Friday, March 03, 2006
Political Rally Speech Training
Workers' Party has initiated a few Pre-General Elections training sessions for both its members at large as well as candidates in specific.
We have conducted an in house GE seminar last year, open to all our members. This is to bridge the gap of knowledge and experiences between veterans and new members in running an election campaign effectively.
Following the main GE seminar held last year, specific closed door seminar and training have been conducted for its potential candidates. One of these important training involves political rally speech writing cum speech delivery. I would say that we learn from past experiences as well as PAP MPs who may well have very good "paper qualifications" but when it comes to delivery of rally speeches, they failed to "move" the ground.
Many people assume that giving political speeches is just like any other speeches we used to give in our professional working environment. This is a very dangerous presumption. One may give effective board room speeches, delivery good lectures to a lecture room full of students or even a put up a persuasive legal argument as a lawyer in a courtroom, but when it comes to rally speeches, it is totally a different ball game.
We could adapt an off the shelf standard menu on speech writing and speech delivery but it seems that alot of modifications must be made. Rally speeches should be written differently with different emphasis. A political rally speech is not a lecture, trying to teach something "NEW" to the audience. A political rally speech is not a business proposal that is to be delivered to a small number of audience. A political rally speech is definitely not meant to be delivered to an audience which we expect them to pass judgement. Writing a political rally speech needs specific niche skills but least of bombastic wordings. The potential audience may come from many different background with different intellects. The most difficult part of writing a good political rally speech is to use the lowest denomination of language vocabulary to win the hearts and minds of the people that have different levels of intellect.
The delivery of political rally speeches is totally different from "reading" a speech. One should deliver but not read a speech. And to deliver a speech nicely in a wide open space fill with thousands of audience needs specific skills. How not to sound soft but yet not "fierce"; how to speak clearly and slowly and yet not to make your listeners bored....
Practice makes perfect. Lots and lots of practices are needed to prepare a candidate adequately for the final D day. Besides practices, we also need to watch more political rally speeches delivered by others, especially from those veterans who have given wonderful speeches back in the 1950s and 1960s where intense political competition has nurtured a generation of good speakers.
The recent memorial TV program featuring the late Rajartnam is a very good learning tool. People of that time deliver wonderful speeches with a natural flare. If we make a comparison between the present political leaders' delivery of rally speeches as compared to those veterans back in the 1950s and 1960s, we could see distinctively the wide gap of quality. This is mainly due to the lack of political competition.
I believe that if we are not born a good speaker, we could learn up to 90% of the skills of a good speaker. Watching how good speakers deliver their speeches is an important learning process. Getting into the REAL environment whereby the good speakers give their speeches is a great experience for learning. In today's context, we may not get too many of such opportunities but we could get it overseas. I have deliberately flew to Taiwan during its last Presidential Election period, just to observe and learn from the Taiwanese speakers. The atmosphere and how the speakers move the crowd is really an eye opening experience.
To win an uphill battle against a giant opponent, it will take more than consistent ground work. Personal development in various aspects must be made progressively. Writing good political speeches and deliver them effectively is one very important aspect that we must spend more time on.
Goh Meng Seng