We’ve all heard that sticks and stones can break your bones but words can’t. Words may not break bones but they can be a call to action that could result in broken bones. Speech can be powerful. As many PR/marketing practitioners know, writing a speech can be one of the most difficult tasks. You want to get across a message, while maintaining a tone that resonates with the audience. You have to choose words carefully and you have to use humor judiciously. In short, it’s a difficult task. But a good speech and more importantly, a well delivered speech can really sway minds.
I had the privilege of listening to Barack Obama speak this morning. He’s a fantastic orator. I also heard John McCain speak on Monday. Obama is a stronger speaker than McCain, and that is something that can’t be underestimated. This contest will really come down to the power of speech because a good speech can certainly influence opinion. President Reagan was known for his speaking abilities and I would say that is what won him the presidency and kept him there through two terms. George Bush is not known for being a good speaker. Yes, he won the presidency but he won against Kerry, who is certainly not a good speaker. Gore also was known as sounding very wooden. So the bottom line is that it is important what you say (this is where the speechwriters earn their money) but how you say it can make all the difference.