Peace of mind
You’ve got a big speech coming up for a wedding or a conference and you don’t know where to start. If only someone who does this sort of thing every day could write it for you and leave you to get on with other things.
Many people would love to write their own speech. They just haven’t got the time. Yes, you can ‘wing’ it, but some occasions are too important to ‘wing’ it.
Working together, speaker and speechwriter can usually find humour that’s appropriate for you. And if you happen to tell the occasional joke that isn’t funny – well at least nobody is going to laugh at you.
At a lectern, you’re transparent. If you agree to speak in public, and you don’t know what’s expected, it’s easy to damage your reputation. If you don’t prepare properly, the audience will make judgements about your competence, your character and your value to the organisation.
Tony Blair’s speechwriter once said that he earned his salary more for what he took out of the Prime Minister’s speeches than what he put in. A speechwriter is like a sieve, catching all the stuff that’s not necessary. If you’re too busy to prepare properly, it’s easy to be side-tracked by irrelevant ideas and boring information.
Avoid PowerPoint Slides
FT journalist, Gillian Tett, suggested that the willingness of bankers to listen to meaningless PowerPoint presentations contributed to the collapse of the financial system in 2008. There’s an excellent book out there, Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint. A speechwriter helps you put together a script. The slides are only ever the icing on the cake.
If you’re giving a speech, you want to be likeable, persuasive and change behaviour in some way. A speechwriter has the skills of a journalist. We know how to interview you and unearth the stories that the audience wants to hear.
How can presentation trainers create great results if the script is awful? A speechwriter with a video camera can produce wonderful results. We can rewrite as we go along. It’s easy to go to your premises or the venue and help you cut out the boring bits.
Brian Jenner runs the UK Speechwriters’ Guild. The Guild offers training workshops throughout the year. Details here.