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The Political Speechwriter's Companion
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The Political Speechwriter's Companion
A Guide for Writers and Speakers

Second Edition


August 2019 | 536 pages | CQ Press

Can you really learn to write speeches?

The Political Speechwriter's Companion guides students through a systematic “LAWS” approach (language, anecdote, wit, and support) that politicians can use to persuade their audiences into taking action. In the highly anticipated Second Edition, esteemed speechwriter and author Robert A. Lehrman has teamed up with one of the "go-to-guys" for political humor, Eric Schnure, to offer students an entertaining yet practical introduction to political speechwriting. This how-to guide explains how speakers can deliver: 

  • language the audience will understand and remember, 
  • anecdotes that make listeners laugh and cry, 
  • wit that pokes fun at opponents but also shows their own lighter side, and
  • support in the way of statistics, examples, and testimony. 

Packed with annotated speeches from the most recent elections, technology tips, and interviews from speechwriting luminaries, this edition offers the most practical advice and strategies for a career in political communication.  


 
Preface
 
Foreword
 
Introduction: Why Speechwriting Matters
Does Speechwriting Matter?

 
Why This Book?

 
Why Focus Only on Political Life?

 
 
PART I: LAYING THE FOUNDATION
 
Chapter 1. The Political Speech
Politicians Must Speak More

 
Politicians Must Persuade

 
Politicians Must Be Liked

 
Politicians Must Stay Upbeat

 
Politicians Must Speak to Average Folks

 
Politicians Must Get Quoted

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 2. Persuasion
Persuasion: The Questions

 
Persuasion: The Modes

 
Appealing to Reason

 
Appealing to Emotion

 
Appealing through Characterization

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 3. Audiences
Who Are Your Audiences?

 
What Makes Each Audience Unique?

 
What Do Audiences Feel about the Speaker?

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 4. Research
Researching the Event

 
Researching the Ideas

 
Researching the Poetry

 
Final Words

 
 
PART II: HOW TO DO IT
 
Chapter 5. Structure
Why Monroe Works Well in Politics

 
Other Structures

 
Monroe Plus

 
Monroe in Practice: Four Tips

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 6. Language People Understand
Writing for Clarity

 
Reading versus Hearing

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 7. Language People Remember
Making Language Vivid

 
Making Language Rhythmic

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 8. Anecdote
Relevant, Remembered, Ready to Act

 
Types and Tips

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 9. Wit
Writing to Make Them Laugh

 
How to Do It

 
Formulas

 
Types and Tips

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 10. Support
Using Evidence

 
Types of Evidence

 
Making Evidence Memorable

 
Arguing Responsibly

 
Fallacies

 
Final Words

 
 
PART III: APPLICATIONS
 
Chapter 11. Beginnings
Attention

 
Praise, Thanks, Acknowledgments

 
Getting Serious and Stating the Purpose

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 12. Problems
Structure

 
Language

 
Anecdote

 
Wit

 
Support

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 13. Solutions
Inspire Solutions with Language

 
Inspire Solutions through Ethos

 
The Three Ps: Proposal, Persuasion, Punch Line

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 14. Writing Conclusions
Four-Part Close: The Steps

 
Four-Part Close: Strategy

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 15. Delivery
Elements of Delivery

 
Delivery’s Best Practice: Practice

 
Expanding Your Horizons

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 16. Ethics
Plagiarism

 
Misleading Listeners

 
Lying

 
Speechwriting: Unethical by Definition?

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 17. The Uneasy Partnership: Advice for Speakers and Writers
For Speakers: What Speechwriters Need from You

 
For Speechwriters: What Speakers Need from You

 
Final Words

 
 
Chapter 18. Final, Final Words
 
Appendix. A Speech for Almost Every Occasion
 
Notes
 
Bibliography
 
Index
 
Index of Speakers
 
About the Authors

“All of us who write and speak and try to help others do so should be grateful."

Lamar Alexander
United States Senator for Tennessee

"A classic for anyone who cares about speech, or covers it."

 

Al Hunt
Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News Washington Bureau

 "By far the best book on speechwriting I have ever read:"

Dan Pink
New York Times bestselling author, and former White House speechwriter

"This solid guide for speechwriters and speechgivers, written by a pair of the top practitioners of the art, makes both the philosophical case of why speechwriting matters and the very practical one of precisely how to make a speech work."

Susan Page
Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY Author of “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty”

"The Political Speechwriter's Companion is the first book on speechwriting I ever read, and it's the first one I recommend to anyone seriously interested in speechwriting as a craft. If you work in political communications (or really any type of communications) this belongs in your office." 

David Litt
Former Speechwriter for President Obama Best selling author of ”Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years”
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • A foreword by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) offers a rare view of the speechwriting process drawing from his four decades as a national figure.
  • An expanded discussion of ethics clarifies for students the definition of an unethical speech and provides examples of recent speeches that were plagiarized or misleading. 
  • New content on technology provides students with new websites and avenues to communicate—making it easier for students to their conduct research and expand their reach.
  • Influences from political life are integrated throughout each chapter to help students understand the motivation for speeches and the true stories that have influenced the language. 
  • New co-author Eric Schnure draws from years of speechwriting experience to help students develop good speechwriting skills. Called by one reporter the "go-to-guys" for political humor in Washington, he also provides insights into the roasts that are part of Washington life. 
  • An expanded discussion on persuasion provides students with a critical assessment of the elements of persuasion, as well as the reasons why persuasive speech has dominated the field. 
  • A new interview with Dr. Elvin Lim, author of The Anti-Intellectual Presidency, enables students to develop a more nuanced view about issues discussed in the book by examining the views of someone whose ideas are opposite of the authors. 

KEY FEATURES:

  • Annotated Speeches provide students with important notes and help clarify the variety of techniques used in speechwriting. 
  • Interviews with some of the best speechwriters in the country offer students helpful tips for crafting a successful speech. 
  • “Behind the Scenes” insights from historic speeches give students a glimpse into the work that it takes to pull off an effective speech. 
  • Multiple exercises throughout the book enable students to practice and build their speechwriting skills. 
  • A “Speechwriter’s Checklist” at the end of every chapter reminds students of the most important things they will need to remember when drafting a speech. 
  • “As Delivered” boxes point students to a series of web links where they can watch the speeches being discussed in the book.  


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Political Speech

Chapter 4: Research


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