HKS Speaking and Writing Handouts


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Advice on Public Speaking and Writing from the HKS Communications Program

The links in the table below have been reproduced and slightly reorganized from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center ( page on handouts at The Shorenstein Center’s admirable Open Access Policy is describe at

Speaking fundamentals

Building Trust

Creating a Speaker Persona

Dealing with Emotion

Five Steps towards More Successful Public Speaking

Fly-Swatter Techniques

How Listeners Think

Introduction to Public Speaking

Just Breathe! How to Add Power to Your Voice

Markers for Public Speaking

Mental Models for Public Speaking

Some Characteristics of Eloquence

Some Thoughts about Expressing Values

Some Rhetorical Uses of Metaphor

Strengthen Your Voice and Calm Your Nerves

Ten Ways To Generate New Ideas

The First 60 Seconds

Tips for Improving Class Participation


All About Introductions

The Good Opening


Persuasive Storytelling

Some Rhetorical Uses of Story

Some Suggestions about Storytelling


Effective PowerPoint Presentations

Michael Walton’s Presentation on Presentations


Creative Refutation

David Gergen’s 20 General Tips for Political Debates

Ceremonial speeches

Suggested Guidelines for Commencement Addresses

Advocacy and persuasion

Advocating a Controversial Position

Articulating a Vision or Mission

Campaigning for Election

Guidelines for Consensus-Building

Guidelines for Interactive Persuasion

How To Be Persuasive

Writing fundamentals

Becoming a Better Writer: Reminders and Resources

Finding Your (Writer’s) Voice

Five Steps to Writing Effectively About Social Justice Passions

The Productive Writer

Tonic for Writers Block

Writing about Foreign Policy: Actionable tips and writing strategies


How to Write an Op-Ed or Column


Editing Yourself: How to Copy Edit Your Own Writing

Memo writing

Writing Policy Memos: Best Practices and Actionable Tips for Memo Writing at HKS and Beyond

Behn Craft of Memo Writing

Checklist for Writing Action Memoranda

Joe Nye’s Brief Guidelines for Writing Action Memoranda

Option and Decision Memos Basic Components

Policy Memo Guidelines

VIDEO: The Rules for Writing Excellent Policy Memos by Luci Herman

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Sample policy memos

Estimating the Impact of the Dream Act

Homeland Security Memo on Immigration

Pandemic Flu Preparedness

India’s Climate Policy

Avian Flu Preparedness

U.S. Policy on Climate Change

Christopher Stone’s Memo on Memo Writing

Executive summaries

Examples of Executive Summaries

Executive Summary Guidelines

Writing the Executive Summary for Your PAE

Writing a book

Writing a Winning Book Proposal

Social media

Writing For and Maintaining a Blog

How to Launch Your Own Website with WordPress

Welcome to Wikipedia

Wikipedia Best Practice – Guidance for Public Relations Professionals

Government Use of Social Media 

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 27 January 2016.

Image: Screen grab of, accessed 25 January 2016.