How to capture voice in speechwriting

You’ve got to think about how the principal thinks.

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How to find voice in speechwriting

One of the most difficult parts about speechwriting is ensuring it sounds like the person you’re writing for. These are words they must say in their own literal voice — but it also has to be written in their figurative voice.

But what even is voice in this context? An all-star panel of current and former speechwriters delved into that question during Ragan’s recent Public Affairs & Speechwriting virtual conference in the “Speechwriter’s Braintrust: Creating Relatable Speeches and an Authentic Brand Voice” session.

Voice, according to Stephen Krupin, senior speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, goes beyond mere mimicry.

“Voice is how you think,” Krupin said. “How you make an argument, how you structure that argument, how you tell a story, including how funny are you, how serious are you, are you a big thinker, are you a tactical person. That’s what we try to get by spending a lot of time with our principal.”

Matt Tepin, former chief speechwriter for then-Vice President Joe Biden and current editorial director for Google, said the best way to do that is to encourage your principal to tell stories.

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