I am a freelance executive speech writer with over 10 years of experience in helping business leaders, keynote speakers, TED talk presenters, and everyday people, enhance the messages they tell through great storytelling and structure.
My background includes education, content marketing, nonprofits, political advocacy, and startups. I read widely and can tackle almost any subject.
As a speechwriter, I’ve worked with CEOs, college presidents and trustees, superintendents and principals, business owners, authors, politicians, organization leaders, nonprofit executive directors, and everyone in between.
What speeches can you write?
- Ceremonial speeches: Wedding speeches, anniversary toasts, retirement speeches, awards speeches
- TED and TEDx Talks
- Keynote speeches: Speeches for authors and thought leaders, graduation speeches, speeches addressing an organization or association
- Nonprofit advocacy speeches: From fundraising to raising awareness, getting your message out to people who need to hear it the most
- Some political campaign speeches: I will not write anything that is divisive, promotes falsehoods, endangers public health, or seeks to alienate any particular group of people.
What is your approach to speech writing?
As a speech writer, I want to capture your voice–how it sounds and the ideas you present to the world. I view this as a partnership where we work together to craft a great message. Our work doesn’t end after the first draft, it begins. Revision is critical to calibrating your thoughts and our words.
How are you able to be a speech writer remotely for someone?
Phone calls, Zoom, and email, are my primary tools. Most of the work can be done this way and it has to be now with COVID. I use surveys and constant communication to work with clients to get their message into the speech. The remote speech writing process has worked well for many clients.
Do you have favorite speeches?
I enjoy the short ceremonial speeches like graduation speeches where the speaker gets to tell their story. Similarly, any keynote speech where the speaker is sharing a deep truth with the audience is always fascinating to write. Learning how someone overcame an obstacle and achieved greatness is a timeless story structure and one that captures my attention and that of any audience.
What makes your speeches successful?
I use storytelling and emotion to drive each speech. Reciting a long list of facts or statistics doesn’t work to advance a cause or advocate for change. Numbers have their place and great speakers can use them well, but they always use them in the context of asking “why” or finding the story behind the numbers. Watch Hans Rosling’s TED Talks as an example.
I also ensure that I work closely with each speaker–I want your thoughts to be well-represented on the page. I’m here to help shepherd them into a speech that is informative, motivating, persuasive, and entertaining.
What other writing can you do?
I love to help speakers craft op-eds, newsletters, guest magazine articles, and anything that requires a persuasive message on paper or on the web.
Can you edit my speech? How does the edit process work?
Yes! Very often someone comes to me with a few words written or an entire draft. From there, it’s easier to take what already exists and make it better. It’s the same process as the speech writing process where we’ll do a survey, a phone call, and then trade drafts back and forth.
Where do we start with the speech writing process?
1. You tell me the type of speech you need: wedding toast, keynote, TEDx, company address, business pitch, etc. Of course, the date of the speech and length are helpful, too.
2. I’ll send you a survey based on the answers in #1–you fill it out and send it back
3. We’ll get on the phone and talk through the answers and go more in-depth–talking it out helps me hear your voice and clarify anything that is missing or vague
4. In 5-7 business days, I’ll send you the first draft. If there’s a lot of research, then it may need to be longer for the first draft.
5. We then discuss the changes either over the phone or email depending on how you work best.
6. I’ll send you a subsequent draft based on the changes and we’ll repeat the revision process up to three times. Three has been the magic number that seems to work when it comes to getting to the draft that will work for the client.
How are you different from a typical freelance writer? What services do you provide?
My focus is on speech writing and related services: public speaking coaching, executive thought leadership, media pitching, and podcast tours. I don’t just handle the words but can help find the right venues for a speaker’s message.
Can you help me with content marketing?
Yes, it’s a broad term but we can work together to come up with an editorial calendar and find ways to repurpose and promote content.
What should I consider when I want to hire a professional speech writer?
I find the following qualities necessary when working with other writers, creatives, freelancers, and agencies:
Communication: This goes both ways–each person in the relationship should fully communicate their expectations, especially around deadlines and deliverables.
Transparency: You should be involved in each part of the process and know what is taking place. I love to talk process with my clients and explain out how each step works.
Timeliness: Work should be done before the deadline set–however, clients should also not expect work to be done well in advance unless there’s a rush fee attached.
Work samples: Every great freelancer or agency will have sample work. Mine is available via email and the samples have been stripped of any identifying information.
General good feeling: This is the hardest to pin down but some people exude a certain warmth and others are quite difficult to work with. I like working with people who are in the first category.
What level of people do you work with when writing?
In the past, I’ve worked with nonprofit directors, CEOs of large companies, college presidents, military officers, small business owners, and everyone in between. Public speaking and giving a great presentation seems to be a big equalizer in our society–everyone needs help and can improve at it, and that’s what I want to do to make our world a better place.
Can you do persuasive speeches?
Sure, I love to help out people who want to advocate for good in the world. Often, the nonprofit directors that I work with are trying to persuade people not just to donate but to buy into their message. Startup entrepreneurs are the same way as are public servants and politicians.
Persuasion starts with understanding your audience’s values and what motivates them. From there, you want your speech to resonate with those values. Of course, persuasive speeches are emotional speeches, too.
How did you get started as a speech writer? What does it take to be good at writing?
I have always loved to read and write. Reading and writing play off of each other. I grew up reading biographies and listening to speeches. Speechwriters, as a profession, fascinated me. I think the show “The West Wing” had some undue influence on the life of a speechwriter.
Being a writer and writing have always come naturally but that doesn’t mean I don’t work at it or there aren’t days when no writing flows well. That’s part of the job. The key is to show up each day and to write something and that’s when the muse shows up. I love talking to other writers and working with them; it makes the partnership much easier. However, I love to share my love of writing and rhetoric with anyone, even those for whom it isn’t a strength. I learn so much from my clients and their lessons enhance future writing projects.