Speechwriter teaches students the art of speech writing

IMG_4932Mr. Jonathan Parish (Speechwriter to the NATO Secretary General and St John’s parent) delivered the second of two presentations on Speech Writing this week. Although principally aimed at 11th Grade IB Language and Literature classes, several students and staff from other subjects dropped by.

The King’s Speech is a central ‘text’ for the Media component and so Mr Parish’s explanations of the inner workings and surrounding contexts of modern speech writing were especially valuable. In addition, many of his points could be extended to UCAS Personal Statements and college applications.

According to Mr Parish, the art of speech writing can be distilled down to three key terms: ethos, pathos and logos. To put it another way: the authenticity with which you speak, the way you establish sympathy with your audience and the internal logic with which you construct your argument. Woe betide the public figure when these are out of alignment – as witnessed, Mr Parish suggested, when Tony Blair addressed the British Women’s Institute in June 2000.

A recording of Mr Parish’s presentation is available to staff and students.

By Mr. Jones, HS English teacher