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A friend of the Gates, has guest blogged over at The Eloquent Woman’s blog (one of our favorite spots in the Innernetz).


(I don’t know who owns this picture)

In the piece, she analyses an old speech from the suffrage movement (insert teh battle-cry DEEDS NOT WORDS)

We like! Here are her three tips to women speaking in public:

  • When you speak, speak: Her style flows briskly, with long sentences and little variation in the vocabulary. This makes it sound at times almost like an extempore speech, especially in the passages where she is exhilarated: “But now, now we must rejoice, now the sunbeam has returned, and with greater truth than the first time, since now all women and all servants have been included, so that we now in truth can sing: This day – the 5th of June 1915 – will be celebrated by the blue flowers of the field and by the Danish women”. However, the clear structure of the metaphors and the sharp focus indicate that the speaker had planned what she wanted to say. The oratorical style draws the audience in, making it clear that they are being directly addressed and not merely having a paper read to them.

  • Build bridges to opponents: Bojsen-Møller and her movement won the battle as well as the war. But she ends with a strong call for unity as the nation moves forward with the new Constitution. She does so by both acknowledging the opposition (“It is probably the women who are the happiest with the new Constitution”), and clearly appealing to shared values, namely God, King and country. These are also traditional conservative values, and she references them implicitly and explicitly, quoting famous theologians as well as male opinion makers and her own father; speaking respectfully of the late king who signed the first Constitution; and mentioning God when saying women “are sinners just like the men.” Again and again she emphasises that this great day is for Denmark as a whole, and that what matters now is the country. The very last sentence reads like a prayer “King of kings, only you can guard the land of our fathers.”

  • Use the setting: The physical surroundings in which a speech is delivered matter, and can help you illustrate abstract points if you mention the setting to your audience, and provide them with your own interpretation. The ceremonial genre of speeches is an especially good format to play on the blurred lines between the conceptual space your words create and the actual space in which you deliver them. Bojsen-Møller mentions “this mountain”, the present locality, several times, and uses a story of another mountain as a metaphor when she speaks of the struggle to climb the mountain and achieve the goal: “the new Constitution was ratified.” After the speech, the audience had to walk up the steep hill, in the heat of June, wearing their festive – and heavy – clothes. Bojsen-Møller’s words and imagery of labouring to ascend would very likely have echoed in their ears, reminding them of the political struggle that had just been won. This way, the words’ meaning transcended the speech itself.



Read the full post here