Nora Ephron, who, sadly, passed away June 26th, was not only a great writer of romantic dialogue; she was also terrific at penning her own lines. There have been many tributes to the "Queen of Quips" over the past few weeks most focusing on her screenplays (especially When Harry Met Sally, her most famous work) and books. But one of the greatest testaments to Ephron's skill as a writer and communicator was her 1996 commencement address at Wellesley College.
Many people erroneously assume that any good writer can write a good speech. But as those of us in the field intimately understand, putting together a pitch-perfect speech is a very specific art. Terrific speechwriting blog The Eloquent Woman posted a great piece analyzing what made Ephron's remarks so effective, reminding us that the best speeches are those that a) tell a story, b) use plenty of detail, and c) make the audience laugh.
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