A colleague wrote that he was having a hard time cutting a too-long presentation. He had put in all the points that mattered to him – and he didn’t want to cut any of them.
Later in his speechwriting process, he read It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It (St Martin’s Press), and he began to look at the topic from the audience’s point of view. What would they want to hear? What would they expect to learn? What would they need to know?
Most especially: How long would they be willing to sit for an after dinner lecture?
Once he looked at the topic from the audience’s viewpoint, it was pretty easy for him to cut away the unnecessary material.
“I’ve found all of Joan Detz’s books to be highly useful, but this one may top the list because it has a few topics not covered in her other books.”
#LibraryCardSignUp Month. If you don’t already own a card for your local public library, get one now.
Then get cards for major libraries throughout the country.
You don’t have to be a resident of Philadelphia to apply for a card at Philly’s terrific Free Library. While you’re at it, follow @FreeLibrary to learn about all the digital resources available to you.
You don’t have to be a New York City resident to apply for a card at the NY Public Library. Getting your NYPL card this
#LibraryCardSignUpMonth is easy – and so worth it. http://on.nypl.org/2wgYxhC Be sure to follow @nypl on Twitter to get up-to-date info on reference sources (from podcasts to lists to Ask The Librarian).
Check this blog space in the days ahead for more reference tools.
Remember: Your speeches and presentations can only be as strong as the research you put into them.
Since September 1st, I have accepted seven speechwriting assignments – most due in late September or October, with one due in November.
This is a demanding load. How do I juggle seven speechwriting assignments? I don’t. I set priorities and I only work on one speech at a time.
The other speeches? I never multitask with my speechwriting research, and I even keep hard-copy files of the other speechwriting assignments completely out of sight – no distractions. That’s what desk drawers were made for!
FYI: Since September 1st, I also received other requests to write speeches on a wide variety of topics: energy, motivation, China, etc. I declined those speechwriting assignments for a range of reasons, and instead I referred those leads to experienced freelance speechwriters whose work I know well.
Look for a blog post in the coming weeks on “why I have to decline certain speechwriting assignments”.
Are you ready to take your speechwriting to a higher level? Consider one of my individual speechwriting tutorials: Basic, Advanced, and Master levels. I custom-design the course material to meet your specific speechwriting needs/goals.
Media interviews talk about fixing the USA’s growing divisiveness. Corporate presentations talk about the need to encourage diversity. Government officials talk about “the bi-partisan need to come together” as a nation.
I ran across this quote from a commencement address given by President Kennedy back in 1963 at the American University in DC. The second sentence struck me, in particular the words “at least we can help make the world safe for diversity” … strong words (mostly 1 syllable) that convey a strong theme:
“So, let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
Make the World Safe for Diversity sounds like a good title for a speech.
Whether you write on staff or freelance, you want your speechwriting clients to feel like they’re in good hands.
Think about the clients you served last week. Write down 3 specific things you did to convey your professionalism.
Keep this list of actions on file. The next time you work for these clients, find other ways to let them know they’re in good hands with your speechwriting services.
Pretty soon, you’ll be seen as indispensable. That’s what you want.
“It’s not normal for you to go to a community, weigh 100 children and have 30 of them close to dying.” (Susanna Raffalli, nutritional coordinator, speaking about the human devastation in Caritas Venezuela)
+ the impact of using the personal pronoun “you” to engage listeners in the statistic (“It’s not normal for you to go to a community … “)
+ the power of using round numbers: “100 children … 30 of them close to dying”. Round numbers are more quotable.
On a personal note:
For the sake of the children who are suffering so terribly in Venezuela, I hope you’ll find opportunities to share this statistic with others. The chaos in Venezuela gets precious little media attention in the US. I’m aware of Venezuela’s situation through international business communication colleagues who are trying to do their professional best in what has become a disaster zone.
What images do you create in the minds of your audience?
“Some say that nothing is more vivid or memorable than a picture. We disagree. No visual image is as vivid as the image created by the mind in response to words.” [Norman Cousins]
Wise words to guide your speechwriting …
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.)