It’s not every day that a high school English teacher gets a job as a speechwriter for the President of the United States. But that’s exactly what happened to William Gavin after he wrote to Richard Nixon in 1967, urging him to run for the White House.
Through an improbable series of circumstances, Gavin, who had never written a speech, was hired to write for Nixon after he won the 1968 election. He got to work with such luminaries as William Safire and Pat Buchanan.
It was Safire who told Gavin, who later went on to write for President Ronald Reagan, that a key to good speechwriting was to “get to the point.” Gavin also learned that he not only had to give Nixon what he wanted in a speech, his job was to tell Nixon what he needed in a speech. A good speechwriter, he learned, serves as not only a scribe, but an advisor.
Gavin has written a book about his 30-year career as a speechwriter titled Speechwright: An Insider’s Take on Political Rhetoric. It’s worth a look.
T-Shirt blurbs for speechwriters
Akash Karia assembles a series of posters with advice for speechwriters. I think each of them would make good material for T-shirts.
They offer sage advice. My favorite, of course, is the quote by Winston Churchill. The man was a master at word images.
” There are two things more difficult than making an after-dinner speech:
Climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”
When it comes to webinars…
…PowerPoint is more than okay. It’s essential. How else are you going to provide lots of information to folks tuning in to your session on their computer?
Julie Newman, a communications consultant, offers good advice on how to create a winning webinar slide presentation. And she provides great tips on post-webinar followup.