On the 26th of April, Lebanon Support organised a workshop titled “Clear and Persuasive Communication: Speechwriting, Presentation, Advocacy and Policy Influencing,” as part of the Civil Society Incubator programme, Lebanon Support’s newest programme that was officially launched in 2016.
Thomas Hart, a speechwriter for the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs in The Hague, presented his topic while referring to examples and group work activities that facilitated comprehension of the concepts discussed. In particular, the workshop addressed the ways to prepare, structure, and style writing in order to achieve effective and memorable communication. Specifically, it focused on presentation writing and speechwriting, as well as incorporating clear and persuasive communication in advocacy, and influencing policy.
In the first half of the workshop, Hart presented the basics of clear and persuasive communication by illustrating the elements of speech writing and presentation, identifying key strategies in tailoring one’s writing, especially when addressing any particular audience.
The second half of the workshop focused on the importance of balancing between interaction with and control of the audience while giving a presentation. Hart discussed how one must always strategically decide whether to portray themselves as either more knowledgeable, credible, and “superior” than their audience, or as being on the same level as the audience as a fellow comrade. For example, in the context of Lebanon, a politician may manipulate his language, tone, and accent while giving a speech in order to gain the support of his constituents by either using familiar accents and sayings used, or by using much more formal language.
Additionally, two interactive exercises were designed and organised in line with the workshop agenda as to allow participants to become greater exposed to advocacy and policy influencing.