Speechwriters Conference Closing Keynote – Ted Sorensen

Speechwriters Conference Closing Keynote – Ted Sorensen

Theodore C. Sorensen, special counsel, adviser and legendary speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy

In Ted Sorensen’s keynote he shared tips on speechwriting. He claims it is all a matter of writing ‘a few lines’:

1. Outline — used plan the speech.

2. Headline — what’s the news in the speech?

3. Front line — what’s the most important point?

4. Sidelines — quotes, poems or humor.

5. Bottom line — an ending the audience will remember.

He then lists the four features of a good speech:

1. Clarity – achieved if you have a good outline.

2. Charity – praise the audience.

3. Brevity – JFK believed anything worth saying can be covered in a 20 minute speech.

4. Levity – as evidenced by Kennedy’s ironic wit

My Fripp Associate Ian Griffin makes these great notes in his blog. Read more: