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The Political Speechwriter's Companion

The Political Speechwriter's Companion
A Guide for Writers and Speakers

Second Edition

August 2019 | 536 pages | CQ Press

The Political Speechwriter's Companion guides students through a systematic “LAWS” approach (language, anecdote, wit, and support) that politicians can use to persuade their audiences into taking action. In the highly anticipated Second Edition, esteemed speechwriter and author Robert A. Lehrman has teamed up with one of the "go-to-guys" for political humor, Eric Schnure, to offer students an entertaining yet practical introduction to political speechwriting. This how-to guide explains how speakers can deliver: 

  • language the audience will understand and remember, 
  • anecdotes that make listeners laugh and cry, 
  • wit that pokes fun at opponents but also shows their own lighter side, and
  • support in the way of statistics, examples, and testimony. 

Packed with annotated speeches from the most recent elections, technology tips, and interviews from speechwriting luminaries, this edition offers the most practical advice and strategies for a career in political communication.

Introduction: Why Speechwriting Matters
Does Speechwriting Matter?

Why This Book?

Why Focus Only on Political Life?

Chapter 1. The Political Speech
Politicians Must Speak More

Politicians Must Persuade

Politicians Must Be Liked

Politicians Must Stay Upbeat

Politicians Must Speak to Average Folks

Politicians Must Get Quoted

Final Words

Chapter 2. Persuasion
Persuasion: The Questions

Persuasion: The Modes

Appealing to Reason

Appealing to Emotion

Appealing through Characterization

Final Words

Chapter 3. Audiences
Who Are Your Audiences?

What Makes Each Audience Unique?

What Do Audiences Feel about the Speaker?

Final Words

Chapter 4. Research
Researching the Event

Researching the Ideas

Researching the Poetry

Final Words

Chapter 5. Structure
Why Monroe Works Well in Politics

Other Structures

Monroe Plus

Monroe in Practice: Four Tips

Final Words

Chapter 6. Language People Understand
Writing for Clarity

Reading versus Hearing

Final Words

Chapter 7. Language People Remember
Making Language Vivid

Making Language Rhythmic

Final Words

Chapter 8. Anecdote
Relevant, Remembered, Ready to Act

Types and Tips

Final Words

Chapter 9. Wit
Writing to Make Them Laugh

How to Do It


Types and Tips

Final Words

Chapter 10. Support
Using Evidence

Types of Evidence

Making Evidence Memorable

Arguing Responsibly


Final Words

Chapter 11. Beginnings

Praise, Thanks, Acknowledgments

Getting Serious and Stating the Purpose

Final Words

Chapter 12. Problems





Final Words

Chapter 13. Solutions
Inspire Solutions with Language

Inspire Solutions through Ethos

The Three Ps: Proposal, Persuasion, Punch Line

Final Words

Chapter 14. Writing Conclusions
Four-Part Close: The Steps

Four-Part Close: Strategy

Final Words

Chapter 15. Delivery
Elements of Delivery

Delivery’s Best Practice: Practice

Expanding Your Horizons

Final Words

Chapter 16. Ethics

Misleading Listeners


Speechwriting: Unethical by Definition?

Final Words

Chapter 17. The Uneasy Partnership: Advice for Speakers and Writers
For Speakers: What Speechwriters Need from You

For Speechwriters: What Speakers Need from You

Final Words

Chapter 18. Final, Final Words
Appendix. A Speech for Almost Every Occasion
Index of Speakers
About the Authors

“All of us who write and speak and try to help others do so should be grateful."

Lamar Alexander
United States Senator for Tennessee

"A classic for anyone who cares about speech, or covers it."


Al Hunt
Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News Washington Bureau

 "By far the best book on speechwriting I have ever read:"

Dan Pink
New York Times bestselling author, and former White House speechwriter

"This solid guide for speechwriters and speechgivers, written by a pair of the top practitioners of the art, makes both the philosophical case of why speechwriting matters and the very practical one of precisely how to make a speech work."

Susan Page
Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY Author of “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty”

"The Political Speechwriter's Companion is the first book on speechwriting I ever read, and it's the first one I recommend to anyone seriously interested in speechwriting as a craft. If you work in political communications (or really any type of communications) this belongs in your office." 

David Litt
Former Speechwriter for President Obama Best selling author of ”Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years”

Robert Allan Lehrman

Eric L. Schnure

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ISBN: 9781506387741