If we called speech openings “leads,” would we write better ones?

“Introduction” has no sense of urgency. Neither does “opening.” And neither do most speech introductions or openings.

That’s why I think we should start referring to the things as speech leads.

“Greetings,” said President Obama one recent Sunday night. “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Now that, my fine lettered friends, is a speech lead.

Here’s another one, from a May 11 speech by one Lara Giddings, Premier of the Australian state of Tasmania:

It’s no secret that this week has been a terrible week for me and the Government and I’m not going to try to gloss over it.

First we lost Lin Thorp. Then David Bartlett informed me that he could no longer continue as a Minister and will resign as a Member of Parliament in the near future. Worse still, in last night’s Federal Budget we heard that Tasmania had lost a further $343 million in GST revenue.

I must say that of the three events, the one that concerns me most for the long term is the further blow to the State’s revenue. Members of Parliament come and go, but the continuing erosion of the State’s finances has very real implications for the future of Tasmania and will require ongoing strong budget management and tough decisions ….

That is one Tasmanian devil of a speech lead, is it not?

Speechwriters, go forth and do likewise—and as always, send us what you do! —DM

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