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It is the season to bloviate….

via GIPHY

During every election season commentators and speechwriters like to bring out the word “bloviate” to describe the bombast that comes out of politicians’ mouths. It seems a good time to resurrect the word since we have had recent elections in Canada, and an ongoing campaign in the US, with no end to the bloviating by candidates.

Bloviate is a delightfully onomatopoeic word sounding much like it means.

H.L. Mencken perhaps best caught the essence of bloviation when he …

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Backward Speech Writing

Backward Speech Writing

Sometimes starting a speech can be the most difficult part of the writing process.  We all know how critically important it is to hook the audience in the first minute or two, because if we lose them at the beginning, it is very difficult to get them back. However, it is all too easy to get so fixated on crafting the perfect opening, that we get frozen into a sort of writer’s block where we won’t proceed until we get …

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The Mind’s Ear

The Mind’s Ear

Some years ago, I was editing someone else’s speech — a dreadful bit of work that put me to sleep within the first two paragraphs.

The problem was easy to identify.

I was looking at a text meant to be read silently – not spoken aloud.

It was written for the eye, not the ear.

It was filled with overblown words and phrases that we would never use in conversation. There was no rhythm. No pattern. Nothing to engage me …

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A Singular Profession: The Strange Life Of A Freelance Speechwriter

A Singular Profession: The Strange Life Of A Freelance Speechwriter

A little over two decades ago, when I flung my medically insured/index pensioned/well-paid government job to the winds, and hung up my “speechwriter” shingle, my colleagues emailed their congratulations, always mentioning how “brave” I was. I took that to be code for how “stupid” I was.

“What makes him think he can write speeches and who hires freelance speechwriters anyway?” I could hear them asking. The answer to the first question was simple: I had worked in communications in one …

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The Beached Whale Syndrome

The Beached Whale Syndrome

You may have heard about – and let me assure you I have no personal knowledge of, nor can I possibly comment on – the syndrome that has over the generations been ascribed by some women to some of their male romantic partners. And it invariably seems to be males who suffer from the malady.

I am referring of course to what has been popularly known as the beached whale syndrome.

Some of you undoubtedly know the drill. After an

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