Highlights from the Speechwriters Conference, Part 3

Here’s part 3 of my 6-part series of notes from the Speechwriters Conference I attended:

pete-weissmanHighlights of Beyond the Speech by Pete Weissman

Weissman, director of leadership communications for The Coca-Cola Company has also served as a speechwriter for a U.S. senator and the White House. He spoke on Moving from speechwriter to strategist by delivering more than words:

•    Think big! Think beyond the speech. Remember to think of the bigger picture.

•    Don’t be a scribe, be a strategist — the success of the speech depends upon it

•    The world of communications is changing rapidly, so stay on the leading edge and think how the role of the audience has changed. We’ve gone from theatergoer to the re-broadcaster model.
•    It helps us professionally to prove our value.

•    Make it easy for your main points to be carried forward by audience to others via blog, Twitter, etc.

12 strategies for going beyond the speech.

1.    Know your organization’s goals and figure out how communications can support those goals.
a.    What do people need to know to make the goal a reality?
i.    Leads to messages
1.    Leads to audiences
a.    Leads to venues
i.    Leads to choice of speaker

2.    Kill the one-off speeches
a.    Ignore the pancake breakfast meetings, etc.

3.    Think beyond the speech
a.    Coke has more than 400 brands. There was a reception before an executive club’s luncheon. Variety of Coke products brought in to give people idea of variety. Also used as part of centerpieces. No one told they were all Coke brands until speaker said so during speech.

4.    Make the picture tell the story
a.    Nothing white or bright immediately behind speaker
b.    Use more lights than you imagine you should on the speaker

5.    Own the event
a.    Be the person who knows all the details and the options
b.    Room temperature – hot rooms make audience irritable; makes Q & A testy.
c.    Think of the time of the speech
i.    Speak early; don’t be the last speaker.
ii.    Try not to speak before cocktails or a meal
d.    Own the wireless mic – don’t let speakers walk around with the mic on and talk to people or use bathroom, etc.

6.    Capture the event; there are no do-overs
a.    Do it yourself
b.    Have the venue do it
c.    Hire someone to do it
i.    Offensive move – gives you opportunities later for b-roll, pictures for annual report, etc.
ii.    Defensive – can be used to verify what speaker said or didn’t say; especially helpful with quotes used by reporters.
1.    Consider using a simple mp3 recorder

7.    Repurpose the speech
a.    Create a reprint; consider a booklet with speech and visuals to share with opinion leaders, media – post on web site, too.
b.    Don’t keep it on your web site. Share it with surrogates, sponsors, etc. Where will people go besides your web site? Put it there.

8.    Be the early warning radar of the organization
a.    Look at trends. What’s coming, what will we need to respond to?

9.    Walk into meetings as a source, not a scribe
a.    If you walk in with a pen, all you can do is take notes.
i.    Do your research and walk into meeting with recommendations

10.    Send relative articles to the boss
a.    Where’s it from, why should they see it/read it, what can they do with it when they speak to a certain audience who also may have seen it/read it.

11.    Grow your toolbox
a.    Keep growing as writer and communicator.

12.    Feed your creativity
a.    Do what you need to get into a creative mindset. Feed your soul.

What do you think? Please let everyone know!

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