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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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How NOT to open a speech + some inspiration

When you’re preparing an important speech or keynote presentation, do you tend to default to one of these four opening lines? You begin with a long line of thank-you’s to people we may or may not know. You tell a joke you found online the night before. You share the process you used to prepare […]

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How to make a keynote speech resonate when your audience is wildly diverse

Worried whether your speech has the power to connect with listeners from very different backgrounds and levels of experience? Jump-start your thinking with these seven steps based on a Cicero Speechwriting Award-winning keynote that resonated with 250 men and women from age 18 to 80.   When Barbara Hayde — former president of The Entrepreneurs […]

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10 power questions you must ask when your speech hits a wall

There we were – stuck in the boardroom on a Tuesday afternoon, three drafts in on a keynote speech – and I’d pretty much wrung all the best stuff out of my executive’s head. He was done. But his speech was not. The holes toward the end were gaping. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. Just […]

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Policinski: ‘We need people in the creativity business’

I enjoyed hearing veteran journalist Gene Policinski of the Newseum Institute talk about “The Future of Principles” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last month. Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and its First Amendment Center, gave the keynote address at “A Capital Event,” a one-day conference by the American Society […]

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Writing to persuade? (Invoke Cialdini)

Do you rely on electronic communication as your “first touch” when marketing to prospective customers or clients? If so, consider applying Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence when crafting your message, and see if you get better results. Every day HR pros around the country recruit “passive” candidates by sending targeted emails and LinkedIn messages […]

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Speechwriting Sunday School (a new view from the pew)

Last Sunday I discovered a way to make sure not one word is wasted when you write your next speech. Imagine someone will have to sign every word you speak for people who are deaf. Last Sunday I watched and listened, on the edge of my seat, in absolute amazement while Fr. Benjamin Jimenez spoke […]

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‘To infinity … and beyond!’

“Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Go It Alone” – a keynote address written in April for a Dayton-area client – drew upon a local historical event to anchor the opening and closing remarks. One entrepreneur attending the event rushed up afterward, greeted the speaker and said, “You made me feel like an astronaut!” Here are two excerpts […]

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Stuck on how to craft some clever opening lines for your next speech?

Try making it personal. Start with a story. This is how I engaged my audience last week with a speech about speech giving — tips on how to “woo, win and wow!! your next audience”: I’ll never forget the advice I got decades ago from one of my crusty old journalism professors during my first newspaper […]

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