Simply Speaking: How to Communicate Your Ideas with Style, Substance, and Clarity

Peggy Noonan, Author Harper $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-039212-3
Noonan (What I Saw at the Revolution), George Bush's most publicized speechwriter, describes her book accurately as ""advice and anecdotes about the writing and giving of speeches."" Not political speeches, which are probably an art form unto themselves, but the kind of speeches most people are at some time called upon to deliver. Noonan states her advice clearly: No speech should last more than 20 minutes; the text should be written out (no ad-libbing from outlines); humor is essential; read your draft speech aloud (speaking is different from writing); keep sentences short (the audience is hearing it, not reading it). One section deals with the special requirements of writing for other people. Shorter sections deal with situations such as toasts, tributes and eulogies. There are also tips on handling questions, walking up to the platform and meeting the audience afterward. The anecdotes deal chiefly with Noonan's adventures on the political circuit and in the White House with Presidents Reagan and Bush and are the fluffy sort of things the author herself probably uses facing audiences. The advice is practical and fairly obvious, but if speaking in public is indeed most people's Number One Fear, this is a calming, logical and sometimes entertaining guide. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
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