A recent article in the Washington Post has taken aim at President Trump’s political rhetoric and in particular referenced the work of American University professor Susan Benesch.
Benesch has spent much of the the last decade of academic research developing a framework to identify what she calls “dangerous speech,” or speech that can lead to violence. To qualify at the level of dangerous speech, she suggests, at least two of these five indicators must be true:
While these may well be very useful guides to understanding what might be an inflammatory speech, a number of these points would also cover some of the most famous speeches in history. Consider Shakespeare’s Henry V “St Crispin’s Day” speech:
“If we are mark'd to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I...Read More
President Kennedy once remarked:"The only reason to make a speech is to change the world". Rather than presenting a daunting ambition, this remark should be an inpiration to us all when making a speech. Because of course, the subtext to his remark was a firm belief that speeches do change your world. They can be a source of enormous personal influence.
And the proof of this lies with President Kennedy himself. He changed the world through speeches. An example: the way he used speeches to change the hearts of minds of America to support his moon landing program. At that time it was far from a popular challenge in the mind of the people or the scientific community. But Kennedy changes all that.
His famous speech at Rice University in which he made that remark "We choose to go to the Moon" is the most well known, but in fact Kennedy made numerous speeches on the subject, all deliberately aimed at changing opinion. In fact he made numerous comments on the subject over a period of a year or more. They serve as a master class for any leader or CEO in how to use speeches to change hearts and minds. In fact a recent article in Forbes magazine, reviews research by Wharton Professor, Andrew Carton, of thousands of pages of documents which breaks down the secret to Kennedy's persuasion into four golden rules:
1. Focus on one clear specific goal.
In 1961, NASA's mission was broad and without a target. Kennedy changed this by creating a clear and ambitious goal. "Our aim is to develop a new frontier in science." he said. That frontier was a moon landing and all that came with it.
2. Give actual objectives.
In a speech to Congress in 1961, Kennedy committed the moon landing to a specific time frame: "before this decade is out". A date...Read More
The Speech Bureau is a collective of world-class speech writers, creating a unique approach to speeches in the 21st century. We help clients use public speaking as a means to excel, to differentiate themselves, their cause or career. "Speech of the Week" is a weekly podcast analysing key speeches from across the globe. Speeches change the world: The Speech Bureau is about speech writing that assists the ambitious to redraw their boundaries.