Speeches are one of the most powerful forms of communication available to us as we send our message out on a mission. They have the power to inspire, educate, and console. In this episode, we speak with a former U.S. Senate and White House speechwriter about not just speeches, but what they can teach us about our entire messaging approach.
Break ideas down into their constituent pieces. Talk to the experts themselves, and ask them laymans’ questions. Summarize what you heard in your own voice and then verify.
Carefully approach the person who will deliver the speech about the emotional tone of the piece. If they are hesitant to show emotion or authenticity, ask them why.
Shoot for speeches that sound genuine. Authenticity is important because people want to believe you.
Finding a new piece of a story within one that people already know, that’s what makes a speech or a story interesting.
The beginning, middle, and end structure doesn’t always have to go sequentially. Start in the middle or at the end, for example.
Brian Forest is a seasoned speechwriting, messaging, and public affairs veteran who has worked on nearly every major policy issue of the last decade. He has years of experience providing strategic messaging counsel to leaders at the highest levels of business and government—from Fortune 100 CEOs to several of Time’s 100 Most Influential People including congressional leaders, presidents, and prime ministers.
Brian, a longtime senior Senate leadership aide, has crafted messages and strategies that shaped national conversations and helped secure important bipartisan legislative achievements. He also led strategic messaging for a major Washington trade association where he managed public affairs campaigns and provided executive communications support to senior leaders and CEOs. He previously worked in a variety of roles spanning campaigns, journalism, academia, international institutions, state government, the White House, and PR agencies such as Edelman.
He has worked on thousands of remarks and opinion pieces over his career including high-profile national addresses, State of the Union responses, and op-eds that have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and nearly every other major newspaper.
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