The Rhetorical Canons of Speechwriting

  • Jens E. KjeldsenEmail author
  • Amos Kiewe
  • Marie Lund
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


In this chapter, we present three tasks from the rhetorical canon that all speechwriting must engage in order to compose a coherent and persuasive speech. The first, finding content and arguments, involves a structured method of researching, the topical system. The second task, organizing the speech, involves reflection on the function of the parts. Our focus is on the speech consisting of four parts: introduction, narrative, argument, and epilogue. Presenting the third task, creating persuasive language and style, we argue that style is vital to the construction and meaning. We outline the basic principles of rhetorical style and advice speechwriters to use rhetorical figures to structure the argument, enhance communion with the audience, and make the speech memorable.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens E. Kjeldsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amos Kiewe
    • 2
  • Marie Lund
    • 3
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
  1. 1.Department of Information Science and Media StudiesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Communication and Rhetorical StudiesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.School of Communication and CultureAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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