How a ceremonial speech can be your leader's most powerful work

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Ceremonial speeches can be powerful and uplifting and carry life’s deepest feeling into the public arena.

So how come they’re so often such a snooze?

Some speechwriters run from the ceremonial speech, spooked by its nebulous nature and high failure rate. But Lucinda Holdforth shows how it can become the most important and powerful speech of all—and transform the speaker's reputation.

She breaks down how to get it right.

In this session Lucinda will share:

  • 5 basic principles of ceremonial speeches
  • 9 checkpoints that will make your ceremonial speech a success
  • How some of history's greatest speeches started out as ceremonial remarks—including the Gettysburg Address—and turned into epoch-making moments
  • How to use the speech to reveal your leader's inner values and beliefs and forge a powerful connection with the audience
  • How to find the single action message in an occasion that appears to have no purpose
  • How to advance your principal's broader agenda in business, public service or politics
  • How to harness the emotions surrounding the occasion and create catharsis in your audience

She explains why you should first do no harm. Get your facts right, and don’t create problems. Know your real audience(s), and don’t spin.

Find out how, when it isn’t working, to go up a level. Learn how to make a speech a dialogue, not a monologue.

Learn from somber events, like Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s comments in the ceremony commemorating the Bali bombing. Gain tips on researching events, studying the run sheet and researching a speaker.

Make it new, and choose your real audiences. Honor the ceremony, and be rigorous about structure. Find out how to slow it down, and end with action.

You’re a professional speechwriter. Don’t sniff at the ceremonial speech. Never condescend to write it. Don’t underestimate its power.

Remember that the greatest speechwriting president in our history devoted his whole intellect and passion to the crafting of two transcendently brief inaugurals and a three-minute battlefield oration that nobody heard or noticed.

Before you hold forth on corporate occasions, listen to Holdforth. It’s right here.

March 2013

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Presenter bio: 

Lucinda Holdforth

Lucinda Holdforth is a speechwriter to the CEO of Qantas, writing some of Australia's most prominently quoted speeches of 2011. Recognized within the Australian corporate and political worlds as a leading speechwriter, she is often invited to speak and teach seminars on speechwriting by literary festivals and corporate clients. Since 1998, she has specialized in speechwriting, collaborating with the chairmen and chairwomen, directors, and CEOs of Australian and international companies such as Telstra, Thales, Alcatel and Westpac.