1) We don’t let speakers sit down
If a speaker is telling us something important, we prefer them to stand up. We don’t do sofa interviews and we don’t do panels – because you can appear on those without proper preparation.
2) We don’t need ‘stars’
On 23 October 2015 at the Neue Mälzerei in Berlin, Marina Lacroix, a communication specialist at McKinsey, and Suzanne Levy, a speechwriter for the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture, gave a presentation on the similarities between music and rhetoric.
These were their take-away lessons.
Let the music set the mood
Play with expectations Read more
Chris West from Verbal Identity spoke at a conference I attended earlier this year and opened his presentation by saying he’d been discussing what to say with one of his former colleagues. He told us how the colleague had given him a great NLP tip on presenting. He then didn’t tell us what the tip was.
Only later did the ingenuity of the aside come across because a member of the audience asked him during questions about the tip. And Chris said, always leave an unanswered question, it keeps their attention.
Speechwriting can be a satisfying and lucrative career. But our jobs hang by a thread, and we can never afford to forget that.
There are two ways of dealing with this insecurity. One is by using speechwriting as a stepping-stone to an editorial or managerial position. The other is by cultivating speechwriter survival skills.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the course of my own career:
First: Always remember that you have two clients: the person you write for – and yourself. And you are just as important as the client.
There’s no conflict of interest here. If you’re working to make your client look good, you’re also making yourself look good. For example: You’re hired to write speeches? Offer to ghost an article or op/ed for your client. If it gets published, the client looks good and you’ve got another choice writing sample to add to your portfolio; something to show potential employers that you’re good at different kinds of writing.