By Cait Collins
Tonight I listened to the President’s first speech before a joint session of Congress. Don’t worry; I’m not going to discuss politics. Truth is, I kept thinking about the person who wrote the speech. It’s not easy to match another person’s thoughts and emotions and dreams into words that will create a response in the listener. Word choice, examples, cites; and quotes used will incite a reaction in those in the audience. Some will be inspired. Others will be thoughtful. And others could be moved to hate and violence.
Think of the great speeches across the ages. Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” oration inspired rebels to demand their freedom from England. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address…”Fourscore and seven years ago our father’s brought forth on this continent a new nation” sought to bring healing to a war weary nation. What about Hitler’s rantings that incited a nation to hate and murder.
Ministers are wonderful examples of speech writers. Every Sunday they present a message designed to encourage the congregation to seek a better life. Some preach love and forgiveness, and others spew hell fire and damnation. The audience responds to each speaker. Many with joyful acceptance, while others shrink in fear. And some with sit is self-righteous piety thinking they are better than the sinners.
Like writing a story or a novel, a speech has three parts…a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is a call to inspire, inflame, or inform. The middle fleshes out the details. And the end is a call to action. It requires mastery of language arts skills, a deep understanding of human nature, and strong insights into the one who will be delivering the address. Above all it demands impeccable research in appropriate statistics, facts, and examples. Truly a speech writer is a master at his craft. And while some would not consider the speech writer as a professional writer, this craftsman does have a place in alongside novelists, tech writers, copy writers, and text book writers. After all, he earns his living by writing.