Excellent book. Dowis is an excellent writer who inspires through making his written word readable and interesting. He sets out his methodology for creating a speech with great clarity and excellent explanations, then forcing home the point through the use of dramatic and historical speeches delivered throughout history.
This is an educational book that also inspires. I expected a reference book, but found an incredibly readable guide which i've managed on and on.
Although I'm not a speech writer, and only bought the book to help improve my public speaking ability as a training officer, shortly after purchasing it i found myself in the unusual position of having to write a speech for my partner. It proved excellent an excellent guide and i was able to use the techniques to help put together a reasonable speech.
"Lost Art of the great speech" is by far the most useful book I have found to improve your ability to make a better speech, not just better, a really good one. What a pity I did not read this book before the many speeches I have given. Poor listeners, poor me. The book describes just about every aspect of designing and presenting a speech with confidence. The confidence that follows from knowing that you have done everything you can to communicate your message so that listeners understand you and enjoy it.
It's written in a really logical manner which means you can use it as a reference as you prepare a speech and it uses wonderful examples not just of each point it makes but some inpiring excerpts from famous speeches.
A really good read even if you weren't writing a speech but given I'm preparing to teach others to do it I can't recommend this book highly enough.
If only someone English could produce something as useful as this - there is a little drawback in this book of him using examples from the Georgia, USA business world a lot - but they are still clear so no matter.
As a professional speaker and communicator, one sometimes stumble accros books that one is delighted to have read. Maybe one in five...? Well, this is definetly one of them! It offers very good and pragmatic insights and shares valuable tips that can only be accumulated by experience. And, it does so without falling into the trap of silly 'pep-talk' as so many other "how to..." books. Read the book, then go back and look again at yours, and others, speeches - and I can almost guarantee that you will see them in a different light. With so much to read on the subject, make this one a priority!
This is a good, well structured book which takes you right through the process of preparing to write a speech, writing it and delivering it. It offers good advise on techniques to use, like linguistic styles (such as triplets) and various openings to speeches, and their relevance to the type of speech being made. It discusses vocal delivery and body language, preparation techniques before you go on stage, an overview on common grammatical mistakes (eg affect vs effect), and the importance and effectiveness of simple language. All this is backed up by a wide and comprehensive range of famous speeches at the end of each chapter, alongside short snippets of speeches the author has written or by other important speakers. All through the book has a friendly style and you really feel the author is concerned about helping you become a "better speaker". This book has not taught me a lot of new ideas, though there have been a few - moreover it has reasserted and reminded me about how to make a good speech. And for the price, its certainly a worthwhile investment. Go buy! Go buy!
By following the advice in this book, and by paying attention to the example at the end of each chapter, one should be capable of turning out a good, if not necessarily a brilliant speech. Brilliant takes a lot more work :-) To help with improving brilliance, I would recommend that you also study the elements of rhetoric in greater detail, than this book delves into, even though it covers the essentials. To that end, Language Intelligence by Joseph R. Romm would be a sound choice.
Great book on speeches and speech writing, exactly what I was looking for.
Most of the anecdotes are about the business world, but that's Dowis background and the sector in which most speech writers like him would have been employed, so this was OK. I'm a campaigner in the voluntary sector and found all the principles and tips directly transferable to my field. Plus all of the famous speeches included at the end of each chapter are political.
The only flaw and thing that niggled me a few times during the read was that Dowis has a tendency to assume the speech writer, speaker and audience will be men (except when speaking to a 'ladies' club). This can (just about) be excused on the grounds that a) it would have been tiresome to read 'he or she' each time and b) the book was written 15 years ago.
I think this book is absolutely great and is well worth a read. This book gives examples of great speeches from the past which serves as the perfect inspiration to develop your own. I recently combined his ideas with some from two other books and received a standing ovation... I can't give higher praise than that! Must buy!