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Speech Writers: Tips for Better Listening


Speech Writers: Tips for Better Listening

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.

  1. Sit quietly.
  2. Watch body language.
  3. Listen to tone.
  4. Don’t interrupt.
  5. Really: Don’t interrupt.
  6. Remain silent as the speaker tells his anecdote or shares her data. Note exactly what your client emphasizes (where she speaks louderwhere he underscores a key phrase).
  7. Think: “What did I learn about this speaker’s messaging priorities?”
  8. 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!

Related: How to Ace Team Presentations

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