If, like me, you are nearly washed out with party political speeches right now, then spare a thought for the speech writer. They have put in a shift over the last six weeks of political activity. It makes you wonder where they get the time or, the sources of speech writer inspiration.
Of course, that inspiration might come from one or other of the following:
1. You can expect events to be a rich source for speech writer inspiration. Just think of the speeches that we've heard since the appalling events in Westminster, Manchester and Borough market. Events can suggest problems, causes and solutions. Rich sources of inspiration for any speech. Unfortunately, most speeches made in the aftermath of such events are either flannel or recommend all the wrong solutions. They aren't always that productive.
2. Words can always inspire. So the words, phrases or speeches of another person will provide speech writer inspiration. That's not surprising. Because we joust with our conversation. And we also verbally joust, on a more formal basis, with our speeches.
3. A sense of place can be instructive for anyone who has to write their speech. Pick a room, any room. Or, pick a location, any location. For some writers this is everything. We know that Winston Churchill liked to write when he was in the bath. Or, rather, he liked to dictate letters and speeches when he sat in his bath. Someone else, of course, had the task of short-handing his every word. We noted this week that Winston Churchill's bedroom will open for view this year at Chartwell. That bedroom includes a secretary's chair, set adjacent to the bathroom! Perfection.
And, lest we forget, there's also the gruesome section in Alastair Campbell's book, "The Blair Years", in which Alastair writes a speech whilst sharing the bathroom with Tony Blair. Exactly. I did say it was gruesome.
4. Don't forget your senses when you need to write a speech and you want inspiration. We've already considered "hearing" when we used words as a source of inspiration. But that inspiration could be music or poetry. We know that Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, took inspiration from poetry with Reagan's "Challenger" speech. Very effective.
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
Ronald Reagan and speech writer Peggy Noonan
But, equally important might be a sense of smell, or taste, or, perhaps, touch. When you are surrounded with familiar things you can certainly give of your creative best. No matter that might be the gritty environs of the city or the peace of a seashore, both can be inspirational for the speech writer. Enjoy the place. And make it work for you.
"Events, Dear Boy, events."
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+
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