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How to write an award-winning speech

Every speaker I know wants to write and deliver an award-winning speech. But what makes a speech award-winning? The best of the best? Worthy of recognition or a prize (like a standing ovation, perhaps)? It boils down to three simple things: An award-winning speech innovates. An award-winning speech communicates. An award-winning speech resonates. Let’s dig […]

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A 5-step writing process for better B2B communications

When your team has to write a high-stakes document such as a white paper, e-book or case statement, what’s your approach? How do you avoid going in multiple directions and producing an endless number of drafts? How do you get input and feedback from leaders on your team — and be efficient at the same […]

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Executive communications: Is your speechwriter putting you on the spot?

CEOs and other leaders who’ve never worked with a speechwriter before sometimes wonder about the process. “How will this speechwriter get my ideas to resonate with the audience I need to influence?”   It’s an important question in executive communications. Because when you work with a speechwriter, it’s the speechwriter’s job to do the hard […]

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Public speaking tip: Don’t throw too much stuff at your audience

Have you ever heard a speaker say this? “Today I’m going to share a lot of information with you about Topic X, and I apologize in advance for throwing so much stuff at you all at once – but it’s all very important.” Yikes. Sharing a lot of “stuff” without a clear message or main […]

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1 thing you must do after your keynote presentation is over

A couple months ago, I’d written a keynote presentation for an executive who needed to travel across the country to deliver it at a major industry conference attended by peers, partners and competitors. Several days had passed, and I hadn’t heard anything. I was wondering how his keynote presentation went since he’d been under the […]

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Ethics in public speaking (don’t do this to cure writer’s block)

Sometimes speakers like to put some initial thoughts on paper for their speechwriters to use as a starting point. It’s the speechwriter’s job to first decide whether this material should be used, and if so, how it should be used. Yes, I’m talking about ethics in public speaking. Here’s a true story: Recently I wrote a speech for […]

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Public speaking tip: Connect the dots when sharing facts and figures

In certain speeches, sometimes it’s important to the message to share a few facts and figures, numbers and statistics. Here’s my question for public speakers: Do you take the time to connect the dots? A colleague of mine in the Professional Speechwriters Association, Carlos Razo, has a Ph.D. in economics. As special assistant and adviser […]

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The biggest mistake teams make when collaborating to write high-stakes brand content

The client on the end of the line was desperate. The clock was ticking, and internal attempts to write high-stakes brand content as a team weren’t working. Could I assist? I met with the client to discuss the scope of work. “What writing process have you used to work with the subject matter experts on […]

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Public speaking tip: Don’t play inside baseball

Every industry has a language that only insiders understand. But what if you’re presenting to a diverse group of people who don’t live and breathe the words you use every day? I once heard a logistics expert give an overview presentation to a roomful of business people – from attorneys, bankers, accountants and consultants, to […]

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Good public speaking starts and ends with this

“What Matters in Speech?” is a talk given way back in 1921 by Henrietta Prentiss, then a passionate teacher of speech at Hunter College in New York City. Prentiss answers her own question, “What Matters in Speech?” rather directly in her remarks about good public speaking: “The first thing … is my identification with my […]

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