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Speech Writing Tips
By Thomas Murrell, Thu Dec 8th

Speaking in public can be a powerful way to build a business. Itcan help raise the profile of your business, generate new leadsand create greater profits. But speaking in public can be nervewracking and seriously stressful for first timers. Writing aspeech can be a major challenge, especially for technicalwriters.

We can all learn from watching professional speakers.

I have achieved a long held ambition to hear Bill Clinton - inPerth on Saturday February 23, 2002. It was a fantastic event!

My motivation? Anyone who earns $300,000 for a 50 minute keynotepresentation must be good. As a professional speaker, I wantedto see Clinton in action. I didn't want to only hear what hesaid, but how he said it.

Here's my analysis of what I learnt from hearing Bill Clinton inperson and noting how he was presented. You should be able toadapt at least some of these points to fit your owncircumstances.

1. The marketing strategy

In previous years a big advertising blitz brought audiences tosee speakers such as former Soviet leader Gorbachov and others.Their marketing approach was very commercially focused with amassive advertising budget. The Clinton event had a morehumanitarian angle with funds being raised for a good cause,namely sick kids through The Princess Margaret Hospital forChildren Foundation. This was a better match with Clinton's corevalues of building community and having an empathy with theconcerns of ordinary people. The marketing campaign reliedheavily on positive media coverage to create awareness of theevent.

2. A memorable entry

Clinton's entry to the ballroom was brilliantly stage-managed.Everyone was asked to stand and then he walked into the room tohis US Presidential election theme song 'Happy Days are hereagain'. The emotion in the room was electric and made the hairson the back of my neck stand up!

3. Personal presentation

His dress and presentation was absolutely immaculate. (Maybe the$500 haircuts help.) Many women at my table commented thatClinton was far better looking in the flesh than on TV.

4. The Power of Presence

There was a buzz about being in the same room as PresidentClinton. His body language, smile and confident hand shakeexuded charisma. His considerable charm reminded me of that highschool science experiment when you tip iron filings onto a whitesheet of paper covering a strong magnet. People were attractedto Clinton like metal filings to a powerful magnetic field.

5. Warm-up

Alan Jones was MC and the warm-up included a short film taking alight hearted look at Clinton's last days in office. Scenesincluded Clinton washing the Presidential car, clipping thehedges and playing switchboard operator in the Oval Room. Agreat scene from a press conference showed Clinton waking asingle sleeping journalist.

6. Introduction

A well


constructed introduction helped build empathy andhighlighted that Clinton's life had not all been plain sailing.The fact that his father died when he was young, his mother wasa nursing assistant and he was born in Hope, a town of 10,000people, helped put his success and achievements in context.

7. Building on the sense of destiny

A strong personal brand is built on stories. The story ofClinton meeting President Kennedy when on a youth leadershipcamp was used to great effect. Not only was it mentioned in theintroduction but that famous photo of Clinton shaking JFK's handwas also used in the marketing materials. Other brand buildingshots included an intimate moment with Hilary, a shot of himplaying the saxophone, a jogging photo, one with Chelsea and onefeaturing Clinton lined up with 3 past Presidents. They allhelped to define Clinton the man.

8. Customising the message

Clinton's speech in Perth was customised to include storiesrelevant to a Perth market, including his memories of Perthswitching on its lights at night for a US space mission re-entryand comments on a former US President's career as a miningengineer in Kalgoorlie.

9. Using humour

Clinton had some great lines about how he could have helpedprevious Presidents in dealing with the media in trickysituations.

10. Memorable one liners using opposites

This can be very effective. When talking about possiblesolutions to the war against terrorism, Clinton said "most ofthe big things in life are simple".

11. Repetition

Clinton used this proven speechwriting technique to great effect.

12. Using metaphors

Clinton used the metaphor of the gap between the invention ofthe club and the shield to describe the present situation in thewar against terrorism. He said "this gap needs to closed".Metaphors can give intangible concepts more impact with anaudience.

13. Develop empathy with the audience

Clinton told the story of how he was in Australia at PortDouglas on September 11th and how his daughter Chelsea was indowntown New York. He connected with every parent in the roomwhen he talked about his feelings when he couldn't contact hisdaughter for three hours on that day.

14. A call to action

The aim of the event was to raise money for a Children'shospital. Clinton's final words were "I want you to help".Simple, direct and powerful.

I hope you have enjoyed this analysis. I certainly learnt a lotby seeing one of the world's great communicators in action.Whatever your personal views on Clinton are ... his personalwarmth, ability to connect with an audience and presentationskills are outstanding.

About the author:Would you like to receive 'Media Motivators', a free onlinemedia, marketing and management newsletter? Thomas is available to speak at yournext conference or seminar and can be contacted directly on+6189388 6888


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