Making your rhetoric sing – keys to using music as hidden seducer in your speeches
On 23 October 2015 at the Neue Mälzerei in Berlin, Marina Lacroix, a communication specialist at McKinsey, and Suzanne Levy, a speechwriter for the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture, gave a presentation on the similarities between music and rhetoric.
These were their take-away lessons.
Let the music set the mood
- Make a song a part of your speech – either by playing it, or by letting you speaker sing it
- Music at the opening of a speech can set the mood
- Music at the end of a speech can work as a climax
- Ask your speaker for his or her favourite songs and use them
Play with expectations
- Give your audience something familiar by keeping the first two parts of a triad very similar
- Then give your audience something unexpected by making the third part of the triad rhythmically longer (think of Grieg’s Morning mood or Bernstein’s I feel pretty)
Move your audience
- Use a graphic notation system to instruct your speaker on expression
- Indicate pauses, tempo, pitch, dynamics and – importantly – emotion
- Avoid monotony – open your (speaker’s) eyes to the wide range of expression of the human voice
Bring music into your words
- Highlight the key messages in your speech by using rhythm
- Define the mood in your speech and look for the best fitting rhythm or motive
You can listen to the full presentation here.