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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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Challenging Conventional Wisdom: On The Best Way To Learn How To Write A Speech

Challenging Conventional Wisdom: On The Best Way To Learn How To Write A Speech

Conventional wisdom and many books on the topic suggest you learn how to write good speeches by reading good speeches.

Well, I’m sorry, but that is not very helpful advice.

If you are into “genre analysis” — may god in her infinite wisdom bless your poor depraved soul – then by all means — read away. And, certainly silently reading a good speech won’t necessarily rot your brain. But it won’t teach you much about what good speechifying is all …

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