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The logic of powerful words in political speech.

Among many ancient inventions of human communication and interaction, such as; the invention of “Letter” “Printing” and “Writing”, that has linked man with the past, present, and the view of the future norm, through highly ingenious discoveries, has a greater matter than that of “Speech”.

Speech, according to Thomas Hobbes, is the greatest and most profitable of all human primary inventions. Hobbes, noted in his writing on the origin of speech. In his philosophical book, “Leviathan”, he pointed out that the author of speech is God almighty himself, in beginning of creations, and when he instructed and commanded the first man, ‘Adam’ to name all creatures as he presented them to his sight. It may be very difficult to make any further ontological verifications, under a scientific or theological trial, than that which is mostly found and read from the scripture in the book of Genesis

He then, defined “Speech”, as that which “Consisting of names or appellations and their connexion, whereby men register their thoughts, recalls them when they are past, and declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation; without which, there would have been amongst men, neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace, such as, no more than among lions, bears, and wolves”.

In contemporary terms, a speech is used to transfer one’s mental thoughts or discourse into verbal expressions, or as the train of one’s thoughts, into a train of words; and that of two commodities, wherefore one is, the registering of the consequences of our thoughts; which being apt to slip out of one’s memory, and then puts one to a new stress, of recalling again of such words as may be marked. E.g., the first use of names is to serve as a mark, or notes of remembrance.

It is important here to note that conception and perception are very much relative in understanding the words of a speech. Knowing clearly, that the nature of what we conceive may be the same, but, the diversity of our receptiveness of a speech, in respect of different constitutions of the body, and prejudices of opinion, would give everything a tincture, (trace) of one’s different passion.

According, to Hobbesian argument, he postulated four principles of a speech, which are;

  • To register information: to register whatever information by cogitation, though found to be the cause of anything, present or past, finding these things present or past may produce or effect, our thoughts, which in sum, is acquiring of arts.
  • The knowledge acquired: the ability to show too others that knowledge which one has attained, is to counsel, and teach one another.
  • Will power: the ability to make known to others one’s will and purposes of which one may have mutual help of one another.
  • Power of orator: the ability to please and delight oneself and others by playing with words, for its pleasure, ornament, or innocently.

In view of these Hobbes also postulated four corresponding negative elements of a speech.

  • Negative registration: these is when one registers a thought wrongly, by the inconsistency of the signification of their words, on which they build upon their conceptions, of which they never conceived, by so doing deceives themselves.
  • Negative expressions: when one use words metaphorically that is in other sense, than what they are ordained for, and thereby deceive others.
  • Manipulation: when one using words declares their will-power, which then turns out not be true.
  • Sadistic expressions: these is the use of words to grieve one another.

Understanding speech values:

It is important here to note that conception and perception are very much relative in understanding the words of a speech. Knowing clearly, that the nature of what we conceive may be the same, but, the diversity of our receptiveness of a speech, in respect of different constitutions of the body, and prejudices of opinion, would give everything a tincture, (trace) of one’s different passion.

Therefore, in reasoning one most take heed of words, which besides the signification of what one imagines of their nature, but also should have a signification of the nature, disposition, and interest of the speaker.

Another reason why political speeches are rarely memorable is that they serve several incompatible purposes simultaneously and end up being a mish-mash. It galvanises supporters by emphasising the speaker’s positivity’s; it demolishes opponents by pouncing on gaffes and emphasising the opponents’ negativity’s; it woos the undecided by sounding reasonable, competent and principled, conveying rightful information and by creating the right tone, which must work for the occasion and its immediate audience on the day and has complement the wider campaign policy themes. A ‘Speech Tone’ is the hardest to get right, real power when it works.

A core concept of getting the right tone for political speech is a technique known in psychology as “Framing”. When people listen to the logic of speeches, and then respond subliminally to the way issues are presented. According to Frank Luntz’s “It’s not what you say, but it’s what people hear.” What basic word or words does a speaker want voters to “hear” from a speech and from the political campaign.

What it takes to deliver Logical words in a political speech:

Preparation: Preparation comes in the form of research and formulation, with the positive attribute of the internet, which is the access to an endless source of materials about any topic. In a web environment, there are really no excuses for a speech that repeats existing themes. The onus is on the speechwriter to find the new edge or current fact that brings the speech alive in relevance to present news environment, timeliness matters and the ever-revolving society.

 Passion: Emotion is key to a successful speech, in view of emotional intelligence, even if the person making the speech did not write it, a good delivery can drive a speech to a high point of memorability.

Positioning: A logical speech means preparing the audience in the way the consumers of a good product are prepped to enjoy it, having read the menu, and heard about the product, and coming hungry for the product, the positioning comes from the advanced promotion, the introduction, the physical conditions of the room and the hype around the speech. Just as we set the stage for a product launch, one can set the stage for a great speech.

What politicians should always remember is that great speeches have great lines, that sinks into people’s memory, one such great speeches of our time, is that by President John Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or that of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character” this are great lines, because of its breath-taking, with so many memorable phrases.

Some Memorable great lines in a political speech:

Jawaharlal Nehru, August 14, 1947 

After almost three centuries, Britain’s presence in India ended at midnight on August 14, 1947. Nehru, the leader of the Congress Party and the first prime minister of independent India, described this as the rebirth of his country. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”

Robert Kennedy, April 4, 1968 

The younger brother of assassinated president John F. Kennedy announced the killing of black civil rights leader Martin Luther King to a crowd of African Americans in Indianapolis, appealing for Americans to show the love, calm and compassion that Dr King had demonstrated throughout his life. Just two months later, Kennedy himself was gunned down after winning the Democratic primary in California.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933 

In his first inaugural address, FDR spoke to an American public in the depths of the Great Depression. He exhorted his countrymen to dig deep and endure, and to trust in his leadership.

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Harold Macmillan, February 3, 1960 

In the first sign that the British government accepted that the days of Empire were over, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke frankly against South Africa’s apartheid system while addressing the country’s parliament.

“The wind of change is blowing through this continent.”

Nelson Mandela May 10, 1994 

Mandela’s inaugural speech marked the moment when South Africa’s first black president took power and apartheid was buried once and for all. Mandela hailed a rare moment of hope in Africa and pledged to live up to the aspirations he had raised.

“Never, never and never again shall this beautiful land again experience the oppression of one by another.”

John F Kennedy, June 26, 1963 

Cold War tensions could hardly have been higher when Kennedy arrived in Berlin in June, 1963. Two years after the Berlin Wall went up, and a year after the Cuban missile crisis, his spine-tingling message of solidarity with encircled West Berliners, – “Rich bin ein Berliner” – became an instant classic.

“Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in.”

 Kwame Nkrumah, July 10, 1953

Nkrumah inspired the anti-colonial movement at a time when almost every African country was under European rule. Moving a motion in parliament for the independence of his native Ghana, then the British colony of Gold Coast, Nkrumah declared that every nation was entitled to self-government. “The right of a people to decide their own destiny, to make their way in freedom, is not to be measured by the yardstick of colour or degree of social development. It is an inalienable right.”

Among many ancient inventions of human communication and interaction, such as; the invention of “Letter” “Printing” and “Writing”, that has linked man with the past, present, and the view of the future norm, through highly ingenious discoveries, has a greater matter than that of “Speech”.

Speech, according to Thomas Hobbes, is the greatest and most profitable of all human primary inventions. Hobbes, noted in his writing on the origin of speech. In his philosophical book, “Leviathan”, he pointed out that the author of speech is God almighty himself, in beginning of creations, and when he instructed and commanded the first man, ‘Adam’ to name all creatures as he presented them to his sight. It may be very difficult to make any further ontological verifications, under a scientific or theological trial, than that which is mostly found and read from the scripture in the book of Genesis

He then, defined “Speech”, as that which “Consisting of names or appellations and their connexion, whereby men register their thoughts, recalls them when they are past, and declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation; without which, there would have been amongst men, neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace, such as, no more than among lions, bears, and wolves”.

In contemporary terms, a speech is used to transfer one’s mental thoughts or discourse into verbal expressions, or as the train of one’s thoughts, into a train of words; and that of two commodities, wherefore one is, the registering of the consequences of our thoughts; which being apt to slip out of one’s memory, and then puts one to a new stress, of recalling again of such words as may be marked. E.g., the first use of names is to serve as a mark, or notes of remembrance.

It is important here to note that conception and perception are very much relative in understanding the words of a speech. Knowing clearly, that the nature of what we conceive may be the same, but, the diversity of our receptiveness of a speech, in respect of different constitutions of the body, and prejudices of opinion, would give everything a tincture, (trace) of one’s different passion.

According, to Hobbesian argument, he postulated four principles of a speech, which are;

  • To register information: to register whatever information by cogitation, though found to be the cause of anything, present or past, finding these things present or past may produce or effect, our thoughts, which in sum, is acquiring of arts.
  • The knowledge acquired: the ability to show too others that knowledge which one has attained, is to counsel, and teach one another.
  • Will power: the ability to make known to others one’s will and purposes of which one may have mutual help of one another.
  • Power of orator: the ability to please and delight oneself and others by playing with words, for its pleasure, ornament, or innocently.

In view of these Hobbes also postulated four corresponding negative elements of a speech.

  • Negative registration: these is when one registers a thought wrongly, by the inconsistency of the signification of their words, on which they build upon their conceptions, of which they never conceived, by so doing deceives themselves.
  • Negative expressions: when one use words metaphorically that is in other sense, than what they are ordained for, and thereby deceive others.
  • Manipulation: when one using words declares their will-power, which then turns out not be true.
  • Sadistic expressions: these is the use of words to grieve one another.

Understanding speech values:

It is important here to note that conception and perception are very much relative in understanding the words of a speech. Knowing clearly, that the nature of what we conceive may be the same, but, the diversity of our receptiveness of a speech, in respect of different constitutions of the body, and prejudices of opinion, would give everything a tincture, (trace) of one’s different passion.

Therefore, in reasoning one most take heed of words, which besides the signification of what one imagines of their nature, but also should have a signification of the nature, disposition, and interest of the speaker.

Another reason why political speeches are rarely memorable is that they serve several incompatible purposes simultaneously and end up being a mish-mash. It galvanises supporters by emphasising the speaker’s positivity’s; it demolishes opponents by pouncing on gaffes and emphasising the opponents’ negativity’s; it woos the undecided by sounding reasonable, competent and principled, conveying rightful information and by creating the right tone, which must work for the occasion and its immediate audience on the day and has complement the wider campaign policy themes. A ‘Speech Tone’ is the hardest to get right, real power when it works.

A core concept of getting the right tone for political speech is a technique known in psychology as “Framing”. When people listen to the logic of speeches, and then respond subliminally to the way issues are presented. According to Frank Luntz’s “It’s not what you say, but it’s what people hear.” What basic word or words does a speaker want voters to “hear” from a speech and from the political campaign.

What it takes to deliver Logical words in a political speech:

Preparation: Preparation comes in the form of research and formulation, with the positive attribute of the internet, which is the access to an endless source of materials about any topic. In a web environment, there are really no excuses for a speech that repeats existing themes. The onus is on the speechwriter to find the new edge or current fact that brings the speech alive in relevance to present news environment, timeliness matters and the ever-revolving society.

 Passion: Emotion is key to a successful speech, in view of emotional intelligence, even if the person making the speech did not write it, a good delivery can drive a speech to a high point of memorability.

Positioning: A logical speech means preparing the audience in the way the consumers of a good product are prepped to enjoy it, having read the menu, and heard about the product, and coming hungry for the product, the positioning comes from the advanced promotion, the introduction, the physical conditions of the room and the hype around the speech. Just as we set the stage for a product launch, one can set the stage for a great speech.

What politicians should always remember is that great speeches have great lines, that sinks into people’s memory, one such great speeches of our time, is that by President John Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or that of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character” this are great lines, because of its breath-taking, with so many memorable phrases.

Some Memorable great lines in a political speech:

Jawaharlal Nehru, August 14, 1947 

After almost three centuries, Britain’s presence in India ended at midnight on August 14, 1947. Nehru, the leader of the Congress Party and the first prime minister of independent India, described this as the rebirth of his country. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”

Robert Kennedy, April 4, 1968 

The younger brother of assassinated president John F. Kennedy announced the killing of black civil rights leader Martin Luther King to a crowd of African Americans in Indianapolis, appealing for Americans to show the love, calm and compassion that Dr King had demonstrated throughout his life. Just two months later, Kennedy himself was gunned down after winning the Democratic primary in California.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933 

In his first inaugural address, FDR spoke to an American public in the depths of the Great Depression. He exhorted his countrymen to dig deep and endure, and to trust in his leadership.

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Harold Macmillan, February 3, 1960 

In the first sign that the British government accepted that the days of Empire were over, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke frankly against South Africa’s apartheid system while addressing the country’s parliament.

“The wind of change is blowing through this continent.”

Nelson Mandela May 10, 1994 

Mandela’s inaugural speech marked the moment when South Africa’s first black president took power and apartheid was buried once and for all. Mandela hailed a rare moment of hope in Africa and pledged to live up to the aspirations he had raised.

“Never, never and never again shall this beautiful land again experience the oppression of one by another.”

John F Kennedy, June 26, 1963 

Cold War tensions could hardly have been higher when Kennedy arrived in Berlin in June, 1963. Two years after the Berlin Wall went up, and a year after the Cuban missile crisis, his spine-tingling message of solidarity with encircled West Berliners, – “Rich bin ein Berliner” – became an instant classic.

“Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in.”

 Kwame Nkrumah, July 10, 1953

Nkrumah inspired the anti-colonial movement at a time when almost every African country was under European rule. Moving a motion in parliament for the independence of his native Ghana, then the British colony of Gold Coast, Nkrumah declared that every nation was entitled to self-government. “The right of a people to decide their own destiny, to make their way in freedom, is not to be measured by the yardstick of colour or degree of social development. It is an inalienable right.”

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