8 surprising speechwriting tips from songwriters

Keep your audience tuned in and toe-tapping during your next speech with these tuneful tips.

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Thomas Carlyle once observed: “Music is well said to be the speech of angels.”

You can make your speechwriting sing by learning lessons from songwriters. By applying these eight songwriting techniques, you will get the people in your audience to tap their feet, nod their heads, and even hum along to your message.

1. Triad

Have you ever tried to dance to a waltz? (Or at least seen celebrities try on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars?”) Someone probably counted for you: One, two, three. One, two, three. Soon, your klutzy steps flowed more smoothly. You had the beat. You had the rhythm. You had the flow.

The three-beat measure stimulated, motivated and exhilarated you. The three-beat measure is well ingrained into our daily lives, rhythmically sliding off our tongues and into the ears of others:

In music, a triad is a composition of three notes that make a chord. To apply the same concept to speechwriting, think of a triad as a group of three words or three phrases used together to increase memorability and impact with a rhythmic 1-2-3 beat. Add even more impact with alliteration, where each of the three words begins with the same letter.

Consider these examples:

2. Refrain

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