As a matter of fact, few of us know many facts. For example, if you’re not a political junky, you are likely to have trouble coming up with facts to support why you’re for one candidate vs. another.
For instance, when you ask someone why she voted for her candidate, you are likely to hear stale claims like “the government is stealing our freedoms,” or, “the bankers are running the government.”
Lots of big ideas, but not a fact in sight. In fact, most political speech is all claims and no proofs.
This is why speakers who have dug deep enough to uncover specifics in support of their ideas are more convincing than those who stick to the broad and general.
Do we know how any of the current candidates plan to put their stump speeches into practice?
No. They don’t offer a plausible road map to specific goals-a road map that includes challenges, timelines, materials, cost, anticipated roadblocks, etc.
A few years ago, I was helping a client put together remarks to support the purchase of a new building for her synagogue. As the director of religious education, she was expected to speak about what the new building could mean to her program.
She began with the broad claim that the new facility would unify the congregation, bringing old and young, lay and clergy, scholars and community, into the same home.
It was okay, but it lacked punch. The ideas were noble, but I couldn’t get a feel for what the new building would bring to everyday life.
I asked her what the current situation was like, and she described the frustration she experienced running the school from a remote office, schlepping supplies and materials
back and forth, dealing with teachers who wanted a place to store half-finished art projects, and parents with no place to gather while their kids were in class.
“Bingo,” I said. “Let’s start with that!” And suddenly her talk went from good to great, because she not only made broad claims about the benefits that the new building would bring, she told the real story of specific daily challenges that members faced, and how the new building would reduce hassles, save time, and make the synagogue an even better place for everyone involved.
Dig for surprising, startling specifics to support your ideas. Get them into your speech, early and often.