Speechwriting 101 with Louise Miller-Frost

Our next Class of ’22 graduate is Louise Miller-Frost. Louise is yet another new member of the house who has changed the history of an entirely conservative seat. Boothby has been a stronghold of conservatives for more than 70 years.  

Louise talks about her experience working in the homelessness sector in her speech. She has worked on the frontline and has seen the scope of the problem; just a few small things have to go wrong for some people and they find themselves homeless.

What Louise does well here is use statistics to bolster her point. 

“Nearly half of all South Australian women would not be able to support themselves for more than a month on savings alone, and for men it’s 36 per cent.”

But stats aren’t just about numbers. In earlier speech snippets, Louise talks about the reasons people find themselves homeless. This is still data! Qualitative data can be just as effective as numbers.

“Physical illness—a cancer diagnosis, for instance—mental illness, relationship breakdown or death of a spouse, a job redundancy, injury, domestic violence: a crisis can arise unexpectedly and very quickly, and suddenly someone who thought their life was stable, secure and independent finds that they have no income coming in and they can’t pay the rent.”

To do this in your own speeches:

  • Make sure you explain your issue before throwing stats around. It’s important that your audience understands what you’re on about. If you are going for a bold start with a stat as your opener, make sure you explain it properly after. You may need to repeat it.
  • When you use stats, make them relatable. It would have been easy to throw big numbers around but Louise used the “nearly half of all South Australian women” group as a relatable measure. ‘One in two’, ‘half of the women in this room’ or ‘someone you know’ would also be effective.
  • Double check your stats for accuracy. Not just that you have the facts and figures right but that you understand the context and how these figures were arrived at. There’s nothing worse than bad data to undermine your credibility.

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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