Speechwriting 101 with Zoe Daniel

Zoe Daniel, the new member for Goldstein, is the next cab off the Class of ’22 rank.

A well-known and respected journalist, Zoe was one of the more high-profile teal independents at the 2022 election. Running on a platform of climate change action, better accountability in the parliament and the safety of women and girls, Zoe won the conservative stronghold of Goldstein with a swing of 34.5%.

For the uninitiated, that’s a lot. 

In Zoe’s speech, she talked about the history of the Goldstein electorate. Being named after suffragist Vida Goldstein, it’s fitting that the seat finally is in the hands of a capable woman.

Zoe’s speech has a lot of great moments but what I want you to concentrate on is how slowly and steadily Zoe speaks. She’s not in a rush to get it over with – she’s clear and smooth – and listening to her speech is a true joy.

To do this in your own speeches:

  • Pauses are one of your best friends – not only where these pauses would naturally fit – but where you want to add emphasis. These pauses are the spoken equivalent of a bold underline – they add weight to your words – and help your listeners to pay attention. They also give your audience time to fully hear what you say and take it on board.
  • Use your punctuation to remind yourself to pause, take breaths, slow down or emphasise certain phrases. Your speech notes don’t have to be beautiful – they need to be functional. Scribble, highlight, circle and bold as much as you need to (after your first practice session). 
  • Most people speak at 130 words per minute so that’s a good rough guide on how many words you should be writing for your time limit. This snippet is 126 words in 52 seconds – the perfect pace for clear communication and understanding.

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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