Speechwriting 101 with Elizabeth Watson-Brown

Elizabeth Watson-Brown is one of our most unexpected members of the Class of ’22. A stronghold of the two major parties, the seat of Ryan in Brisbane’s west has only been held by 7 people in its 73-year history. How things have changed!

As an architect with a focus on sustainable design, Elizabeth Watson-Brown is the perfect person to come into the federal parliament and speak about how humans – and all the things we build – affects our climate and environment.

And the people of Ryan obviously thought so too. For only the second time in Australia’s history, a Greens candidate was elected to the House of Representatives.

In Elizabeth’s speech, she talks about the impact of climate change and what we need to do – and not do – to start righting the ship.

But she also talks about her why. 

“It was the arrival of my beautiful and innocent grandchildren that spurred me to more direct political action. No longer content to yell at the news—because enough of the cruelty, right; enough of the venality, right?—I joined the Greens and took to the streets of Ryan.”

People love knowing what makes other people tick so let’s give them what they want!

To do this in your own speeches:

  • Share how you got where you are. What was the pivotal moment that made you do the thing? We often talk in life about hitting a rock-bottom or finding a point of clarity…what was yours?
  • Make your exploration of your ‘why’ emotional. You don’t have to cry but you do have to identify the emotions that surrounded that moment. Was it anger, frustration, hope, acceptance? ‘I decided’ is boring; ‘I was so angry, I had to act’ is much better!
  • If appropriate, thank your source of inspiration. You can do this directly if they’re in the audience, you can put your thanks on record if they’re not present or you can just refer to them – as vaguely or specifically as you like. You can then share your speech with them as an acknowledgement of their role in your success.

Give it a try for yourself and let me know how you go.

If you need more help, download my free guide to writing ovation-worthy speeches here.

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