The A.I. Speechwriter – Part 3

This is the third and final part of the series of posts advocating how speechwriters can use generative A.I.

Source: MidJourney A.I.

A division exists in the speechwriting profession between those well-paid speechwriters in the corporate world and political speechwriters. Political speechwriters often write for a person and cause they believe in.

The single best book on political speechwriting is Robert Lehrman’s classic “The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, which lists several core ideas that generative A.I. can tackle.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence (MMS)

Lehrman identifies MMS as an important way to structure a political speech but cautions that “if MMS by itself could make speech moving, entertaining, or persuasive, the Cliff Notes of Hamlet would be as effective as the play. It won’t make your speech great, any more than a skeleton makes you human.”

Given that, can we ask Chat GPT to create a speech outline using MMS?


Act as a speechwriter. Create an outline for a speech supporting the building of the High Speed Two rail line from London to the north of England using the structure of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

ChatGPT Output

  • I. Introduction
    • A. Attention-grabbing opening: Share a compelling statistic or anecdote about the current state of transportation in the UK or the need for improved connectivity between London and the north of England.
    • B. Establish credibility: Briefly introduce yourself and your expertise or experience in the field of transportation or infrastructure.
    • C. Thesis statement: State the purpose of the speech and express support for the construction of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail line from London to the north of England.
  • II. Need
    • A. Problem statement: Describe the current challenges and limitations of the existing rail infrastructure, such as overcrowding, delays, and lack of capacity.
    • B. Consequences: Explain the negative impacts of the current situation, such as hindered economic growth, increased congestion, and limited opportunities for regional development.
    • C. Evidence: Present relevant data and examples that highlight the need for an improved rail connection between London and the north of England, emphasizing the economic, social, and environmental benefits it can bring.
  • III. Satisfaction
    • A. Proposed solution: Introduce the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project and provide an overview of its key features, including its high-speed capability, increased capacity, and reduced travel times.
    • B. Benefits: Highlight the advantages of HS2, such as improved connectivity, enhanced regional integration, job creation, reduced carbon emissions, and increased economic opportunities.
    • C. Evidence: Present supporting evidence, such as success stories from other countries with high-speed rail networks or examples of how HS2 could stimulate economic growth and development in specific regions.
  • IV. Visualization
    • A. Paint a positive picture: Use vivid language and imagery to describe the future with HS2 in place, such as seamless travel experiences, vibrant regional economies, and reduced congestion on roads and existing rail lines.
    • B. Personal connection: Share a relatable anecdote or story that illustrates how HS2 can positively impact individuals, businesses, or communities, emphasizing the improved quality of life and opportunities it can bring.
    • C. Appeal to emotions: Use emotional language or storytelling techniques to engage the audience’s feelings and generate enthusiasm for the project.
  • V. Action
    • A. Call to action: Clearly state the desired action, which is to support the construction of HS2.
    • B. Specific steps: Provide information on how individuals can get involved, such as contacting local representatives, joining advocacy groups, or spreading awareness about the project.
    • C. Final appeal: Reiterate the benefits of HS2 and the urgency of taking action, emphasizing that supporting this project will contribute to a brighter future for both the north of England and the entire country.
  • VI. Conclusion
    • A. Summary: Recap the main points discussed in the speech, emphasizing the need for HS2 and its potential benefits.
    • B. Closing statement: End with a strong, memorable statement that inspires the audience to support the construction of HS2 and be part of a transformative transportation project.
    • C. Thank you: Express gratitude to the audience for their time and attention, and encourage them to take action and spread the message to others.

Not bad, eh? ChatGPT clearly understands MMS and applied the framework to this topic.

Making Language Vivid

In Chapter seven, Lehrman shares examples of the ways a politician can “use language that the crowd remembers and reporters will quote.” This is achieved with various rhetorical devices. How can ChatGPT help with these?

PROMPT: Act as a speechwriter. Suggest 3 similes and 3 metaphors to describe to an audience why high speed train travel is enjoyable.

Sure! Here are three similes and three metaphors to describe why high-speed train travel is enjoyable:


  1. “Traveling on a high-speed train is like soaring through the air, as if you’re a bird gliding effortlessly on a current of steel and speed.”
  2. “The experience of high-speed train travel is as smooth as silk, where every movement feels like a gentle dance, gracefully gliding across the tracks.”
  3. “Riding a high-speed train is like being on a time machine, where minutes tick away like seconds, propelling you forward into the future with exhilarating speed.”


  1. “High-speed train travel is a symphony of motion, where the rhythmic chugging of the locomotive and the harmonious hum of the tracks create a melodious journey that enthralls the senses.”
  2. “Embarking on a high-speed train is stepping into a sleek silver bullet, a futuristic capsule hurtling through time and space, carrying you to your destination in a blink of an eye.”
  3. “The high-speed train is a magic carpet of modernity, whisking you away on an enchanting voyage, where landscapes transform like scenes from a kaleidoscope, unfolding before your eyes.”

Feel free to adapt or modify these descriptions to suit your speech and audience.

PROMPT: Act as a speechwriter. Use synechdoche and metonymy to surprise an audience with reasons why high speed trains are a good idea.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, I want to share with you some surprising insights about why high-speed trains are not just a good idea, but a transformative force in our modern world. And I’ll do so by using two powerful rhetorical devices: synecdoche and metonymy.

  1. Synecdoche: Let me start by introducing you to the power of synecdoche, where a part represents the whole. Imagine, for a moment, a “single ticket” — a small, seemingly insignificant piece of paper. But within that modest ticket lies a world of possibilities. That single ticket represents more than just a seat on a high-speed train; it symbolizes access to a vast network of opportunities. It opens the doors to education, career prospects, and cultural enrichment. That tiny ticket encapsulates the entire experience of seamless travel, efficient connections, and the chance to explore the world beyond our immediate surroundings. It’s a synecdoche that encapsulates the incredible potential of high-speed train travel.
  2. Metonymy: Now, let’s delve into the realm of metonymy, where an attribute or symbol is used to represent a larger concept. Consider the notion of “steel arteries.” When we think of arteries, we envision the life-giving pathways that course through our bodies, transporting oxygen and vital resources. In the same vein, high-speed train lines can be seen as the steel arteries of a nation, breathing life into its economic, social, and cultural vitality. They connect cities and regions, pumping lifeblood into local economies, fostering innovation, and invigorating communities. Just as our physical well-being relies on healthy arteries, the well-being of a nation thrives on a robust network of high-speed train lines, fueling progress and unity.

But there’s more to the story. Synecdoche and metonymy reveal another layer of surprise.

Synecdoche reveals that a single ticket represents more than just a journey—it’s a key that unlocks doors to a myriad of possibilities. And metonymy unveils high-speed train lines as the pulsating arteries that infuse life into our societies.

So, my friends, as we contemplate the benefits of high-speed trains, let us not be confined by the literal confines of tracks and stations. Instead, let us recognize the profound impact they have on our lives—their ability to propel us forward, their power to connect us, and their potential to shape a brighter, more interconnected future.

Let us embrace the surprising depths and transformative potential that lie within the synecdoche of a single ticket and the metonymy of steel arteries.

Thank you.

OK, so that was maybe too literal. But there are nuggets of information in the response that could easily be extracted and used in a speech. I asked ChatGPT to ‘regenerate’ the response and the second version contained, I think, richer content than the first.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I stand before you to reveal the hidden marvels of high-speed trains, where the mere parts represent a greater whole, and where a single word encompasses an entire concept. Let’s explore the surprising reasons why these trains are a brilliant idea, through the lens of synecdoche and metonymy.

  1. “Wheels in Motion” (Synecdoche) Imagine the wheels of a high-speed train, rotating tirelessly on the tracks. These wheels are not just metal and rubber components; they represent the unstoppable progress and development that high-speed trains bring to our nation. Each rotation signifies the wheels of the economy in motion, generating jobs, boosting industries, and creating a ripple effect of prosperity. These seemingly simple wheels symbolize the transformative power of high-speed rail, propelling us towards a future of growth and prosperity.
  2. “The Silver Streak” (Metonymy) “The Silver Streak” refers to the high-speed train’s sleek, silver exterior, but it symbolizes something much grander. This nickname represents a meteoric advancement in transportation technology, a streak of brilliance that surges forward with unmatched velocity. It stands for the precision and efficiency that high-speed trains offer, redefining how we connect, commute, and coexist in a seamless web of modern infrastructure. Just as a silver streak across the sky captures our attention and sparks wonder, these trains capture our imaginations and revolutionize our travel experience.
  3. “The Beacon” (Metonymy) Think of the high-speed train stations that emerge as beacons in bustling cities and remote regions alike. These stations are not just physical structures; they represent the very essence of connectivity and integration. Like a guiding light in the darkness, these beacons beckon people from various walks of life to come together and experience the unity and cultural exchange that high-speed trains enable. They symbolize progress, bridging the gaps between communities and creating a shared sense of belonging, irrespective of distance. These stations become the heartbeat of a nation, pulsating with life and opportunity.
  4. “The Engine’s Heartbeat” (Synecdoche) The rhythmic throb of the high-speed train’s engine is more than just mechanical; it’s a metaphorical heartbeat of innovation and environmental consciousness. Each pulse represents the sustainable and eco-friendly nature of high-speed trains, offering a green alternative to air travel and road congestion. Just as a strong heartbeat sustains life, this eco-conscious engine sustains our planet, nurturing a greener tomorrow for generations to come.

In conclusion, high-speed trains are not merely transportation vehicles; they are vessels of progress, unifiers of people and places, and stewards of a sustainable future. They epitomize the power of synecdoche and metonymy, where the parts signify the grander whole, and a single word encapsulates a world of possibilities. Embrace the surprising brilliance of high-speed trains, and together, let’s embark on a journey that will shape our nation’s destiny and leave an indelible mark on history. Thank you.

Again, the over-literal interpretation, from which key concepts and phrases could be extracted, or used as a springboard for brainstorming.

Flesch-Kincaid score

Early in his book, Lehrman makes a strong case that ‘politicians need to be understood’ and points out the US population has an average seventh-grade (12-year-old) reading level. “In fact, speeches written at a seventh-grade level might be too complicated for a lot of Americans; unlike readers, listeners can’t go back if they’re confused.”

He recommends the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test that is part of Microsoft Word’s Spelling and Grammar Check which returns the Grade Level of any speech.

Let’s see how ChatGPT can proactively assist a political speechwriter looking to get it right.

PROMPT: Act as a speechwriter. Revise this speech to be written at an 8th grade level

I thank the hon. Lady, although I think we are selling it. She is absolutely right: it will boost productivity. It is creating jobs, as I have said, and it will boost connectivity. It is important that we all do go out and sell that. However, we have to be real: we have to balance the need for high-speed rail with sustainable public finances and respond to events as they happen around the globe. That is the reality of what we are doing with the recently announced rephasing. This is true for construction projects all over the country and, if I may say, in many parts of the world; we face significant inflation as a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine and supply shortages coming out of covid. We are reacting to that as hon. Members would expect any reasonable and responsible Government to do.

The hon. Member for Bath referenced the National Audit Office report—I can tell her that we are looking at that report very carefully and will respond in due course. However, the point I am trying to make is that on HS2 is that it is vital and we are committed to it, but we have had to make difficult decisions and choices in order to balance the need for both robust transport infrastructure and robust public finances, which we will always do for the British people.

More broadly, as has been mentioned by many speakers, we are improving rail connectivity and restoring our transport services across the country, but in particular to reverse the 1960 Beeching cuts. It is important that we expand the rail network as well as improving the existing rails.

In the interest of time, I will pick up some of the direct points raised by hon. Members. The hon. Member for Bath should be aware that I am briefed on the M4, which she mentioned—even though I am only a week in, I know about the M4 connection to Dorset. The hon. Lady will know that the DFT commissioned a study by National Highways on that route, and its outcomes are being carefully considered by the Government and wider stakeholders. It is a live discussion and we look to come back on that very soon. The hon. Member for Bath and my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon also made some excellent points on rail electrification. The hon. Lady should be aware of the transport decarbonisation plan, which will deliver a net zero railway by 2050. She referenced some specific statistics, and I will respond with a couple of my own: since 2010, we have electrified 1,224 miles of track, of which 1,000 miles have been installed in the past five years alone—compared, by the way, with just 70 miles electrified in England and Wales between 1997 and 2010. I think we are doing a pretty good job, although there is more to do. I do not think anybody would deny that.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr Carmichael) made a very insightful and interesting speech about the challenges his constituents face. I will look into the issue he raised about Treasury responsibility for the pot and come back to him. My hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon said eloquently that these things do not all rest on Government finances; the Government cannot pick up the tab for all our infrastructure projects. The benefits of our national infrastructure strategy will be secured through Government and private funding, so we will win the prize by mobilising private capital investment. Almost half of the UK’s future infrastructure pipeline is forecast to be privately financed, and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority recently estimated that the total infrastructure investment for the next decade across the public and private sectors will be nearly £650 billion.”

ChatGPT output

Thank you, everyone. I agree with the previous speaker that high-speed trains are a good idea. They will improve productivity, create jobs, and enhance connectivity. It’s important that we all support and promote this idea. However, we also need to consider the reality of balancing high-speed rail with sustainable public finances and responding to global events like the situation in Ukraine and the impacts of COVID-19. The recently announced changes reflect our efforts to address these challenges.

We are not only focused on high-speed trains but also on improving rail connectivity throughout the country. Our goal is to reverse the cuts made in the 1960s and expand the rail network while also enhancing existing infrastructure.

I want to address some specific concerns raised by other speakers. We are aware of the issues related to the M4 connection to Dorset and have commissioned a study to address them. We are also committed to rail electrification, and our transport decarbonisation plan aims to achieve a net-zero railway by 2050. Since 2010, we have already electrified over a thousand miles of track, and we are determined to do more.

To finance these projects, we are not relying solely on government funds. We are actively seeking private investment through partnerships. In fact, almost half of the future infrastructure projects in the UK are expected to be financed privately. We have strong regulations, a solid legal framework, and a robust financial sector that attract private capital investment.

This was not totally fair, since the speech was given in the Houses of Parliament, not to an outside audience (Funding for Major Infrastructure Projects, Hansard Volume 732: debated on Wednesday 3 May 2023 – Gareth Davis speaking). However, it clearly shows how ChatGPT can take complex political rhetoric and simplify it for the average person.

Still too complex? How about this?

PROMPT: Act as a teacher. Revise the following text so that it can understood by 8 year old children. [Insert 8th grade text above]

Hello, everyone! I want to talk about something really exciting: high-speed trains! They are super fast trains that can help us in many ways. First, they will make us more productive, which means we can get things done faster. Second, they will create jobs, so more people will have work to do. And third, they will help us stay connected to different places, making it easier for us to travel and visit our friends and family.

But there are some important things we need to think about too. We have to make sure we can afford to build these high-speed trains and take care of our money. We also need to pay attention to what’s happening in the world, like the situation in Ukraine and the effects of COVID-19. We want to make sure we can handle any challenges that come our way.

Now, high-speed trains are not the only thing we’re working on. We also want to make the regular trains better and more connected all around the country. A long time ago, there were some cuts made to the train system, and we want to fix that. We want to make the train network bigger and better while also improving the existing train tracks and stations.

Some people have raised concerns about connecting the M4 to Dorset. We know there are issues with that, and we’re doing a special study to find solutions. We also care about the environment, so we want to make the trains run on electricity instead of polluting fuels. Our plan is to have a train system that doesn’t produce any pollution by the year 2050. We’ve already made progress by electrifying over a thousand miles of train tracks since 2010, and we want to keep going.

To pay for all these projects, we’re not only using money from the government. We’re also asking for help from private investors through partnerships. In fact, almost half of the future projects in the UK will be funded by private money. We have rules and laws in place to make sure everything is done correctly, and our financial system is strong, which means people want to invest their money in our projects.

So, let’s get excited about high-speed trains and improving our train system! We’re working hard to make it happen, and we appreciate everyone’s support.

In conclusion

This three-part series has, I hope, shown ways in which speechwriters can use generative A.I. tools like ChatGPT. The number of tools is expanding rapidly. No doubt some public speeches — be they at a wedding, in the conference center, or on the hustings — will use material simply cut and paste from GPT output. This is not a clever way to proceed. The language can be silted, repetitive, filled with factual errors, and unconvincing.

However, in the hands of a professional, research tasks, speech outlines, alternative points of view, and more are available for review.

I believe these tools will enrich and make life easier and more productive for professional speechwriters and concerns about their use are misplaced.

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Communicate4Impact examines how ChatGPT can be employed analyze a piece of writing and identify the communication or storytelling frameworks used.

Prompt: I love the ((Declaration of Independence)). Please tell me what storytelling frameworks or persuasive communication techniques are behind it.

— Customize the content in (()) as required. I tested The Preamble to the Constitution; The Bill of Rights; The Magna Carta; and The Rights of Man. All were impressive.

ChatGPT output summary (for complete listing see above link):

In the Declaration of Independence, several such frameworks were revealed.

-The Problem-Agitation-Solution (P.A.S.) Framework was used to illustrate the issues with British rule and propose independence as the solution. This method is frequently used in copywriting.

-Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, a persuasion technique often used in speeches, follows the steps of attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. It was also applied.

-Framing was used to cast the British Crown as oppressors and the colonies as oppressed, making the independence case more compelling.

This article lists ways in which political analysis can be enhanced with ChatGPT. Among the suggestions:

1. Data Mining and Information Aggregation:
(See The Miller – above.)
2. Issue Identification and Sentiment Analysis:
By identifying emerging political issues by analyzing conversations, news articles, and social media trends
3. Predictive Analysis:
To develop predictive models by analyzing historical data, socio-economic indicators, and public sentiment.
4. Scenario Building:
By simulating potential events or policy decisions, analysts can explore the possible ramifications and unintended consequences, thereby informing policymakers and strategists about potential risks and opportunities.
5. Public Communication:
To craft persuasive and comprehensible narratives that convey complex political concepts to the general public. (See MMS above.)
6. Policy Formulation:
Aid in policy research by providing quick access to a wide range of historical precedents, expert opinions, and potential outcomes. This ensures that policy decisions are well-informed and backed by evidence.

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