Chiasmus Competition

Posted on 29 September 2017  |   2 Comments

We had a competition through our email newsletter to write a ‘chiastic’ phrase about speechwriting. The prize was a copy of the new edition of Jay Heinrich’s book Thank You For Arguing. We asked Jay to judge the competition. His comments and the name of the winner are published below the entries.

Righting wrongs cannot be achieved by writing wrongs.

Steve Bee

Do you need a speechwriter to acquire power, or do you need power to acquire a speechwriter?

One should speech to persuade people, not persuade people to speech…

Renée Broekmeulen

Look up while you speak
Speak up while you look.

Alison Reid

Self-understanding is key to writing great speeches, just as writing speeches is key to great self-understanding.

Craig Millar

Good communication comes from the words in your heart, and the heart in your words.

Ed McManus

Rhetoric: an art of craft, and a crafting of art.

Jess Perchard

Some Speechwriters write to live whilst others live to write.

At the ESN we are the speechwriters for leaders and the leaders of speechwriters

Guy Doza

The art of speechwriting is accepting that writing a speech is art.

Dean Papadopoulos

Ask not what your country can draft for you; ask what you can draft for your country.

Professor Richard Toye


Jay Heinrichs says:

There are some good ones in here. And…a few clinkers, don’t you think?

It’s a tight race between Alison Reid and Ed McManus. Both reveal the power of the chiasmus, which reframes a thought by flipping it over. Alison’s chiasmus offers useful advice, and it implies Cicero’s wisdom about persuading through the eyes.

But I’d give the final nod to Ed. Besides offering a neatly balanced figure, he conveys a subtle moral: speechwriting requires not just authenticity but the craft of revealing that authenticity.

It’s not enough to tell the soul within a speech. You have to show that soul.

Congratulations to Ed McManus!

2 Comments on Chiasmus Competition

  • Ed McManus 2 October 2017

    The competition was challenging and good fun. Thank you…

    -Ed McManus
    dba The Jokesmith

  • Alison Reid 3 October 2017

    Congratulations Ed! Thank you Jay, for your comments.

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