This evening, thanks to the initiative and technical savvy of Ian Griffin, we in executive communications tuned in to the Ragan Speechwriters Conference in DC. Again, it amazed bookish, over-degreed me how much we learn by simply listening + maybe asking a few questions.
For instance, one of the presenters dug down in the essence of narrative. It's not A, B and C. It's A and not B so C comes at us in a totally unexpected way. The lesson here was to build tension, not just plot line.
Another takeaway was not to package ourselves as speechwriters. That puts us in a silo. If the executive we write for retires, whether we are a full-time employee or freelancer, we could be out in the cold. Much better to position ourselves more broadly such as "executive writer."
A third piece of gold was to help speakers realize that it is binary. Up there on the podium they will either get their ego needs met or they will give the audience something they want and need to hold onto. Usually if we can get speakers to surmount their angst they will opt for the latter.
In the one-hour conference call, we all got this. Imagine how much longer it would have taken us to plow through a book in which these were embedded somewhere. We executive writers thank Ian for this amazing learning experience.