When you think of a copywriter, you may think of advertising campaigns, website copy and general content. But if you’re planning to give a speech, talk or presentation soon, a copywriter can help make it a success. Whether live or online, a good speech is engaging, convincing and leads to the desired action. Born speakers hardly exist. Smart speakers, however, do. Smart speakers call a copywriter to assist them as a ghostwriter.
The Corona press conferences and speeches from the throne
Speaking in times of prosperity is not that difficult: you string together a number of success stories, spotlight some people, everyone’s happy. The writers of the Corona press conference or the recent speech from the Throne have a much harder time at stringing together a feel-good speech. There is hardly any good news. And there are opposing forces who are strongly against the policy. How do you create the story in such a way that you achieve your goal?
Aristotle still rules
Quite special that the basic principles that the Greek died in 322 BC philosopher and scientist Aristotle, can still be found in the texts of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and King Willem Alexander. According to Aristotle, 3 things determine the success of a speech:
- Ethos – the speaker is seen as credible and so the audience is convinced
- Pathos – evoking emotions
- Logos – the persuasiveness of the arguments used
If these 3 elements are well balanced, your speech cannot be broken.
Structuring a speech
OK, you’re going to give a speech. About a topic. For an audience. You probably know a lot about your topic, but don’t. Choose the 3 most important points and build your speech around them. People cannot remember more than 3 things, so a more complex story does not stick.
Choose 3 important points and build your speech around them
These 3 main points immediately give your speech a nice framework, together with an introduction and conclusion. In your introduction, you grab the attention with a personal anecdote, a provocative statement or a good joke.
During the recent Speech from the Throne, Willem Alexander, for example, shared his feelings about the empty Dam on 4 May, as an example of the strange times in which we live. The aim of your introduction is to create recognition and provide context. Treat the introduction as a warm-up for your story.
Provide your 3 main topics with arguments, which you substantiate with research, anecdotes, facts, figures and the emotions that the audience feels – or what you want them to feel. Keep in mind that our subconscious brain is much more active than our conscious brain and that therefore emotions communicate faster and has a longer-lasting effect than facts. Repeat your 3 points in your conclusion and clearly state what you want from your audience.
It actually works like writing online texts, taking SEO terms into account. A good SEO copywriter also chooses a small number of terms and keeps them repeated on the pages of a website, for example.
For an audience, whoever is speaking generally resonates more than the content of their speech. So make sure you are seen as credible. Preferably you don’t do that yourself, because that quickly sounds boastful. Make sure the audience knows in advance who is going to speak or let the chairman of the day announce you.
It is not without reason that Prime Minister Mark Rutte organizes the press conferences himself. And in every speech, he refers to the scientists and experts who consulted him. All to emphasize the authority of the speaker and the chosen policy. This is how Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge build their credibility.
We hire a lot more from someone we find nice, funny, and empathetic. Sympathy is thus an indispensable part of any speech. But if the message is predominantly negative, as with the press conferences on Corona, this is even more important.
So give your audience full attention. Show understanding for the dire situation you find yourself in. Give compliments for how they deal with this. That is why during the Corona press conferences the groups in society that are having a hard time are clearly identified and acknowledged. Think of the health care workers, the entrepreneurs and the self-employed. All Dutch people are complimented if we adhere to the measures. After all, only together can we get Corona under control.
The social burden of proof also plays a role here. If your audience feels that many are behaving in a particular way, others are inclined to follow suit. The reverse is also true. If Minister Grapperhaus does not have to comply with the rules, then neither do we.
You don’t convince anyone with a confusing, incoherent story. And that is exactly what makes the Corona press conferences so difficult. It is all about navigating the fog. This always results in new facts and a modified approach. Which is different from neighbouring countries. And this only fuels the thoughts of the opponents of the policy: “You see, they don’t know.” It plays into the hands of conspiracy thinkers.
Fortunately, for most speeches, you can communicate a consistent story to the audience.
Positive and negative
In speeches or presentations with a less rosy content, it is important to keep the positive and negative charge in balance. Let’s take a look at how that went during the last Speech from the Throne.
De Koning started his speech cautiously yet positively, by naming the emotions felt together. By thanking the healthcare workers and by establishing that the Dutch are there for each other in times of need. In short, that we are a resilient society. Then the urgency of his message was indicated. That it is about the safety of all of us and that everyone can be a victim.
A nice emotional intermezzo followed, in which the letter from a war veteran was quoted, who requested the youth to keep to the rules.
Keep the positive and negative parts in balance
Then the acid is administered, in the form of gloomy economic forecasts. Directly behind it the measures that are being taken to deal with this setback, such as a third support package.
Then some other negative trends within society follow, including the climate crisis. And here, too, an immediate impetus for an answer, in the form of a growth fund of 20 billion for sustainable initiatives in particular. We are thus taken on a rollercoaster of negative and positive messages and emotions.
The ending sounds hopeful of course: ‘together we get through this.’
Often a speech is not purely informative, but would also include something from your audience. At the Corona press conferences, these are clearly the RIVM measures that we must adhere to.
How is that with your story? What do you want people to do? Try to define that. And make it accessible. Rather baby scooters than a huge change all of a sudden, because that only scares.
How can a copywriter help you?
A copywriter will help you to consider the content, form and structure of your presentation, presentation or talk. A copywriter knows how many words you can put in a speech of, for example, 15, 30 or 45 minutes.
Your ghostwriter writes, the name says it all, in your mind. They live in your audience. And use his or her writing talent to convey your story powerfully.
If you are in front of a live audience, completely different rules apply than with a live stream. A copywriter is also well versed in this.
Are you going to give a presentation soon? Then leave the sweat and toil on a good text to a freelance copywriter. And enjoy the moment that you can shine with it!
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