ear, use the following:
1) Partitioning (Organization)
4) Poetry – music, rhythm, sound