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The following excerpt is from my book, “How To Make Your Speech Sound Like Music To Their Ears.” It is scheduled for release March 2018.
“P.S. I’ve been meaning to ask you. Do you play any musical instruments?”
The question at the end of my client’s email came straight out of left field.
I had written a speech for her and she was following up to give me feedback on how the audience had responded. They loved it.
As a speechwriter, I love to receive that type of feedback. Quite frankly, it never gets old. Her ‘p.s.’, however, had me puzzled. It had nothing to do with anything we had previously discussed.
“Why would she want to know that?” I thought to myself.
After congratulating her on a job well done, I turned my attention to answering her question.
I had indeed attempted, and stopped, playing two different instruments during school. I played the tenor saxophone in the seventh grade, and piano in the 10th. My mother also enrolled me in ballet, tap, and jazz classes in my early years. But my major involvement with music would happen later in life.
I went on to become the assistant conductor of the Toronto Mass Choir and would later join the original cast of “The Lion King,” in Toronto, Canada, as a member of the singing ensemble and as the understudy for Mufasa.
So even though I didn’t play an instrument, music was definitely a part of my make up.
But I had to know—why did she ask?
This was her response to my question:
“The reason I ask is because a tip I learned a long time ago was—when you’re looking for a great speech writer, and I can quote, “Do yourself a favor and first ask whether he or she is musical at all. Find out if they play any kind of instrument—or sing.”
They went on to say that THE best speech writers all have some musical talent. Because—a speech is made to be “listened to” so it has to have rhythm. Quiet parts and then crescendos. Changes in pitch and pace and overall structure and shape. It has to have words that are easy to say and clear to be understood and appreciated by those listening to it.
In essence … they write for the ear.
And—when I read your final product (in terms of the speech), I felt it had these things. And I actually mentioned to my husband at the time, “I’ll bet John is musical in some way.” So—I kept meaning to ask, but forgot. I guess you could say I was checking the theory. Not sure if you’ve heard similar comparisons to musical and writing—talents—but there’s the comparison.
What do ‘ya think?”
I wasn’t sure what I thought. You see, when it came to writing speeches, I hadn’t examined how I did what I did. I just did it. I was what you might call an ‘unconscious competent.’ But now I was curious.
Had I been using my musical talents to write speeches all along? Was there really a connection between musical elements and successful speeches?
I had to find out.
I scoured the Internet in search of articles, research papers, books, videos— any information that connected the two. But my search turned up little—very little.
So, rather than looking for information connecting the two, I chose a different approach. I researched the two subjects individually.
I researched information on how to write songs. I interviewed musicians. I dusted off my old music books and reacquainted myself with music theory.
Then I studied the composition of some the most memorable speeches in history. Speeches such as:
“I Have a Dream” – Martin Luther King Jr. 1963
“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” – Winston Churchill – 1940
“Kennedy’s Inauguration Speech” – John F. Kennedy – 1961
“Yes We Can” – Barack Obama – 2008
Once I brought my research together, I was amazed by what I had discovered. There was, indeed, a connection between music and successful speeches. Not only was there a connection between music and speeches, there were eight essential elements that made speeches sound like music to the ears. The eight essential elements can be used by anyone even if they don’t have musical talent or knowledge of music theory.
That’s what I’ll be sharing with you throughout this book—how to use the eight essential elements of music in your speeches.
Whether you’re a politician, professional speaker, CEO, consultant, team leader, communications specialist, world-class athlete, student, preacher, teacher or entrepreneur, this book will show you how to develop and deliver speeches that will improve your powers of persuasion, build your reputation, and move your audience to take action.
Whether you write speeches or deliver them, whether you are new to giving speeches or experienced, once you learn how to weave the eight essential elements of music into your speeches, audiences will say your speech sounded like music to their ears.
So, are you ready to make beautiful music together?
Good. Music, Maestro!
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I’d love to get your feedback in the comments section. Has this piqued your interest? If it has, and if you would like to read more, fill out the form located on this page. The next chapter will be sent to you once it’s completed.
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