Why use a speech writer when you can do it yourself?
It's a good question. And to answer it, here's an extract from a speech I gave at Southwell Business Club in Nottinghamshire.
Sometimes you need a specialist…
And I’m here today to tell you that professional business writing of any kind is a specialism. Even though it might not seem like it.
Looking around, I can see we’ve got some very bright capable people in tonight, and I’m sure you can all write. So if everyone in this room can write that doesn’t make it seem like much of a specialism…
Or you could go online right now and choose from hundreds of writers and speechw writers all over the world – some of them charging ridiculously low rate to write your speech for you.
That doesn’t make it sound like much of a specialism either.
So what am I doing banging on about this terribly specialised skill when everyone and their aunt can do it?
And more importantly, why should you consider working with a speech writer?
Well I think there are three good reasons and they are:
3. Eric Morecombe!
So, let’s tak about time - and let's assume someone asks you to write a speech or a presentation for an event in a month’s time…
You could write it yourself… of course you could – but come on, be honest, would you really have the time?
Have you got the time to devote to research and writing, redrafts, editing and polishing? And then, when you’ve finished all that, would you still have enough time to practise it too?
Sometimes you don’t hire a speech writer because you can't do it yourself, you hire them because you don’t want to do it yourself. Or you haven't got the time to do it yourself.
But a professional writer...
... is always writing. Or thinking about writing. Even when they’re not writing.
When the call came through inviting me to speak to you today, I didn’t start writing straight away. Instead, I let the idea bubble away in my head for a bit.
When you write for a living you can’t just wait for inspiration to strike. Really I think that inspiration is just the result of a lot of hard work. So I took two or three weeks, just thinking it over. And then, one morning I woke up and I knew, pretty much, what I was going to say to you today. And that wasn’t the result of a sudden flash of inspiration, it was simply that I’d been thinking it over for so long – letting the ideas coalesce.
And that's one of the big hidden benefits of working with a professional. You're not just getting their writing and research time, you're getting their thinking time.
Chance are there’ll be a part of their brain thinking about your commission while they’re brushing their teeth or taking a shower, or doing their shopping.
Prize their objectivity
I mentioned objectivity...
Now if you look into my eyes, you’ll no doubt see I have cold and dispassionate eyes!
It might sound counter-intuitive but engaging someone who doesn’t know your business inside out can actually be a good thing. They're not seeing things through the prism of your organisation.
Your writer will get up-to-speed with your industry, your marketplace and your customers in double quick time. They’ll see things with objectivity and ask the sort of questions your customers would ask…
So your speech writer won't just write well, they'll write perceptively. They'll take a good long look at your business - and your customers - and make sure the words you use target the people who'll be listening. They'll make your business accessible.
And they'll help you think about your business in a different way.
When he’d tunelessly bash out a piece at the piano Morecombe would say that he was playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.
Writing can be a bit like that.
You know your stuff. But it can take a writer to know what to say and what to leave out; it takes a writer to play all those notes in the right order. To write in a way that your customers will respond to, or in a way that helps customers find what they need to know quickly.
Hire a speech writer and you’ll get content that is accessible and melodic.
Your writer will play all the right notes, in the right order.