FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I have done very many events when I have discussed the process of writing speeches, how I do it and how it is best done (those two things may not be the same, of course). I have gathered here the most common questions and given a version of the answer I usually offer.
The speech process can vary a great deal. It depends on your preference as a writer and it depends crucially on how the speaker likes to work. The usual process with Prime Minister Tony Blair was that we would have a meeting a week before the event and discuss the basic thesis of the speech. We would always be sure to have the main argument, at least in a bare form. Without that it’s not really possible to do anything at all. But that would suffice to let me know what research I needed. I would then commission the work I needed and get to work on a thorough outline of the speech.
It depends on the speech. Some speeches are designed to convey information and some are meant to be persuasive. Some are meant to inspire although those are the most difficult to get right. As a general rule I would not separate the passion from the argument. If the passion does not serve a serious argument it is likely to be synthetic.