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Welcome to the blog of author and speechwriter/ coach, Joan Detz.
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Where to find a good proverb for your next presentation

When I want to find a proverb for a speech, this is the source I turn to first:

Little Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Oxford University Press, 2009

This reference book is well researched, well organized, and well documented. Professional speechwriters (and professional speakers) can depend on this material.

ASJA opens registration for May 2017 writing conference in NYC

From the American Society of Journalists and Authors:

May 5-6 2017, New York City

The publishing industry occupies very different terrain than it did even a decade ago. With the industry shift from print to digital, new media for authors, the influx of content marketing, and revolving editors, freelancers need to build their platforms while developing creative business strategies.

Never before has it been so essential for successful writers to Pivot in order to Publish and Prosper.

Join us in NYC for education, connections, tips, tricks and strategic moves from seasoned journalists/authors – plus top social media experts, website pros, corpcomm/PR pros, editors, agents, content buyers…

Our dynamic keynote speakers will show you exactly how to pivot, sell your project in a single sentence, find new venues, maximize strengths, and use your experiences to make an impact. The panels, sessions, coaching, and workshops will inspire, motivate and empower journalists, authors, and nonfiction writers at all stages of their careers.

Get writing tips on Twitter @JoanDetz

Looking for quick writing tips?

I tweet often about:
#reference sources
#HTWGAS #HowToWriteAndGiveASpeech
#multicultural audiences
#international speechwriting
#PPT #PowerPoint

… so you can learn a lot on Twitter @JoanDetz

Foreign Book Covers

Coming soon … the Chinese edition

Good advice for advertising & good advice for speechwriting

I’ve long admired advertising genius David Ogilvy. When I was in the account executive training program at Wells Rich Greene Advertising in NYC, I tried to learn as much as possible about communication.

And one thing I learned? Heed David Ogilvy.

Here’s an Ogilvy quote I’ve used as a mantra for my speechwriting business:

“Some agencies pander to the craze for doing everything in committee. They boast about ‘teamwork’. But no team can write an advertisement …”

My paraphrase:

“No committee can write a speech.”

I’ve seen speechwriting-by-committee: it doesn’t produce a distinctive voice for the speaker, and it wastes a whole lot of time.


Endorsement for online speechwriting tutorial

“By far, this was the best writing course I’ve ever taken.

I was extremely impressed with Joan’s approach to speechwriting training. She customized the material to fit my needs, provided constructive feedback along the way, and made me feel like I was her only client.

She’s a teacher, mentor, and coach rolled into one.

I can honestly say I feel less frustrated and more confident in my speechwriting skills now – thanks to Joan.”

[US federal agency speechwriter, Washington DC]


How will you boost your writing career this week?

Start every Monday by asking “What will I do to boost my writing career this week?”

You have many options:

* Sign up for a webinar
* Polish your LinkedIn profile
* Join a professional organization (I’ll encourage you to join the American Society of Journalists and Authors. ASJA is the nation’s oldest and largest society for professional nonfiction writers. It’s truly a fine group.)
* Make one networking call
* Ask a client for a written recommendation of your writing services (It’s essential to get blurbs from a range of clients, industries, geographical areas.)
* On Twitter, follow a writing organization from another country
* Tweet at least once about the writing you’re doing this week (How else will potential employers learn about your skills/talents? What better way for prospective clients to discover your communications expertise?)

Do something.

It’s your writing career. Invest in it.

Foreign Book Covers

Coming soon: the Chinese edition of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH (both e-book and paper)

From the Authors Guild … Understand the algorithm-driven economy

If you live near NYC, Harper’s Magazine and the Authors Guild invite you to join us for a special discussion, Q&A, and signing with Maurice E. Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi, authors of the new book Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy. Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of the Authors Guild, will moderate.

November 14, 2016
7:00 pm
Book Culture, 450 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

Writing by committee …

Some wise words from advertising genius David Ogilvy:

“Much of the messy advertising you see on TV is the product of committees. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they should never be allowed to create them.”

Ditto for speeches:

Committees can critique speeches, but they should never be allowed to write them.

Years ago I worked on a convention speech that was written by a committee of about ten. (I was the only writer in the group – the rest came from sales, manufacturing, marketing or HR.) Two words can sum up that speechwriting experience: Never again.

stack of books

Changing your presentation: When is it too late?

In theory, it’s never too late. You can make changes to your presentation anytime. But – and this is a big but – changes always present a cost.

Sometimes changes pose a financial cost:
* rush fees for a graphic designer to fix your PowerPoint
* rush fees for a speechwriter to rewrite your notes
* higher costs to rent rehearsal space
* higher production rates
* the need for additional proofreading

Sometimes changes pose an opportunity cost:
* What could you be doing if you weren’t making your 11th change? (What should you be doing?)
* Does changing the content mean you’ll have less time for rehearsals?
* Could redesigning your PPT take away from Q&A preparation?
* Do ongoing changes hurt staff morale?
* Do last-minute changes introduce errors/typos?

Whether it’s a financial cost or an opportunity cost: Either way, you’ll pay.
And the later you make those changes, the more they will cost. Beware night-before rewrites.

The best way to avoid changes? Plan. If you plan your presentation carefully, you’ll be less likely to require last-minute changes.

Always prepare an outline before you script your remarks or do your PowerPoint. The more you understand your content and your audience, the more you can remain in control of your presentation.

As a speaker, ask yourself, “How much am I willing to sacrifice for hasty changes? Money? Quality? Frustration? Lost sleep? Less rehearsal time?”

Yes, errors absolutely do need to be fixed. Other items? Not so much.

Foreign Book Covers

How to Write  Give a Speech smallforhomepage

Are you ready for your next Q&A session?

I just finished coaching a client for a big Q&A session. In particular, I focused on coaching the executive to improve his question-and-answer skills with international audiences.

The a-ha moment for my speaker was: “Preparing for a Q&A takes at least as much work as preparing to give a major presentation.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Allocate your preparation time accordingly. Don’t skimp on Q&A practice. (FYI: The more diverse your audience, the sharper your skills have to be. Content alone won’t suffice … you’ll need multicultural communication skills to save the day.)

Right from the beginning, budget time for Q&A practice each time you rehearse your presentation. Don’t wait until the last minute to think about the questions you might get.

Need help? This book has a detailed section on Q&A sessions – and you can borrow it widely from public libraries:

How to Write  Give a Speech smallforhomepage

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