How A Speaker Can Become A Speechwriter

If you give speeches, then you are qualified to write speeches
If you give speeches, then you are qualified to write speeches
Image Credit: Doug Davey

So you are a speaker. Congratulations. What’s your next step now? Have you ever thought about writing speeches for somebody else? I mean, you can write a pretty good speech for yourself, why not do it for somebody else? You might decide to do this simply because you are a nice person and you want to help somebody out, or you might decide that this is a type of business that you want to go into. No matter your motivation, do you know how to go about writing speeches that another person will deliver?


The Challenge Of Writing Speeches

So first off, let’s be very clear about something here. There is no school that can teach us to become a speechwriter. Perhaps another good thing is that there is no place where you can waste a big chunk of your life’s savings buying some sort of “speechwriter” certification. On the other hand, there are a number of speechwriting workshops that do exist that may be of value to you. In order to become started as a speechwriter you need to, drum roll please, write a speech. This means that you need to go out there and find somebody who needs to have a speech written for them and write it.

You may be asking yourself “who needs me to write a speech for them?” The answer is more people than you may be aware of. No matter where you live, there are elected officials who are called on to give speeches all the time. These people often don’t have time to create a good speech and many of them don’t have anyone on their team that is officially designated as their speechwriter. You can volunteer to do it for them. Don’t worry about not having any experience in doing this. You have successfully written speeches for yourself and so you certainly do it for somebody else.

So, if you are going to be writing speeches for other people, just exactly how are you going to go about doing this? One of the most important things that you are going to have to realize is exactly what goes into successful speech. Successful speeches contain great style, a good structure, and, of course, a great storyline. What you need to realize is that if you want to become a good speechwriter you are going to need to practice.


How To Be A Successful Speechwriter

Great you say, practice. Umm, just exactly how much should you practice? It turns out that the answer is to do it as much as it takes! Your goal here needs to be to learn from those people who do a good job of writing speeches. This means that you are going to have to find the time to both read and listen to famous speeches. When you do this, sit down and rewrite them – how could you have made them better than they were? By doing this you are going to be able to develop a deeper understanding of words and how they work together.

Once you’ve gone through the effort of doing all of this, your next step is going to be to find a mentor. What you’d like to be able to do is to find someone who is an experienced speechwriter. The trick here is that you are going to want to find somebody who can be critical of your work – you don’t need somebody who is just going to be offering you complements. What you are going to need is some solid, constructive criticism. You need to have your work ripped apart, reorganized, and eventually rewritten.

So now back to the big question: who’s speeches will you be writing? A great source of speechwriting comes from nonprofits who always have to be raising money. Additionally, hospitals and clinics give a lot of speeches also. Don’t forget the Rotary and Lions clubs in your area – they are always having meetings and have a need for their members to give speeches. You need to be the person who is reaching out to them and offering to write their speeches. Once you’ve written a few speeches you will have developed a portfolio and you can start to present that to people that you are offering to write speeches for. Don’t forget that you’ll never be too good to take a speechwriting course when it becomes available.


What All Of This Means For You

So you can speak, who cares? Can you write a good speech – now that’s something! If you can write a good speech for yourself, then you can write a good speech for someone else. As a speaker, you need to understand that you have a skill that if you choose to, you can put to work for other people helping them to better express themselves. Once you’ve decided to do this, you just need to come up with a plan to make it happen.

If you decide to start to write speeches for other people you need to realize that there is no school where you can learn to do this. There are courses, but no degrees or certificates. You may also wonder who needs to have you write a speech for them? It turns out that there are a lot of people who are giving speeches and they all have a need for good speeches. Since you have given speeches, you know what makes up a good speech and you can use this when you are writing for other people. In order to become a good speechwriter, you are going to have to practice and take the time to listen to good speeches. After you have done this, you’ll have to go out and find a mentor. You need someone who will tell you what you are doing wrong and how to fix it. Know that you can talk with local businesses and find people who need your speech writing skills. Do this enough and you’ll be able to create a portfolio that you can start to shop around.

Giving speeches is a key part of many people’s jobs. However, they may not either have the skill or the time to create good speeches. This is where you can come in. You know how to write speeches for yourself and so you can use this skill to write speeches for other people. Do some asking around, find people who need your talent, and then get busy writing. Remember that the best way to become better at writing speeches is to write more!


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™


Question For You: When you start writing speeches, how long do you think that they should be?


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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As speakers, we are seen as being skillful at all types of speeches. Although we may generally see speaking as writing a speech and then getting up on a stage and delivering that speech, it turns out that due to the importance of public speaking there are many different forms that speaking can take. One of the more common ones is being asked to moderate a panel session. The people on the panel, the smart people, are not necessarily speakers and so it is going to be your job to find ways to allow them to share what they know in a way that your audience will be able to understand. If you were asked to moderate a panel session, would you know how to go about doing it?

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