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For Speech Writers – An Online Course

Of all the writing assignments freelance and staff writers are asked to take on, speech writing can be the most complex, the most interesting, the most intense, and the most enjoyable form of corporate assignment going.

After all, we get to write on all sorts of topics. We get to put words in peoples’ mouths. We get to help in articulating government or corporate policy. Or help launch a new product. And by the time we are sick of the subject it is finished.

Not that there isn’t a down side. By definition the deadlines are tight, access to the speaker almost always minimal, and even though our brilliant words might hit the 11 o’clock news we can’t take credit for them.

For the in-house speech writer there is an added complication. Most have many other communication tasks on their plates other than speech writing. Let’s say it takes 20 hours to write an important keynote speech for a CEO. I know very few public affairs/communications employees who can drop everything for three days and devote all hours in the day to this one activity. So it gets spread out over time – half an hour here, half a day there and – fingers crossed – a coherent speech comes out at the other end.

For the freelance writer it’s a similar dilemma. If you have a medium full plate of non-speech assignments on your hands, you pretty much have to drop everything if you are taking on an urgent speech. And they are almost all urgent. What do you do?

So when someone calls and says “We need a speech” and you don’t know where or how to start this online speech writing course might just be the ticket.

It covers the territory from first request to last draft. It will discuss in depth the five elements of an engaging speech. This is followed by five speech samples with commentary on where they meet those five elements and where they don’t.

Do you know what chiasmus or diacope mean? No they aren’t the latest expresso offerings served at Starbucks. They are in fact rhetorical devices. The manual has a short section on these and other devices that we should consider as we take finger to keyboard. The descriptions will make your eyes glaze over and so this section, although important, is mercifully short.

There are a further 10 critical considerations to take on when you agree to an assignment and these cover such things as:

  • Why it is so important yet so hard to get the letter of invitation to your client to deliver a speech
  • Meeting the speaker – when it is a good idea – when it’s a bad idea
  • Finding your client’s voice
  • Messaging
  • Research – how much is enough?
  • Outlines – vital or an invitation to disaster?
  • Write & rewrite – from puke draft to final draft
  • Openings – the first three make-or-break minutes
  • Writing for the ear
  • Delivery issues

These are followed by a Dealing With (Difficult) Clients section that will be useful to both the in-house and out-house speech writer.There is also a major category about The Business of being a freelance speechwriter that include such topics as:

  • Landing clients
  • Firing clients
  • Money
  • Time – yours and theirs
  • Who pays for learning curves?
  • Deal breakers
  • When to turn down work

Staff communications people who are tasked with writing speeches or hiring freelance speech writers will also find The Business section useful.

This course mimics very closely the 2 day workshop I hold every year at Simon Fraser University in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, but you have the luxury of completing it over a six week period rather than a very concentrated two days. The course is very much go at your own pace. And be warned there are work assignments.

This is what you get:

  • A 150+ page manual – in PDF format.
  • Participation in webinars and teleseminars that will cover the following:

The Rules of Engagement – Six Key Factors in Crafting a Winning Speech

You’re Called to Write a Speech. After saying yes, what to do next in:

  • The First Five Hours
  • The First Five Days

Finding Work and Landing Clients. Ten Critical Strategies including

  • Establishing your presence in the market place
  • Understanding push and pull marketing
  • Learning the ins and outs of effective networking
  • Landing a client in five minutes flat.

Live Speech Critiques

  • Critiquing (gently) your speech samples

You will also have access to:

  • virtual meeting place accessible 24/7 where you can post questions, comments and assignments.
  • Plus access to me via email, direct messaging, or online discussion.

Next course February 1, 2016.  Course materials will be sent out January 31, 2016.  Cost $495 US

Registration and payment