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About this book

This book provides students, researchers, and practitioners of speechwriting with a unique insight in the theory, history, and practice of speechwriting. The combination of theory and practice with case studies from the United States and Europe makes this volume the first of its kind. The book offers an overview of the existing research and theory, analysing how speeches are written in political and public life, and paying attention to three central subjects of contemporary speechwriting: convincing characterization of the speaker, writing for the ear, and appealing with words to the eye. Chapters address the ethics and the functions of speechwriting in contemporary society and also deliver general instructions for the speechwriting process. This book is recommended reading for professional speechwriters wishing to expand their knowledge of the rhetorical and theoretical underpinnings of speechwriting, and enables students and aspiring speechwriters to gain an understanding of speechwriting as a profession.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Case for Speechwriting

Abstract
In this chapter, we introduce the practice of speechwriting by basing it on the classical foundation of the art of rhetoric. We acknowledge our indebtedness to Greek and Roman developments of rhetorical theories as foundational to the practice of speechwriting. We detail the depth and spread of the utility of speechwriting from ancient time to contemporary experiences. The chapter highlights the usefulness of speechwriting in the political and business arenas as primary areas where speechwriters can be found. The chapter also pays special attention to the anomaly between the technological advances that have come along to assist the practice of speaking in public and the high degree to which the art of public speaking has not changed much since antiquity.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 2. Speechmaking in the Twenty-First Century

Abstract
In this chapter, we argue that new media is not a threat, but an opportunity for speechmaking. Internet and video are potential vehicles for the speechwriter’s words, creating a renaissance of speechwriting. Speechmaking has earned its place in human history and contemporary society because of its distinguishing characteristics: A speech is not a text, but a physical and situational event unfolding in a specific sphere of time and space. It is an oral and physical performance highly dependent on the character and use of the speaker’s body and voice. Speeches are especially good at creating community and making a personal case. The chapter also addresses the everyday, conversational style, which dominates much contemporary speechmaking.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 3. The Beginning of Speechwriting

Abstract
In this chapter, we introduce the classical theories of rhetoric that are foundational for contemporary speechwriting. We outline some of the basic concepts in the ancient Greek theories on rhetoric, notably Aristotle’s’ On Rhetoric, the first treatise on rhetoric, and additions made by Roman scholars. We explain how a cultural climate in ancient Greece gave rise to professional speechwriting for others: logography. When politicians and officials had to address large crowds in state matters, they sought advice from intellectuals and educators who taught rhetoric and philosophy. We present some of these professionals, often referred to as ‘Sophists,’ who also wrote speeches for citizens who had to deliver a speech in court. In ancient Rome, where citizens were allowed to have advocates speak on their behalf in court, the most important kind of speechmaking beside the courts was the political speech.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 4. Research and Theory on Speechwriting

Abstract
This chapter provides an overview of scholarly research in speechwriting. Most research deals with presidential rhetoric in the USA and describes speechwriting in different administrations of the White House. These studies are generally based on historical research and biographies as well as interviews with former and active speechwriters. Outside the USA, most research comes from Northern Europe, often examining the process of speechwriting in government ministries. We describe three main areas of contemporary research in speechwriting: firstly, the issue of ethics both in politics and in corporate communication; secondly, research on institutional and processual issues; thirdly, research on speaker style, character, and authenticity; and finally, we mention the ways speechwriting are studied, with interviewing speechwriters as the most common.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 5. The Rhetorical Canons of Speechwriting

Abstract
In this chapter, we present three tasks from the rhetorical canon that all speechwriting must engage in order to compose a coherent and persuasive speech. The first, finding content and arguments, involves a structured method of researching, the topical system. The second task, organizing the speech, involves reflection on the function of the parts. Our focus is on the speech consisting of four parts: introduction, narrative, argument, and epilogue. Presenting the third task, creating persuasive language and style, we argue that style is vital to the construction and meaning. We outline the basic principles of rhetorical style and advice speechwriters to use rhetorical figures to structure the argument, enhance communion with the audience, and make the speech memorable.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 6. Genres of Speechwriting

Abstract
In this chapter, we explore the notion of speech genres and how they can guide the speechwriter. In paying close attention to Greek and Roman canons of rhetoric, we view speechwriting processes primarily through their substantive, stylistic, and situational similarities. We outline the primary genres used in political speech in the USA and in Europe. We also ground these two settings in the Aristotelian typology of ceremonial, deliberative, and judicial speeches. We note that most political speeches are developed around the ceremonial and deliberative types and that there are overlaps between the European and American speechmaking such as assessing information relevant to a given speech, policy recommendation, and rehearsing national values. Finally, we note the unique position of invention in the relationship between speaker and speechwriter.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 7. How Speeches Are Written

Abstract
This chapter describes how speechwriting is carried out in organizations. We describe the phases and organization of speechwriting in governments and ministries and discuss the consequences of institutional writing. We provide three case studies that illuminate such speechwriting processes: Firstly, the writing of the government declaration for the German Bundeskanzler, which is delivered once a year. Secondly, the writing of a speech for a Danish government minister, involving an extensive, bureaucratic process of revision and approval. Thirdly, speechwriting for US presidents, where process and organization differ depending on the president. Finally, we categorize different forms of collaboration in speechwriting. Among these are: the counselor, the group, the line, and the hired gun. We also distinguish between the speechwriter as writer and the speechwriter as editor.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 8. Characterizing the Speaker

Abstract
This chapter is devoted to the craft of characterizing the speaker. To write a speech that fits the speaker and that the speaker is comfortable in delivering, the speechwriter must observe the speaker’s personality. The concern for characterizing the speaker’s personality influences the speech as a whole, and the speechwriter writing a speech for somebody else therefore needs to consider both argument and style in an individual light. After presenting approaches to characterization in classical rhetoric, we introduce a method for creating believable character based on analysis of the speakers’ individual style, preferred way or arguing, and intellectual and physical capacity.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 9. Writing for the Ear

Abstract
In this chapter, we reflect on the oral aspect of speechwriting with a specific focus on how to write for the ear. Speechwriters will have to write in a way that anticipates oral encounters between speakers and audiences, helping the listeners to stay attentive and remember the speech. We discuss how modern speechwriting responds to complex situations that are both oral and written. Through a comparison with literary language, we trace the characteristics and qualities of oral language. In examples and advice, we illustrate how a good manuscript written for the ear may facilitate memorability as well as persuasive rhetorical delivery.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 10. Writing for the Eye: Pictures, Visions, and PowerPoint

Abstract
This chapter explains the importance of visual rhetoric in speechwriting and discusses the power of the visual. Time and again, the ancient rhetoricians encourage us to put events vividly in front of the audience so that they experience them as if they see them with their own eyes. The advice is equally valid today. We show how good speechwriters draw pictures with words, and how speakers may use places and props rhetorically. We discuss the use of visual aids such as PowerPoint. Often speeches using slides end up making the speaker reiterate facts instead of communicating vividly, telling stories, and presenting arguments. Used properly, though, slides may be efficient in presenting a case. We explain how slides can benefit, rather than harm the speech.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 11. The Ethics of Speechwriting

Abstract
In this chapter, we discuss ethical issues surrounding the practice of speechwriting. We outline the code of ethics for speechwriters developed in 2015. We recognize that the very act of writing speeches for others can bring a host of ethical questions and that at the heart of the issue stands the speaker whose words have supposedly been written by another. Yet, upon careful assessment, we argue, this is not the case. Instead, we offer the perspective that most individuals in leadership positions have aides and consultants for various tasks and speaking in public is one of them. We take the work of the speechwriters as an advisor who assists those entrusted with speaking to negotiating effectively a text and context and opting for maximizing a speech’s effect.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 12. The Functions of Speechwriting in Contemporary Society

Abstract
In this chapter, we lay out the functions of speechwriting in contemporary society and explain why it will continue to be a central art and practice. We argue that even though speaking off-the-cuff appears to become more common, and the use of manuscripts appears to become less popular, the future of speechwriting is as promising as its past. The tasks of analyzing rhetorical situations and writing manuscripts will continue. Collaborative writing is a form of collaborative thinking, and thus indispensable to contemporary organizations. New tasks, genres, and forms will be added: micro-speeches, digital technology, and the art of talking speeches into being. The speechwriter of the future will write manuscripts, but will also function as a primary advisor to a leader in the communication arena.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Chapter 13. The General Steps in the Speechwriting Process

Abstract
In this chapter, we outline the general steps speechwriters ought to follow in the process of writing speeches for others. These guidelines are flexible and allow for comfortable adaptation given the varied implementation of speechwriting practices as well as the different approaches in the European and American systems. Our model follows the classical perspective that focuses on topic selection, the speaker-speechwriter negotiation of rhetorical constraints of context and audience as well as determining the fitting style and delivery. The chapter also develops a master rhetorical plan that can be used as a prompt or an outline for speechwriters when drafting a speech, covering the key variables of speech, situation, audience, and a suitable mode of communication.
Jens E. Kjeldsen, Amos Kiewe, Marie Lund, Jette Barnholdt Hansen

Backmatter

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