How are great speeches written? An answer by Wall Street analyst Noah Zandan

February 25, 2016


Anyone who writes speeches and reports faces similar challenges. What makes some texts more attractive than others? What makes some communication statements more powerful and memorable?

A study performed by a former Wall Street analyst aims to show just that: the importance of speeches, the content and message behind them and – of course – the success (or failure) that follows.

Using data science, and an extensive database including executives and historical figures, Noah Zandan creates models on why some executives are more believable than others. According to him, it all comes down to language. Subtle changes can make a huge difference in how a statement is perceived. Using simple, clear sentences, in the present tense, makes statements far more credible and trustworthy. But what is perhaps his most interesting finding is that none of the successful executives follow a specific formula – they stand out precisely because of the visions they wish to express and the ease with which they communicate them with those who might not have their level of expertise in that area.

Hence, readability and tonality are important – if not the most important – factors of written communications. Writing what you want to say is one thing, getting it across the way you mean to is another. Based on academic research, TonalityTech uses machine learning algorithms to analyze which words investors perceive as particularly positive or negative in press releases. With an intuitive and easy to use Microsoft Add-In TonalityTech’s easy to use Microsoft Add-In serves as a “compliance spell check” of the perception and readability in written communications. After all, every word we use matters.

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