Speeches! You cannot count how many times you’ve given them. You reflect on the days when just the thought of giving a speech terrified you and made you sick to your stomach. Now giving speeches has surprisingly become a highlight in your life. You love the interaction with the audience and voicing your message.
However, perhaps your situation in life has changed and maybe you are not able to give as many speeches as you would like, although you still want to contribute when it comes to public speaking. Or perhaps you’ve been giving speeches for a while and now you are ready for a change. What can you do?
Many have found themselves in the same situation! Through their many years of experience, they can tell you that becoming a speechwriter would be a phenomenal option. But how can a speaker become a speechwriter?
What Exactly Is A Speechwriter?
Simply put, a speechwriter is someone who has been employed to prepare and write speeches that will ultimately be delivered by someone else. A speechwriter can write speeches for a wide range of people, from government officials to someone giving a speech at a wedding or another special occasion.
Do I Have To Be Certified To Become A Speechwriter?
No, you do not have to be certified to become a speechwriter. This surprises many people. However, there are several speechwriting workshops available that can prove to be very valuable for you to attend like LinkedIn Learning and MasterClass.
If you have a degree in Journalism, English, or Communications, this can be very beneficial in pursuing this course. Having excellent research and analytical skills will help make the job a little easier as well.
How Would I Become A Successful Speechwriter?
There are a few steps that you can take that will ensure that you have a higher success rate as a speechwriter. These steps can be found down below:
Step 1: Remember What Makes A Speech Successful
You are already ahead of the game because you have written and delivered a number of speeches, so you know what it takes to make it successful. Stick to the basics and what has had proven success.
Successful speeches include:
- A good structure
- A good style
- A great storyline that takes the audience on a journey that leads them to your desired destination
Step 2: Practice
We are all familiar with the term practice makes perfect! The same holds true when it comes to becoming a successful speechwriter. You already have experience writing speeches for yourself and now it’s time to enhance those skills.
It is imperative that you make time to read and listen to famous speeches. The audience was able to follow the course of those famous speeches easily and that had a profound effect. That is something that should not be taken lightly. Take time to figure out what made them great.
If you are someone who likes to go above and beyond you could even rewrite them. This will give you the opportunity to understand their thinking as well as find ways that perhaps you can make it better.
Granted this will require a lot of dedication and effort but with each word that you write, you will be closer to your goal!
Step 3: Find A Mentor
When it comes to finding a mentor, the ideal person in this circumstance would be someone who is an experienced speechwriter. You also want to choose wisely when it comes to a mentor because this person will need to give you constructive criticism.
They will highlight your strengths but also really focus on the areas that need improvement. Sometimes, they will painstakingly go line by line, word by word, to identify areas that need to be reworded, reorganized, and then rewritten.
If your mentor only complements your work and tells you how great you are doing, then you will not grow. And that’s the purpose of why you are trying out this new endeavor. To grow. Make sure the mentor that you choose will sincerely help you to do so.
Who Would Need Me To Write A Speech For Them?
There are countless amounts of people who need to have speeches written for them. Some require this because maybe they themselves are not the best writers. Others may be in need of a speechwriter simply because they have very busy schedules, which does not allow them the time they need to write a speech.
Elected officials serving in various capacities must give speeches quite frequently. They are very busy and may not have someone who is officially designated as their speechwriter. You can volunteer for them. Having one designated person to write their speeches will help them with consistency. The speaker would be able to get into one steady rhythm as opposed to finding the rhythm every time he goes to give a speech because someone different has written the speech every time.
A great place to look for someone in need of a speechwriter is nonprofit organizations, especially if you are just starting out. Nonprofit organizations constantly need to raise money. One way to do that is by giving speeches, so they may need someone who is willing to write them.
Another option to take into consideration is hospitals and clinics. They also have many speeches scheduled throughout the year. You do not know which one will be in need at that time so why not reach out to all these programs in your areas. You might be surprised at how many respond, then you’ll have the choice to see which is the best option for you.
After you have written a few speeches you can develop a portfolio of your work. You can then present this portfolio to different individuals that you offer to write speeches for.
To hear modern-day experiences from modern-day speechwriters in the United States and Europe, check out “A Young Person’s Guide to Speechwriting” below.
What Are The Challenges That Speechwriters Face?
With every new assignment or change in life, there can be challenges or things that just take a bit of time to get adjusted to. When it comes to the challenges speechwriters specifically face, they may include:
- Not being the perfect fit for the speaker that you are writing for, even though you are a great writer
- Each speech requires a lot of research specifically for that topic, speaker, and audience
- You are writing for someone else, so you must understand their thought process, the way they speak, their background, etc.
- Not taking it personally when the speaker gives you their input and request that you make some refinements, or worse they do not like it and you must basically start from scratch. It can be frustrating, but it will help you grow as a writer
- You will come across others who would like you to include their thoughts and suggestions in the speech. Finding that balance of when to do so and when not to will be crucial. Remember that in the end, you are writing for one specific speaker and that’s whose opinion you want to prioritize
- You are always on a deadline, so timing is everything
Despite these challenges, many love what they do. It gives them the ability to connect with people and change lives from behind the scenes. Remember, nothing worthwhile comes easily. The time and effort with be minimal compared to the overall satisfaction you will feel after hearing the speech you wrote being delivered.
As A Public Speaker What Advantages Do I Have?
As a public speaker, you have so many advantages. You have experience writing successful speeches for yourself! Some of these advantages that you have to include:
- You are detail-oriented
- You are accustomed to doing research
- You have excellent time management skills
- You know that is it beneficial to include real-life examples if possible
- You are organized
- You know how to monitor sentence length
Over the years you have had so much training. You’ve given speeches and listened to others give speeches. You know what works and what doesn’t. Trust your instincts and trust your training.
As a public speaker, you have a gift. You have the ability to inspire, motivate, educate, and more. That is not an accomplishment that should be taken lightly. You can do what many cannot do.
As a speechwriter, you can also do amazing things! You can help others who may not have the time or speechwriting skills that you do but who still want to help others. You are needed. You can be the bridge that closes the gap between them and their audience. We all know how important bridges are! Will there be challenges and adjustments? Yes! Can you overcome them and succeed? Definitely, yes! Why not try it out?