Apr 4, 2017

Sarah Hurwitz, former speechwriter for Michelle Obama, offers tips on becoming a better storyteller.

Say something true. When people are thinking about giving a speech, they’re often thinking, “What will make me sound smart or interesting or witty or powerful?” Or they’re thinking, “What does the audience want to hear?”


Those really shouldn’t be your first and most foundational questions. Your first question should be, “What is the deepest and most important truth that I can tell at this moment?”


Whether you were giving a speech to 1,000 people or talking to your board or leading an informal meeting, it’s really important to say something that is clearly and glaringly true.


I think that it makes people trust you. It makes them respect you. It shows your authenticity. I think it makes you credible and it’s a really good way to start. I’d say it’s also a good way to continue and end a speech.


Most of us are not going to be giving speeches in front of world leaders, but we all are communicating every day. Here are some tips on strong, concise, direct communication that really gets you somewhere.