Lam: What goes into making a good speech?
Benjulian: What was key to writing any speech of quality was a central idea. One idea, not ten. So every great speech has a major concept or message. Second thing, every speech has language meant to be spoken. They are monologues. They have shape and movement. Speeches are an oral medium. There are policy papers meant to be read out loud, and then meant to be read quietly at your desk. But a speech is a different thing.
Once, I took an Apple executive to a writing workshop to show him how actors work. He asked me: “How do you act sincerely?” Truthfully, it's not an act. Great speakers risk being fully present in the moment. Look at [Steve] Jobs on those old videotapes. He's deeply in the moment.
- interview with Jayne Benjulian, Apple’s first chief speechwriter, The Atlantic