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On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech With Style, Substance, and Clarity
 
 


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On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech With Style, Substance, and Clarity [Paperback]

Peggy Noonan
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noonan (What I Saw at the Revolution), George Bush's most publicized speechwriter, describes her book accurately as "advice and anecdotes about the writing and giving of speeches." Not political speeches, which are probably an art form unto themselves, but the kind of speeches most people are at some time called upon to deliver. Noonan states her advice clearly: No speech should last more than 20 minutes; the text should be written out (no ad-libbing from outlines); humor is essential; read your draft speech aloud (speaking is different from writing); keep sentences short (the audience is hearing it, not reading it). One section deals with the special requirements of writing for other people. Shorter sections deal with situations such as toasts, tributes and eulogies. There are also tips on handling questions, walking up to the platform and meeting the audience afterward. The anecdotes deal chiefly with Noonan's adventures on the political circuit and in the White House with Presidents Reagan and Bush and are the fluffy sort of things the author herself probably uses facing audiences. The advice is practical and fairly obvious, but if speaking in public is indeed most people's Number One Fear, this is a calming, logical and sometimes entertaining guide.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Noonan, author of the best-selling What I Saw at the Revolution (LJ 3/15/90), presents a guide to communication that succeeds because of the entertaining and informative anecdotes drawn from her experience as a speech writer for presidents Reagan and Bush. She provides good, basic, but not original advice?keep speeches to 20 minutes, use plain language, incorporate humor, and, most important, be sincere. The author includes insightful commentary on Earl Spencer's eulogy for his sister, Princess Diana; President Clinton's oratory, which she faults for its reliance on cliches and for its emphasis on style rather than substance; and President Reagan's skill at using speeches to connect with the public. Recommended for public libraries, especially as an overview of presidential speechmaking.?Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Drop your dislike of her politics (especially if you're a liberal Democrat). Ignore your instinct to treat this tome as yet another how-to approach to speechifying. Because Noonan, author of What I Saw at the Revolution and former speechwriter for Republican presidents, has bared her soul in an engaging and serious attempt to get all of us "speaking right and speaking simply." Sure, the book is disorganized--and there aren't any outlines or long lists. But what Noonan offers is solid advice, delivered simply. Speeches should last only 20 minutes. Write out your text. Use plain and simple language. Speeches must have content. And in exhorting her readers to do this or that, she inserts personal lessons she has learned, as well as examples from the greatest speakers, including Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan, and, yes, Earl Spencer at Diana's funeral. To read and reread . . . and remember. Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Ms. Noonan, who is perhaps the nation's best-known speechwriter... has produced an engaging, helpful book." -- David Shiflett The Wall Street Journal

"Peggy Noonan packs a wallop of practical wisdom and insightful tips for rookie and veteran speechmakers alike...this wee volume, written by one of this century's premier presidential speechwriters, will guide you correctly." -- Forbes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peggy Noonan is the best-selling author of seven books on American politics, history, and culture. Her essays have appeared in Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other publications. She lives in New York City.

From AudioFile

"We are media-savvy," Peggy Noonan says in this audio guide to public speaking. She means that we, as a nation, are influenced by television, so many of us know how to behave in front of a camera. But speeches are more difficult than being on TV because audiences expect speakers to be at their best since they've had time to prepare. Noonan addresses with a strong and clear voice why public speaking is America's number one fear and how to combat this fear. Her tones seem best suited to political commentary, and that could put off listeners who need guidance in the corporate or even casual arenas. However, her pauses between major points and transitional thoughts keep the audiobook flowing and easy to understand, making it a useful tool. R.A.P. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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