Thursday, February 26, 2009

Speech! Speech!

I had a great time talking to students in Derek Drager's speechwriting class at Grant MacEwan this afternoon. They were a great bunch of students with good questions, and it was a pleasure to enjoy a classroom environment again.

Derek asked me to give his students a picture of the everyday reality of a speechwriter, and that's what I tried to do.

I've never had the benefit of any formal training in speechwriting, so I had to learn all my techniques on the fly. I won't reproduce my entire talk here, but here are the two primary lessons I tried to impart:

- Develop your empathic skills. Listen to your client, not just with your ears, but with your heart; find out what's most important to them on a personal and professional level. And develop empathy for your client's audiences; his or her speeches will be most effective if the audience believes that the speaker understands and empathizes with their issues and priorities.

- Speechwriting is a huge responsibility. A speechwriter's words, when delivered by a person of influence, can have a tremendous affect on people. A speechwriter should always use his or her talents for good; he or she should seek and share truth.

Of course there's a whole lot more to speechwriting, but if you keep those two points at top of mind, you're off to a good start.

Today's experience, combined with yesterday's very motivational creativity workshop, have given me an interesting idea: speeches for superheroes! I have a concept in mind already, and I intend to turn this into a recurring feature here at My Name is Earl (J. Woods). The first speech will be delivered by Superman.


Anonymous said...

I am very proud of you and think your concept to write speeches for Superheros is fantastic! Er, with the exception of Green Lantern. lol...

L,your wife

Bruce Dean said...

Anyone who runs against Stelmach is a superhero in my book!