When interviewing your client for a major speech, talk less and listen more. You’ll get better information – and the executive will get a better speech.
- Sit quietly.
- Watch body language.
- Listen to tone.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Really: Don’t interrupt.
- Remain silent as the speaker tells his anecdote or shares her data. Note exactly what your client emphasizes (where she speaks louder, where he underscores a key phrase).
- Think: “What did I learn about this speaker’s messaging priorities?”
- Also think: “What did careful listening teach me about my client’s public speaking skills?”
Use what you learn to write a speech tailored to your client’s unique needs.
Remain silent while a client finishes telling you his account. Then paraphrase your client:
“Now, let me make sure I get your priorities straight. First, CSR needs to …”
At this point, you should get some feedback from your speaker. Feedback usually falls into two categories.
A speaker might say:
“That’s it! That’s exactly what I want to emphasize.”
OR she might say:
Well, no, not exactly. I do want CSR to ____, but first we need to ____.”
See? The more you listen, the more you learn. And the more you learn during the interview phase, the less rewriting you’ll need to do later on.
Ah, less rewriting … there’s the reward!
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