RE: Orwellian Job Title

Subject: RE: Orwellian Job Title
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 10:55:25 -0400


I've done a limited amount of speechwriting (in business/professional environments rather than political environments) and have read a bit about the latter.

The first peculiar characteristic I think you need to succeed (that is, of the requirements not listed in the job description) is the ability to adopt the voice and diction of the speaker. If you don't have a good ear for phrasing that will sound natural coming from your client, you won't get far. And that means being able to draw a quick caricature of the speaker's mannerisms after just a few minutes listening to and watching the person. You may, after all, never get to meet face-to-face if the person is of sufficiently high office; but you should have access to tapes, at least.

The other key factor in a political environment (William Safire and Peggy Noonan are two people who have written extensively on the subject) is an almost preternatural instinct for political nuance. You really need to know what is in play at every moment. What are the specific words and phrases that send signals to particular constituencies? How do you sound like you are making two contradictory commitments to two different groups at the same time?

I think political speechwriters are policy wonks with a gift for a turn of phrase rather than writers who have boned up on politics.


"Darren Barefoot" <darren -dot- barefoot -at- capeclear -dot- com> wrote:

> Anybody
>have any speech writing experience (in terms of politics...I don't want
>to hear about your PowerPoint presentation) they'd care to talk about?

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