Official Blog of Bannon Leadership Consulting Founder Shawn Bannon

Tips for Speechwriters (and Other Communications Professionals): Getting Your Speaker to Deliver the Speech that You’ve Written — Part 3

Here’s tip three in my series of five to help speechwriters frustrated by speakers who abandon the approved script in favor of extemporaneous remarks that, more often than not, seem to miss the mark.

Tip 3.      Keep it short, and give your speaker a cheat sheet.

Of course, there will be times when you’re asked to develop a speech under tight deadlines, with little time for review, let alone rehearsal.  In those situations, try to limit the time your client is expected to speak.  Trade off minutes of prepared remarks for minutes of Q&A if you can.  Then, when you give him the speech, also give him a one-page summary of key messages – those lines from the speech that he absolutely must nail to make his time in front of the audience effective. 

Your speaker may not have time to read the speech over and over, but one or two passes over the full text and some review of the key messages summary in the car or at his table before he delivers the speech will help to ensure a successful appearance. 

For speakers who like to appear to deliver their remarks extemporaneously, this can be an incredibly effective tool even when you’ve had plenty of time to prepare and rehearse.  The sentences on the summary serve as triggers and remind him of the segues you’ve developed to help him move from one topic to the next.

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