In our world today, most writing can be broken into one of two categories: writing to be heard or writing to be read. Writing to be heard could include: speeches, broadcast journalism (for television or radio), screenwriting (for the stage or the screen), pod casts, songwriting, advertising, public service announcements, presentations and more. Writing to be read could include: books, newspapers, magazines, e-zines, essays, short stories, analyses, business writing, dictionaries, text books, brochures and much more. Each style has unique attributes and requires attention to different details.
Speechwriting has long held a special fascination for me. I must have taken six different speech classes in high school and college, each time writing at least five types of speeches, ranging from persuasive to informational. I joined my local Toastmasters several years ago so I could write more speeches and watch others deliver theirs. In my research and writing of speeches, I studied four famous gems, eager to discover their compelling secrets.
“Four score and seven years ago…” (Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address)
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up…” (Martin Luther King Jr., "I have a dream")
“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you…” (John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address)
“Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” (Lou Gehrig, Farewell to Baseball Address)
Each of the above speeches is easily recognizable to most Americans and many of them are quoted time and again years after the original delivery. Why? What makes each of these speeches stand out