Core Points Of A Successful Speech English Literature Essay

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Speech is a direct and lively way to pass message or connect the speaker with audience. Certainly it needs many aspects and skills to performance well. It concerns the pre-preparation, site display and interaction and so on for the speaker. The essay is mainly to discuss the core points and common techniques for a successful speech by analyzing the two classical cases. The first part of the essay is to discuss the speech of Kenny MacAskill, which is about the prisoner transfer and compassionate release of the criminal. It will show how the speaker gains the understanding and support from the people, mainly the relatives of victims. And the next part is to discuss the speech of Lee Kuan Yew- the Minister Mentor on the National Day Celebration Dinner. It will analyze how the speaker persuade the citizens to work together to deal with the current difficulties.

The Speech from Kenny MacAskill

The speech of Kenny MacAskill should be a good example. As Scottish Justice Secretary, he makes this speech to inform and explain the reasons for the decision of prisoner transfer and compassionate release to all of the British citizens, especially for the kinsfolk of the victims. The understanding and acceptance from them is very important for the government because they are the biggest victims of Lockerbie Air Disaster. (Syvia Horton & David Farnham 1999, p.72) So the purpose of the speech is to persuade people to support the government and show understanding and sympathy for the criminal. Because of serious influence of Lockerbie Air Disaster, the speech does not put the intention firstly and obviously. It takes the tactics of step by step which does not seek support or sympathy for the decision immediately. What the audience wants most is to be placated and be thought highly of the lost and pain from the disaster. They will not easily put up with this decision. So the basic mood of the speech is temperate with sad. The speaker tries to convince people by reasoning and move the audience by emotion. (Fraser, Sarah; Gagné, Jean-Pierre; Alepins, Majolaine; Dubois, Pascale. 2010, P20)

To build trust is the first step. So at the beginning of the speech, he makes it clear that he is proud of this post and he values this responsibility a lot, which implies that his decision has been through deep consideration putting people's feeling in the first place. When he talks about the Lockerbie Air Disaster, he uses "cruelly murdered", "the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on UK soil" to show that he feels as though he has experienced it. The speech connects him and the audience closely. Therefore, he gains the preliminary support and the audience also obtains satisfaction from emotion. Besides, the beginning of Lockerbie Air Disaster, the attack stirring the world, will attract the attention of audience primarily. And the audience will also know exactly why they are here to listen. Then, the speech indicates the decision is of great importance, even than the election of our Government. It put this issue on the nationwide and humanistic lay to attract everyone's attention and consideration, which will enlarge the influence of the speech. This kind of beginning seems to be popular populist and sincere for the people, especially for the kinsfolk of the victims. People will be willing to listening to the speech and a good starting is halfway reached. (Stewart, P. A.; Waller, B. M.; James N. Schubert 2009, p130)

The middle part is hard to maintain attention of the audience; however it is also important for the next part. The speaker separates the prisoner transfer and compassionate release. With regard to prisoner transfer, he shows objection in consideration of the catastrophe the criminal brought to the people and the harmful influence the criminal caused to the society. He thinks the judgment is appropriate and legal which is the same as the people think. He also takes the example of the USA, whose people do not agree to transfer prisoner, too. Besides, he mentions that the Scottish Government also disagree the application of prisoner transfer. This is a sign that both the judiciary and Scottish Government take the side of the people. This kind of expression is what the audience wants to hear and support. In addition, he also refers to the criminal's abandonment of the appeal, making people forgive him to a certain degree.

The core point is the last part. And at this time the speaker show clearly the real purpose of the speech. He points out even if the criminal should not be transferred back to Libya, however he should get compassionate release for his serious illness that leaves him only three month of life. The speaker persuades the audience not only with emotion, but also with the law and rule, which are of more persuasion. He quotes the Section three of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 to make the compassionate release legitimate and appropriate. Besides, he also cites the medical certificate as proof. Then, he mentions the humanity. Everyone is sensitive to this word, especially after the especially. He captures the minds of people who treasure life and understand condone for the fault. And the message he sends is clear: the criminal should stay in the prison to atone for his crime, but he should have opportunity to get sympathy for his bad illness because he is also a person. To strengthen the effect of the message, he restatement the topic of the speech-humanity, which all of the nation, including everyone, is always proud of. Besides, he again lays stress on the fact that the criminal is going to die. So he uses the points of humanity, forgiving, and law to support the message.

To make a general survey of the speech, as a focus of the speech, the speaker uses the structure of "agree, but, so" to lead the audience think along with him. He firstly gets the trust and understanding from the audience. And then he put forward the real condition of the criminal and the law. In the end, he persuades people to support the decision on prisoner transfer and compassionate release in human nature level. The audience is led by the speaker going from sad to grief, from the resentfulness to mercy. (Zamora Bonilla, Jesús P. 2006, p180)In the meanwhile, he also divides his speech into four parts-- three supporting points and a conclusion, which is convenient for speaker and especially audience to remember and understand. In a word, it is successful. The speech achieves its purpose and connects the speaker and the audience closely with brilliant context and rhetoric.

The Speech from Lee Kuan Yew

The speech from Lee Kuan Yew on at the Tanjong Pagar 44th National Day Celebration Dinner is also a successful case. The purpose is to put forward requirement for the citizens and persuade them contributing their effort for the future of Singapore. In order to pass the message of the speech, the speaker starts with the praise for the past. In this way, the audience will be willing listen to the speech and expect the next part. Then, the speaker- Lee Kuan Yew repeats the "together" to lay stress on the importance of uniting as one. It is more than a kind of praise, but a requirement actually. Besides, it is also bedding for the next part. When the audience accepts the concept, he immediately put forward the two difficulties in front of the nation. All of this seems to be logical and well-reasoned. To be similar with the example above, this speech also begins under a big picture which all of people are interested. And under this big background, the speaker also can connect to event and audience by creating common ground.

The conflict between new citizens and native people is obvious. However, the immigrants are in the bad situation. So for one thing, the speaker firstly put forward the native people should help and admit immigrants by their broad heart. It satisfies the native people's psychological need of being master of the nation. Then, he stresses the importance of the immigrants to gain support from the native people. He takes the children as a case. And he tries to convince the audience by the example of Japan. After relating and analyzing the serious consequence of low birth rate, he makes the audience pay much attention on the issue. And the immigrants are a key point to deal with this problem. So the audience will know exactly what the speaker want them to do. And when he states the expectation, he makes the sentence short and refined for the audience to remember. (Magnusson, Landon Wade. 2010, p420) In order to remove doubts from people, he then makes the promise for protecting the native people as a Minister Mentor, which enhances persuasion of the speech. This kind of logos makes people have more trust and also makes the speech more logical, and rational.

In the second part, the speaker stresses the importance of learning Chinese. He takes the example of Keppel Corporation and Hyflux to show the point. These cases will visualize the role of Chinese for the audience, which make the context clearer. And in the meantime, he also makes comparisons between China and Singapore to show the pride of the nation and also the necessity of learning Chinese. (David C. Schak & Wayne Hudson 2003, p.24) All of the requirements are like persuading not enforcing which make the audience comfortable. And the words are measured, not driven. It is important to build trust and accept the context.

In a word, the speaker uses the structure of "Present, Past, Future", which is particularly useful for the plan and expectation for the nation's future. And it is also easy for the audience to understand clearly the reason of expectation. In this speech, the speaker uses Singapore and Singaporean for many times, especially when expecting gaining the support and understandings. This kind of way reveals the speaker's ethos and boldness of vision. And the repetitive words like "we" and"our" makes all of people as a big family corresponding with the key point. Besides, the speech is of clarity. The speaker gets straight to the point after short look of the past. In order to keep the attention of the audience, most part of the speech is made up by short sentences, words and numbers. Numbers are a good tool to arouse the mind and they make the speech more simple and clear. (Crawford, Alan Pell. 2002, p14) When coming to the bad consequence without enough effort to the difficulties, the speaker use short sentences like: 'our labor force will shrink.'' Without the immigrants, Singapore will decline.' These sentences are of more power for the audience. The rhythm is also changing along with the mood of the speech. (Curtis, Michael Kent. 2009, p1870) The two exclamations in the speech not only arouse but also keep the audience in step with the speaker. (Adams, Elizabeth M & Moore, Robert E 2009, p35)


The essay has discussed two successful cases to reveal the key points for a speech. Two of the speeches share some common characteristics: passing the clear message with refined expression and moving by the sentiment. (Detz, Joan. 2009, P449) Clear purpose means to know who the target audiences are, what they want to know and why is the speech occurring. The rhetoric relates to the how the speaker can pass the clear message to them in appropriate ways. Of course, there are many other things which should be taken into consideration in order to make a speech effective and brilliant. There is no doubt that they also have each strong point for the triumphant expressions. This is because of the different purposes and audience. The first one is mainly to gain understanding from the national, especially the victims' families and the next one is aimed at inspiring the citizens, especially the local citizens to overcome the difficulties by uniting as a whole.