101 Top Tweets from the 2013 Ragan Speechwriters Conference

The annual Ragan Speechwriters Conference was held March 20 – 22, 2013 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC.

I was not able to attend this year, but, like anyone who has access to Twitter, I enjoyed following the conference virtually via the hashtag #raganspeech.

If you’d like to read more speechwriter tweets, check out these 138 tweets from the 2012 Ragan Speechwriters Conference.

All of these tweets are a great source of information to anyone who wants to know about the things speechwriters are interested in. We owe a special debt of gratitude to anyone who tweeted, and especially to the three most active people:

Here’s a fun picture that shows at a glance the topics and presenters that attracted the most comments.

Ragan 2013 Speechwriter Conference Tweets
Click to enlarge – Image by Wordle.

The list, like Twitter, is in reverse chronological order, with the most recent tweets at the top.

  1. @MarklewA Doing the same corporate crap in more channels is still corporate crap – @Crescenzo
  2. @SamHosenkamp Take the ‘corporate’ out of ‘corporate communications’ and replace it with ‘creative.’ – @Crescenzo
  3. @sveng We’ve gotta stop doing corporate communications. It doesn’t work. Nobody reads it – @Crescenzo
  4. @jayrobb Corporate communications is dying. No one paying attention to suits & boilerplate – @Crescenzo
  5. @jayrobb Doing corporate speak on social media will get you killed – @Crescenzo
  6. @MarklewA Be creative, compelling, concise and conversational – advice for corporate communicators from @Crescenzo. So many C’s.
  7. @SamHosenkamp Our job as communicators is to make the important interesting – @Crescenzo
  8. @jayrobb Leaders should communicate what & why down into the org with the how coming up from employees – @Crescenzo
  9. @jayrobb Corporate is out & conversational is in for leadership communications – @Crescenzo
  10. @jayrobb 4 keys to leadership blogs: start personal, swing back to business, stories about others & ask for comments – @Crescenzo
  11. @sveng We have to be the ones who say, lighten up man. The corporate style doesn’t work anymore – @Crescenzo
  12. @JodiReef Great writing is talking edited – @Crescenzo
  13. @MarklewA So far at #raganspeech we’ve had talk of zombie apocalypses, freelancers being hunted and killed, and audiences being punched in the throat.
  14. @jayrobb 1st question audience will ask – why should we listen to you? Answer with a story of self – Rune Kier
  15. @jayrobb All great speeches need to tell 3 stories: story of me, us and now – Rune Kier cites Marshall Ganz
  16. @jayrobb Tell a story that underscores why your audience needs to think or act differently with urgency now – Rune Kier
  17. @jayrobb The hero of your speech is the audience and never you. You’re the helper for their goals – Rune Kier
  18. @jayrobb 3 social media tools to make the podium longer for your speeches: Twitter, Pinterest & Storify – @TrineNebel
  19. @jayrobb Use Twitter to crowd source ideas for your speech: also build buy in and buzz – @TrineNebel
  20. @jayrobb If your executive insists on being the hero of her speech (and not the audience) she’ll become the villain – Rune Kier
  21. @jayrobb 4 most powerful words an executive communicator can say “I have an idea” – Jill Giacomoni
  22. @JodiReef Ask: Am I the only one in the room who is not going to understand this? – Jill Giacomoni
  23. @TrineNebel Link to ALL material used in our #raganspeech-session about Storytelling, Speeches and Social Media – @TrineNebel
  24. @moorghen What I learned at #raganspeech: speeches are like songs, with structure and meaning, to be delivered with focus & aplomb.
  25. @MarkRaganCEO If you want to show power when answering a question, follow with “yes” or “no” then follow with an explanation – @TMucci
  26. @MarklewA All speechwriters secretly want to be Rob Lowe in the West Wing – Jeff Shesol
  27. @jayrobb The power of the bully pulpit: educator in chief & articulating values – Jeff Shesol
  28. @jayrobb What’s the speech about? What’s the one point & take away? Persuade don’t overwhelm – Jeff Shesol
  29. @jayrobb President Clinton used 3/4 of speechwriters’ words and 3/4 of his own in a typical speech – jokes Jeff Shesol
  30. @MarklewA Shesol observes that Blair’s words carried more weight than Clinton’s because he had a legislative majority behind him.
  31. @jayrobb The right words said in the right way at the right time can make a difference – Jeff Shesol
  32. @MatthewJBondy Ceremonial speeches hold up the mirror to audience’s innermost feelings – Lucinda Holdforth
  33. @jayrobb Catharsis is the ultimate ambition of a ceremonial speech – Lucinda Holdforth
  34. @SamHosenkamp Speeches still have mystic power, they are about the things that bind us as a community – Lucinda Holdforth
  35. @jayrobb Too many audiences feel battered by a monologue rather than engaged & enhanced by a dialogue – Lucinda Holdforth
  36. @SamHosenkamp Embrace the elephant:The more you incorporate doubts,ques of audience into speech, the more powerful it will be – Holdforth
  37. @JodiReef Generating Buy-In, great book for structuring storyline into a speech – @taylorclark
  38. @jayrobb Hope and overcoming should be the leader’s message in a commemorative speech – Lucinda Holdforth
  39. @aaron2hoover Great speeches are an axe for the frozen sea between us – Lucinda Holdforth riffs on Kaftka
  40. @jayrobb In a ceremonial speech, the audience wants to know where we go from here & put our emotional energy – Lucinda Holdforth
  41. @SamHosenkamp Fabulous tips for speechwriters and speakers from Lucinda Holdforth
  42. @SamHosenkamp Listen to music. If you look at lyrics as language you’re going to learn a lot – Michael Long
  43. @jayrobb Telling stories help reveal a speaker’s humanity to the audience – Rob Friedman
  44. @cbjorlin Speaker at #raganspeech Used what think is my new fav phrase “they’ll look at you like a dog shown a card trick, they just won’t get it.”
  45. @jayrobb One common theme to inspirational stories: got knocked down and got back up – Rob Friedman
  46. @jayrobb The best source for stories are letters to your organization from customers, patients, staff – Rob Friedman
  47. @jayrobb To get a good story out of your speaker ask what they’re most proud of or disappointed by – Rob Friedman
  48. @sveng Hangin tough at the #raganspeech conference. Heard @taylorclark compare speechwriting to a zombie apocalypse.
  49. @MarklewA Content must drive comedy – write the speech, then funny it up. Don’t try to write a “funny speech” – David Glickman
  50. @jayrobb In speechwriting, content drives the comedy / humor and not the other way around – David Glickman
  51. @jayrobb Write the speech 1st and then add the humor – David Glickman
  52. @jayrobb The more specific the humor, the more terrific the humor. And customized humor doesn’t have to be as funny – David Glickman
  53. @MarklewA 2nd session at #raganspeech where someone has referenced 50 Shades of Grey. What does this say about the profession, I wonder…
  54. @MarklewA Won’t be tweeting any of David Glickman’s jokes, they’re far too good and I plan to steal them shamelessly.
  55. @rebeccajshaffer Not every laugh has to be huge, small laughs in context add up nicely in a speech – David Glickman
  56. @jayrobb Think of your speech as an EKG. Laugh lines are the upward blips – David Glickman
  57. @rebeccajshaffer Use planned mispronunciations (and other mistakes). Normal, normal, surprise. People will laugh! – David Glickman
  58. @MarklewA If nobody laughs at your joke, keep ploughing on and pretend it wasn’t meant to be funny – David Glickman
  59. @SamHosenkamp Find out what’s going on in news and see if there’s a way to make it humorous – David Glickman
  60. @SamHosenkamp Thinking of using humor in your speech? When in doubt, leave it out – David Glickman
  61. @MarklewA Interesting how much overlap there is between the different elements of writing – funny or serious, it’s all about research.
  62. @MarklewA Know your audience, know your venue, know your subject.
  63. @jayrobb Humor can put an explanation mark on key points in your speech – Lucinda Holdforth
  64. @MarklewA If you value your sanity, being able to eat and having a home, don’t be a freelancer. Wise words.
  65. @jayrobb Don’t deliver a speech that’s like a love letter addressed to whom it may concern – Fletcher Dean
  66. @SamHosenkamp Every audience has the same question ‘what is this person going to say that’s going to make my life better? – Fletcher Dean
  67. @jayrobb All audiences want the same thing: how to be healthier, wealthier or happier.
  68. @sveng Important to know your audience and understand their problems – Fletcher Dean
  69. @SamHosenkamp Begin your speech at the end. Otherwise it’s like packing without knowing your destination. – Fletcher Dean
  70. @jayrobb Eliciting action from your audience is the Holy Grail of speechwriting – Fletcher Dean
  71. @SamHosenkamp Amplification through simplification: Keep your message short and clear – Fletcher Dean
  72. @sveng Think like a reporter when you’re crafting your key messages – Fletcher Dean
  73. @SamHosenkamp How to craft your key message: Write it as a headline you’d want to see in the paper – Fletcher Dean
  74. @rebeccajshaffer A quick look at what Monroe’s Motivated Sequence – Recommended by Fletcher Dean
  75. @rebeccajshaffer Anecdote trumps facts every day. Emotion matters!
  76. @SamHosenkamp Logic, character and emotion – 3 key elements of a compelling speech.
  77. @SamHosenkamp The best stories shouldn’t be written, they should be told – Fletcher Dean
  78. @SamHosenkamp You have to be a speechthinker before you become a speechwriter – Fletcher Dean
  79. @jayrobb Fletcher Dean ends his talk with a call to action – think deliberately before you begin writing your next speech.
  80. @jayrobb Find stories by finding out who are your speaker’s heroes – Fletcher Dean
  81. @MarklewA Mike Long threatens to “hunt down and kill” any freelance who bids low for a job. I don’t doubt that he means it.
  82. @jayrobb In first 5 min. establish your credibility & show that you care & you’re paying attention to the audience – Fletcher Dean
  83. @jayrobb Yes. Fletcher Dean’s talk was worth the price of admission to 2013 #raganspeech and his book should be a must read for speechwriters
  84. @MarklewA If lecterns were good for speaking from behind, we’d wear them to work – @TMucci
  85. @SamHosenkamp Elements of crowd pleasing when speaking. Eye contact, reaching out, interaction, agreement and smiling – @TMucci
  86. @MarklewA The speechwriters’ convention does not have a million people in it because a million people can’t write speeches. Go us!
  87. @SamHosenkamp You’re special creatures, speechwriters! “You were born a visual creature. Ability to craft speeches is special talent.” – @TMucci
  88. @MarklewA Wow. Seems the Greeks didn’t just invent how to write speeches, they also twigged how to stand while delivering them.
  89. @jayrobb Advice for turning a speaker into an orator: shift your weight, show your palms & smile – @TMucci
  90. @EjazWrites How to know you’ve got a key message…Can you get your speech down to one tweet? – Fletcher Dean
  91. @jayrobb Find 5 friendly faces in the audience to be your anchors. 2 on each side and 1 in centre of room – @TMucci
  92. @jayrobb If you’re not having a good time speaking, your audience won’t have a good time listening – @TMucci
  93. @jayrobb All the tone in your conversation is from the tilt of your head – @TMucci
  94. @JodiReef Leaders need to give direction. Never leave an audience rudderless – Fletcher Dean
  95. @SamHosenkamp 93 percent of speaking is nonverbal – @TMucci
  96. @SamHosenkamp Slides should be viewable but not readable. Limit your text in presentations – @TMucci
  97. @MatthewJBondy It’s all got to boil down to a single message.
  98. @MatthewJBondy Student learners absorb speeches very differently than professional learners. How vs Why.
  99. @SamHosenkamp Telling speaker to “just be better” is like telling patient “I just need you to be healthier” w/o sharing steps to take – @TMucci
  100. @JodiReef Details engender authority and belief – Michael Long
  101. @MarklewA About half the people in this session appear to be speechwriters for universities. Much more common in N America than UK.
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A brief video clip of Jeff Shesol at the conference talking about why a speech needs to be about just one thing.



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