One of my favourite things about Facebook is that Jon Favreau’s community page lists him as “musician/band”.
Not just because he’s kind of a rock star (in, you know, speechwriter terms).
But because I’ve argued for a long time that speeches are more than a little like live music:
They rely on pace, rhythm and cadence. Pausing for effect, slowing down for emphasis, switching up sentence length, parallel structure—heck, your keyboard might as well be a drum kit.
They have a dramatic arc. Beginning, middle, end; question, conflict, resolution; a good speech has a strong dramatic structure that drives home the message and call to action.
They rely on emotional resonance. No speech works at a purely intellectual level. Persuasion (and I’d argue that every speech ultimately aims to persuade) is an emotional process. And the personal connection an audience feels to a speaker is just as emotional.
They’re bound to time. Neither a speechwriter or a live performer can rely on listeners being able to go back and re-listen if there’s something that wasn’t clear.
This comparison probably won’t help you negotiate a bowl full of green M&Ms and a Perrier fountain at your next speechwriting gig. But maybe it can help you to hear a little of the music in your writing—and strike a stronger (wait for it) chord with your next audience.
Our family spent the last two weeks in one of my favourite cities, San Francisco. (“One of,” Portland. Don’t get into a snit.) Our home was perched on a hill in North Beach, where you can’t walk two steps without tripping over a contour line.
This being a family visit, we hit some of the more child-friendly sites, including the temporary home of the Randall Museum, which included a menagerie of rescued and domestic animals: a raccoon, chickens, ravens, crows, a barn owl, guinea pigs, a rabbit… the kids loved it. That said, I have a proposal for livening things up a little.
See the rest of the sketchbook
Jon Stewart’s farewell episode of The Daily Show wrapped with a fantastic Bruce Springsteen performance, which Stewart introduced with “Here it is, my moment of Zen.”
Twitter lit up, and rightly so; Springsteen’s song and the mass assembly of current and former TDS correspondents will probably be the most talked-about parts of the finale in the next several days.
But it’s the segment before Springsteen’s valediction that I hope has some lasting impact, because it got at the heart of what Jon Stewart seemed to me to be aiming to do for the last decade and a half. Continue reading
Here’s a higher-res version of my drought cartoon, which ran yesterday in the Vancouver Observer. (I love the VO, so I’m pretty chuffed about that!)
As always, there are lots more cartoons at Noise to Signal.
I have a cartoon on The Vancouver Observer today! It’s about Vancouver’s horribly dessicated future.
This is my favourite news story in a long time. At a concert last Saturday in Quebec City, the Foo Fighters demanded that news photographers sign a contract allowing news outlets to print their photos exactly once, after which over all rights to those photos would pass to the band’s management company. Photographers would never see another dime, or even necessarily get credit.
Oh, and according to Global News, Foo Fighters’ management had the right to nix any photos before publication.
So how did Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil respond? Continue reading
The best 12 words of speaking advice I’ve seen in a long time came from this article:
WRITE your speech from the heart. DELIVER your speech from your skill.
Your passion is real—but it isn’t always available on command. To convey the passion behind your ideas every time you speak demands skill and practice.
Filed under: Speaking, Speechwriting Tagged: passion