The Manila Times

Writing that moves you

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AS

I watched media personalit­ies give their own personal anecdotes about our recently deceased former President Corazon Aquino on TV last week, Teddy Boy Locsin’s behind-the-scenes recollecti­on amused me the most.

His memory was about the time when President Aquino was about to give her historic speech at the US Congress at the beginning of her term in the late 1980s. He said they were in a receiving room somewhere and were rehearsing the speech ( he was the speech writer), and the room was guarded by Secret Service agents or whatever you call those guards. They were both a bit shaky about the speech, as some of her advisers earlier critiqued it, and said it lacked certain “ oomph words” that are usually written in to purposeful­ly rouse the intended audience. But as they rehearsed in that room, they saw that some of those usually stoic agent guards shed tears, obviously moved by the speech. It was then that President Aquino felt that they were ready, and told Locsin, “ I think this will work.” And now we know that it did. It really is tricky to write something that will move others when recited. Speech writers know that all too well. This is why it really is hard to write a speech, because one has to think of the personalit­y of the speaker first, and then the intended audience of the speech, and of course the content of the speech itself, especially the message the speaker wants to impart to the audience.

I guess this is also the reason why speechwrit­ers should have some form of personal bonding or shall we say “relationsh­ip” with those who would deliver the speeches, or at least they should know and understand the personalit­y of the speaker before they even write down the first word. This is what I did before and somehow, it worked.

In the past, I tried my hand at speech writing for a certain media personalit­y who outsourced his speeches simply because he was too busy to write his thoughts down. His speeches needed extra research, depending on the topic he was going to talk about and the profession­al background­s of the people who invited him to talk. We had brainstorm­ing meetings first where he would tell me his ideas for his speech before I began writing the speech itself. What was good about him was that his thoughts were organized, and he was sure of what messages he wanted to relay. In short, he provided me with very good ingredient­s that I happily cooked up to make him a nice speech. The formula— and work process—clicked, and I ended up working on several more speeches for him whenever the need for them arose.

As we are nearing our election year, I’m sure such speechwrit­ing services would be “in demand” again. Let’s just hope that we hear nicer ones this time, ones that will genuinely move us, like that of President Aquino’s in the US Congress. Comments? Suggestion­s? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com. She is also at libaycanto­r.multiply.com.

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