Book Reviews


Writing Effective Speeches

Author: Henry Ehrlich
Publisher Reed Press
Publication Date: February 2004

Reviewer:Joel Klebanoff
Joel Klebanoff, is a copywriter and marketing communications consultant specializing in the information technology industry. He is president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc.

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At some point in their careers -- typically, often in their careers -- most marketers must prepare a presentation. Usually it's a speech they give themselves. Alternatively, it may be one given by a colleague who is more technically knowledgeable, but less adept at the art and science of preparing presentations. Then again, you may be planning on earning your living by writing speeches. Whatever the case, speech writing is an important skill for every marketer.

We've all seen examples of speeches from across the quality spectrum:

  • Content rich, but bores the audience to tears
  • Above or below the audience's comprehension level and/or information requirements
  • All of the content is there, but it's so poorly organized as to be impossible to follow
  • Bang on. The content has the proper breadth and depth. It's well organized and presented in an engaging way.
What makes the difference between a good and bad speech? Presentation is important. A charismatic speaker will always score more points than a dull one. However, the best of speakers can't salvage a bad speech. This book will help you get the speech right.

You'll find tips and discussions on:

  • openers
  • closers
  • humor
  • quotations
  • style
  • clichés
  • and more
The book also describes how to tackle specific speaking assignments such as "public service announcements," introductions of other speakers, award presentations and acceptances, and motivational speeches.

Writing for others can present challenges that are not obvious to someone who has never done it. Ehrlich provides a few pointers both on how to write the speech and how to coach the speaker.

When it comes to giving and writing speeches, there is no substitution for experience. That notwithstanding, this is a good no-nonsense book that can help build your speech writing skills.