In November, the members-only Special Interest Group focused on the stellar speechwriting and presentation skills described by Wendy Cherwinski, an experienced speechwriter and a past president of IABC Ottawa.

Wendy shared stories about writing speeches for audiences as diverse as elementary school children, a convention of nurses and military members. With her experience working with speakers in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, she emphasized that there are key elements of speechwriting that are important across the board.

Here are her top 5 takeaways:

1.   Know your audience.

Speakers must think deeply about the audience they are trying to reach and take the steps necessary to truly connect with, engage and influence that group. Do the research so you better understand your audience.

2.   Focus your message.

Speakers often are so enthusiastic about their topic they want to cover it in great and glorious detail. Streamline your speeches so key ideas stand out. Speeches with too many messages don’t make an impact and are quickly forgotten.

3.   Write the way people talk so your language is conversational.

Don’t be afraid to inject some emotion into your script, especially if you want people to take action. Use plain language to make sure your message is clear and easy to understand.

4.   Understand when to give a speech versus a presentation.

The line is blurring between speeches and presentations. But, in general, a good speech enlists the aid of the listeners’ imaginations. A presentation on the other hand uses multimedia to show the audience what you want to share. What’s important when writing a speech, however is to ensure the language is visual and concrete. The more abstract the language, the harder it is for the audience to grasp and remember ideas.

5.   Join Wendy for a speechwriting workshop.

You’ll come away knowing how to handle the four tips above, plus you’ll be equipped with many more insights, tactics and templates to help you succeed as a speechwriter. If you’re an IABC member, you get a discount to Wendy’s upcoming workshops! Use the discount code IABCVIP to get $50 off. Register here for Write Out Loud or Value Beyond Words.

Why join IABC Ottawa?

Wendy has been involved with IABC Ottawa for a few decades, first in the 1990s and then as president in the early 2000s. In her years of involvement and experience as a communications professional, she said her membership served her well.

“It’s an opportunity to mingle with and learn from other communicators. Membership gave me access to years of experience and expertise,” she said.”Plus I made some great friends.”

“Build your network, expand your horizons, get board experience. It will all help to develop you as a communicator and as a well-rounded human being.”

Not yet an IABC member? Join today!

Connect with Wendy!