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English as a second language (ESL)

How to give a presentation in English … when English is your second language

I’m pleased to give public speaking tips to English-as-second-language speakers in this Business Venezuela magazine. (The article appears in both English and Spanish.)

Te invitamos a leer Nuestra Edición Digital N# 360 2018 “TOP 100 COMPANIES” 20 Años presentando el mejor ranking de negocios en Venezuela.

To read my featured piece click here.

Freelance speechwriters: Time to update your website?

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If it’s time to update your website, make sure you cite comments/clients/recommendations from a wide geographical range.

Freelance speechwriting is a global business – if you market it globally.

A freelance speechwriter who attended 5 of my speechwriting seminars has turned a local speechwriting business into a global speechwriting business. I’m delighted to see this. If the entire world is filled with potential clients, why limit yourself to the companies in your hometown?

Essential: Update your website to include blurbs from international clients. Don’t have any international clients yet? Well, cite diverse forums, global topics, English-as-second-language executives.

Maybe you’ve written a speech about Brexit, or climate change, or multi-cultural workforces. Note this speechwriting experience. It all speaks to your broad worldview, and it increases your professional value.

(Yes, in case you’re wondering: Experienced international speechwriters earn higher rates.)

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How line editing can improve your next speech

This week, I’m line editing a speech for a client I’ve worked with for years. The client wrote the first draft of the speech in-house and then sent it to me to polish. With some line editing, I was able to:

* Make the speech easier for the executive to deliver

* Make the speech easier for the audience to follow

* Make the speech more memorable

* Make the speech more tweetable

Agreed: It’s important for us as speechwriters to be strategic in our thinking. But it’s equally important to have sharp line editing skills.

Skilled line editing can make the difference between a mediocre delivery and a great delivery. It’s absolutely essential when we write for speakers who use English as a second language. Every syllable matters.

Are you allocating enough time to hone each sentence in your manuscript?


How To Write & Give A Speech: coming soon in Chinese

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 The Chinese rights for How To Write & Give A Speech have been placed with ThinKingdom Media.

How To Write & Give A Speech was originally published in 1984 and has remained continuously in print (producing royalties) for more than three decades – a distinction in publishing and a testament to the commitment of publisher St Martin’s Press. As an author, I’m honored and grateful.

The Chinese edition will include both print and e-book.

Watch this space for publication dates and translation details.

Amazon: Joan Detz




How to build a freelance|writing|editing|consulting business

Maybe you do freelance speechwriting. Maybe you write annual reports. Maybe you offer editorial work. Maybe you provide consulting services.

The self-employed (read: “entrepreneurs”) need to pay as much attention to their marketing as to their services. You could be the best copyeditor east of the Mississippi, but if the people who hire copyeditors don’t know about your great freelance skills, you won’t have a business.

My advice for today:

Step #1 – Ask one client for a recommendation.

Step #2 – Thank said client.

Step #3 – Repeat process as often as you can in the coming months/years/decades.

How To Write & Give A Speech has been producing royalties – nonstop – for more than 31 years.  In the publishing world, that’s a very big deal. Few books mark their success by decades. What made it possible? Good recommendations from highly respected organizations.

Lesson made, I hope.

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“Joan Detz has been a great asset to our team at Toyota over the years, providing excellent counsel for a number of our senior executives. Her books offer a wealth of insight and information and are also a fun read. We’re grateful for Joan’s contributions to our team and recommend her highly.”

Steven Curtis, Vice President, Corporate Communications at Toyota U.S.A.

Speechwriting is global … and so is speaker coaching

Too often I hear: “I love speechwriting – it’s the favorite part of my staff writing job – and I’d love to go freelance, but I don’t think I can run a speechwriting business from my small town.”

Or: “I wish I could become a speaking consultant – I love working with speakers – but I’m afraid my location would work against me.” (I heard this comment just last week from a PR staffer. I was puzzled because although he lives in semi-rural Pennsylvania, he’s still within 100 miles of Philadelphia – easy Amtrak access to the enormous client potential of NYC and DC, plus nonstop flights to Frankfurt, London, etc.)

Please re-think your situation.

Freelancing, coaching and consulting are not limited by geography. Work crosses borders. Location is not destiny. You can get there from here.

And if you can’t see a client in person (or if you don’t want to), you can work quite effectively via email, phone and Skype.

I do speechwriting, speaker coaching and media training for many global clients who I [almost] never see.  Although I work from a small town, I have a global attitude. And a global attitude is essential to freelance speechwriting/coaching.

“As a global speech coach, Joan Detz is simply the best. Unlike anyone else, she understands how to train English-as-second-language speakers. Our members from Asia to South America comment on Joan Detz’s ability to promptly identify their speaking strengths. She works quickly, yet is supremely sensitive – that’s why SIA has counted on her for years.” (Elizabeth M. Lucas, Executive Director & CEO, Soroptimist International)

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A Year of Performing at Your Best: Luis Vicente Garcia

I was pleased to appear on this radio program in 2015. My top-ranked session (as reviewed by listeners) was: 

How to Boost Your Career and Building Your Business Through Public Speaking, with Joan Detz and Luis Vicente Garcia

Please find 50 minutes to listen. You’ll learn a lot about public speaking from this interview. And you’ll save countless hours of mistakes.

From the blog of Luis Vicente Garcia:

As we come to the end of the year, I have to thank so many people who have made my radio show a success!

When we started to think about it, Winston and Jeff from the Voice America Radio Network helped me create many incredible parts, such as the banners, the links, setting up the page, coming up with the Bio and creating the show’s name and page. And it has been an amazing year. You can hear all of the shows on the Voice America Business Channel at Performing at Your Best: Mindset Evolution with Luis Vicente Garcia

Our first show was on June 2nd so as we close the year we have already done 32 shows. And the audio and technical people at VoiceAmerica have been incredible. Many thanks to all.

I have done several shows on my own and I have had the most amazing guests. I interviewed my dear friends Margaret Maclay and Joan Detz; I interviewed incredible authors as Bob Burg and business colleagues as Ramon Palmero, Abel Calvo, Margarita Pasos, Marc Kohler and Dr. Andreas Boettcher. All are great friends, and they have shared with us and the incredible listeners that week after week join us from several parts in the world, amazing tips, new business ideas and they always give us this new perspective that we need to have in order to succeed in this fast changing world.

It has an incredible year of new and wonderful experiences. And as my final post of the year in this blog I wanted to share my top-5 shows as reviewed by our listeners:

1. How to Boost Your Career and Building Your Business Through Public Speaking, with Joan Detz and Luis Vicente Garcia

2. Creating Magic in your Company

3. Conversations on Franchising with Abel Calvo and Luis Vicente Garcia

4. Grow by Empowering your Staff and Your TEAMs, with Tosin Ogunusi and Luis Vicente Garcia

5. Communication and Motivation – key factors for Business Success, with Margaret Maclay and Luis Vicente Garcia

All of the shows and interviews were incredible. Thank you so much to my incredible guests; and most of all thank you to the VoiceAmerica TEAM who have been so wonderful through out the year and to the listeners who are the ones that make this happen.

To all, my best wishes for a wonderful 2016 filled with joy, happiness, new opportunities and many learning experiences.

And have a wonderful and a very successful year!

Luis Vicente Garcia

Want to build your writing career?

Mark your calendar now:

ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) will hold its annual meeting in NYC on May 20-21. No other writing conference comes close.

The Friday session is “Members Only.” (How’s that for an incentive to join this association of nonfiction writers?)

The Saturday session is open to the public.

I have made this conference a professional priority for decades. How To Write & Give A Speech (St. Martin’s Press, 4th edition, 2014) owes its 30+ year success to all the good stuff I’ve learned at ASJA. That’s 30+ consecutive years of royalties – every spring, every autumn, another royalty check. And now Alba Editorial of Barcelona has published the Spanish edition, Como Escribir Y Pronunciar Un Discurso, translated by Elena Bernardo of Madrid. All thanks to attending and learning and networking at ASJA.

Will I see you at ASJA in 2016? I hope so.

Never stop growing as a writer. Never.


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Publishers Weekly webcast: Spanish language books in the USA

Title: Spanish Language in the US: Trends, forecasts, and titles to watch for

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015

Time: 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Duration: 1 hour


PW invites librarians, booksellers, readers and publishing pros to join us on June 18th, 1pm ET for a webcast exploring the hot topic of Spanish language titles.  Moderated by PW contributor and Spanish language book marketing and PR specialist Leylha Ahuile, our panel of industry experts will explore important aspects of this growing segment of the U.S. market, including:

  • Who makes up the market for Spanish books in the U.S.?
  • What are the trends in sales of Spanish language digital books in the U.S.?
  • How has the decreasing number of book retailers and resources that provide book reviews of Spanish language titles affected the market?
  • What categories are most in-demand?
  • The hottest current and forthcoming Spanish language titles


Leylha Ahuile, President and Founder, PromoLatino


Larry A Downs, Senior Vice President, Spanish Publishing, HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Diana Calice, Manager, Spanish Distribution Program, Independent Publishers Group

Lluvia Agustin, Director Of Spanish Sales, HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Edward Benitez, Celebra

Jaimie DePablos, Vintage


In February of 2015, Alba Editorial of Barcelona published the Spanish edition of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH – “A how-to  classic”, The Washington Post (St. Martin’s Press, 4th edition, 2014). Elena Bernardo of Madrid provided the translation. My greatest professional satisfaction of a 30+ year career is knowing that the public speaking advice in this book is now easily available to the many millions of Spanish speakers around the world.

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