Writing a speech for a CEO

white quote paper cutout

When I am writing a speech I rethink a few things.

Know your goals

Here’s what I am asking myself. What is the goal of this speech? What is the point? What are we trying to get out of this speech? How do we want people to feel? By the end of the speech, what reaction do we want you to the audience members

I did a ton of speeches for this association that focused on builders and contractors. What made it challenging was that I did not get to interview any of the people speaking. I was told – builds us a look and feel for this event. The event was an awards show horning the best moments in building in the past year.

So i started thinking. Ok what do I do here? I can’t interview someone; I don’t know who these people are. So what do I do?

The power of research

I first tried to research some of the people who I would be writing speeches for. Research is so, so important. I researched their companies. I scrolled YouTube trying to find where they might have interviewed before. I knew the film producer who was doing pre-recorded interviews with them, so I was able to learn a little more about these folks.

Ok that helped.that got me somewhere. But I still didn’t know what to do.

Go with a theme

This is where I realized what has really worked for me before – I needed a theme. Now this isn’t always the case for all speeches, but a theme can work wonders. A theme gets me directed on the right path. It gives me a target to hit. It allows me to find a way through the fogginess that can come with a blank page.

So, I started to think of this. Ok we have buildings. What does it mean to build? Do we have construction workers? Who are they? I didn’t know a thing about the building and construction space. What matters to these people? What is important? And who is the end user? They’re building something, and people are going to be using these buildings and making lives here.

That’s when it started to become clearer. See, I find asking myself those questions is so important. I need to build that conflict with my creative self. I need to ask questions because it gets me out of my own brain and it gets me into the lives of these leaders. They become better known to me. They stop being LinkedIn profiles and photos on a company page. I need to release myself of any notions and get to who they are. And the way I do that is through constant questions.

And also by making mistakes. And crossing stuff out. Not being afraid to write something that’s messy. Not being afraid to come up with something and then delete it and say “next please.”

Soon, I was coming up with an idea – what it means to build. These companies are building jobs, and lives. They’re making more than just bricks and mortar and glass. I started to feel good about this. This was starting to feel right. Building. Creating. Building a legacy, building a foundation. Foundational stuff. Building homes and lives and creating something out of nothing.

Ok I can work with this.

So I had my theme.

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