A Conversation with Barbara Seymour Giordano on Storytelling

Barbara Seymour Giordano HeadshotOn May 24, 2018 the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable Held a conference call with Barbara Seymour Giordano. Barbara is a Story Doctor, Speechwriter and Presentation Coach who specializes in helping speakers tell memorable stories that audiences yearn to hear and share. Her specialty is guiding speakers — from the page to the stage — through the often murky and intricate process of bringing a story idea to life. She turns complex subjects into moving stories that spark imagination across cultures.

Over her career Barbara has advised Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, scientists and TED presenters on creating and sharing stories that unite, influence and inspire audiences worldwide. Her fascination with story began when she worked as an assignment editor with CNN and E! Entertainment Television. She then parlayed her news experience into producing and directing corporate videos, global sales meetings and events for Amgen, Cisco Systems, and Nike among others. In front of the lens she’s appeared as an on-camera national TV fashion and beauty spokesperson for Lands’ End, Neiman Marcus, and TJX Corp. she delivers keynote speeches on topics that include The Art of Business of Storytelling, The Startup Pitch: Telling Stories Investors Want to Hear, and Storytelling TED Style. Her 360-degree communication experience allows her to offer a unique approach to crafting the stories that make speeches come alive..

The call covered a wide range of topics including:

  • How she “backed into” speechwriting after helping coach executives in need of basic advice on presentation skills at large corporate events.
  • The lessons she learned crafting 90-second investor pitches and 8-12 minute TED talks.
  • Her appreciation of Toastmasters as the “learning gym” for presentation skills.
  • The value of a simple one-page approach to the “hero’s journey” as a speech outline.
  • How she helped PhD candidates in sociology, pharmacy other disciplines deliver content as a compelling story stripping out the techno-babble they were prone to use.
  • The value of shows like Billions and Silicon Valley as an alternate view into the world of speechwriting and presentations that stands in contrast to the oft-quoted scenes from The West Wing.
  • How to structure a speech around a story by starting from the desired outcome.
  • How freelance speechwriters can find more clients.

To hear these and other topics discussed click on the podcast icon below.

Announcing: A Conversation with Barbara Seymour Giordano on Storytelling

Barbara Seymour Giordano HeadshotOn Thursday May 24th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable will host Barbara Seymour Giordano in a free conference call.

Barbara is a speechwriter with an edge. In fact, she has three distinct edges that set her apart from the run-of-the-mill wordsmiths who clients hire to craft their speech.

She is a writer who is also comfortable on the podium. Very few writers are. I remember a Ragan Speechwriters Conference where in a room of 60 only three people raised their hands when asked if they are also comfortable presenting.

She is a speech coach. Many of us draw the line at delivery coaching. I always found it impossible in the corporate setting to advise an executive many levels above me on the ways they’d need to change as a speaker to be more effective onstage. This often involves dealing with unconscious mannerisms and deeply ingrained habits that are better addressed by a professional coach. Barbara is such a coach.

She is an accomplished storyteller. Many writers claim to understand the value of the story to move an audience to action. Many fail to deliver. Barbara specializes in helping speakers tell memorable stories that audiences yearn to hear and share. Her specialty is guiding speakers — from the page to the stage — through the often murky and intricate process of bringing a story idea to life. She turns complex subjects into moving stories that spark imagination across cultures.

Over her career Barbara has advised Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, scientists and TED presenters on creating and sharing stories that unite, influence and inspire audiences worldwide. Her fascination with story began when she worked as an assignment editor with CNN and E! Entertainment Television. She then parlayed her news experience into producing and directing corporate videos, global sales meetings and events for Amgen, Cisco Systems, and Nike among others. In front of the lens she’s appeared as an on-camera national TV fashion and beauty spokesperson for Lands’ End, Neiman Marcus, and TJX Corp. She delivers keynote speeches on topics that include The Art of Business of Storytelling, The Startup Pitch: Telling Stories Investors Want to Hear, and Storytelling TED Style. Her 360-degree communication experience allows her to offer a unique approach to crafting the stories that make speeches come alive.

Barbara is a two-time Cicero Speechwriting Award Winner:

2015 for ‘Rap on Trial’ delivered as a TedX speech by Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology. Law and Society at UC Irvine;

2017 for ‘Preserving History in 3D ‘ delivered by Andrew Jones, Senior Research Associate, Vision and Graphics Lab at the Institute for Creative Technologies.

To register for the event (no charge) visit the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable site. We start at 11:45am (Pacific) on Thursday May 24.

A Conversation with Felicity Barber

Felicity BarberOn April 26, 2018 the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable Held a conference call with Felicity Barber. Felicity is the Executive Speechwriter at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She is a communications expert specializing in thought leadership, storytelling and speechwriting. Prior to joining the Fed she ran her own business, Thoughtful Speech for three years. She moved to San Francisco from London in 2014 where she was a speechwriter at the global insurer, Lloyd’s of London. She has also worked as a Policy Advisor to the Home Office in London and as a Parliamentary Assistant to the Labour Party member for Islington South and Finsbury, Emily Thornberry MP.

The call covered a wide range of topics including:

  • The focus of the book Felicity wrote that was presented to the Queen (and Her Majesty read).
  • The origin of the term ‘underwriter’ (as in the Insurance industry, not someone who is a junior speechwriter…)
  • How Felicity broke into the speechwriting business in London.
  • A comparison between the work of a speechwriter in the UK and USA.
  • Her observation that the publishers of anthologies of famous speeches rarely include those given by woman.
  • The impact of the young women such as Emma Gonzales who survived the shooting at their school and spoke out against American gun culture.
  • The advantage enjoyed by the younger generation of speakers who are social media natives.
  • Notable speeches by women such as those by Oprah Winfrey, actress Anne Hathaway and the secret speech of MzBhaver Raver.
  • The UN Women Instagram account as source of inspirational women speakers.
  • An appreciation of the work of Denise Graveline promoting women speakers.
  • The challenges faced by women who work in the “Brotopia” culture of Silicon Valley tech companies and the urgent need for that industry to recruit diverse talent.
  • The value of women mentoring women, for example by Women who Code and Anitab.org
  • The challenges faced by women in politics and lessons speechwriters can learn from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the views of communications director Jennifer Palmieri.
  • The value of building a long-term relationship between a speechwr1ter and speaker.
  • The rise and fall of women in tech (as a percentage of programmers).
  • The pervasive influence of Silicon Valley on our economy, culture and politics as revealed by Norm Cohen in The Know-It-Alls.
  • How to address the imbalance in the ratio between male and female speakers? What influence can speechwr1ters have?
  • The prominence of women in the National Speakers Association including Past-President Patricia Fripp.

To hear these and other topics discussed click on the podcast icon below.

Speechwriters: Foxes or Hedgehogs?

“A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing”
— Archilochus

I recently had a situation where a potential client in the technology industry preferred to hire a speechwriter with deep domain knowledge rather than go with someone with general writing skills. This is, in some ways, choosing the “hedgehog” who is a focused subject matter expert over the “fox” who draws on a wide variety of experiences.

In my past experience a writer can often rely on the speaker and their staff to provide the expertise (while helping with the research by interviewing relevant SMEs). In my work with over a dozen senior leaders in Silicon Valley I translated their jargon into compelling stories and concepts the audience could grasp. That, and keeping a weather eye out for the countless assumptions that experts inevitably make (from concepts to acronyms).

Indeed, Robert Lehrman author of The Political Speechwriters Companion, advises the use of the Flesch-Kincaid reading level assessment, given that the average American audience has a 7th-Grade reading level and anything more complex risks losing some part of the audience (which might explain why we have the current US President not his main challenger in the White House). Even an audience of PhD’s at the end of a long day might not be able to follow complexity delivered at a rapid clip from the podium with the same ease as they would if the ideas were on the page (where we can re-read difficult passages).

What do speechwriters say?

I polled speechwriters on LinkedIn to ask which they think is preferable: writing experience or domain knowledge? Should a client measure the level of subject expertise or the degree of writing skill? Can they have both? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each set of skills in crafting a speech? In their opinion, which is preferable?

The topic generated considerable debate with a range of opinion and anecdotes from some very experienced writers. Here’s what they had to say:

Deep domain knowledge is good for audience/reception analysis and staying safe yet bad for truly innovative communication due to group think.

Rune Kier Nielsen, Strategic Communicator, Award Winning Speechwriter and Dedicated Storyteller.

I think it’s a mistake to prioritize domain expertise above storytelling excellence. A great speechwriter can deliver an amazing story about any topic. A domain expertise litmus test says more about the client than it does about the complexity of the material that will be communicated.

Mary Smaragdis, Senior Director at LiveSafe. Past: Senior Director, Corporate Storytelling, Yahoo!

I have never had a client or prospective client want deep knowledge about content and I have had hundreds of clients. It would be incredibly stupid of them. I have had a few clients who were stupid but not that stupid.

In politics people used to hire people to write speeches, telling them they could “learn on the job.” I don’t want some MD learning by operating on my knees. And the people I have worked for and with have always been more interested in how well I write speeches than by how much I knew about the subject — even complicated subjects.

Robert Lehrman, Speechwriter. Author The Political Speechwriters Companion.

To me, it all depends on the audience. If it’s a general audience with little knowledge of the domain, it seems to me the potential client would be better served by a speechwriter with only general knowledge. But if it’s an audience full of experts, having only general knowledge could be a real disaster.

Aaron Hoover, Executive Speechwriter, University of Florida.

Ian, good question. I agree with Aaron Hoover that it depends on the audience. Overall – for the scenario you describe (a long term hire), I’d prefer a really sharp generalist speechwriter who knows how to synthesize complex information, craft a narrative, capture the speaker’s voice and move an audience. You can find out what you don’t know pretty quickly, especially when you’re asking on behalf of the CEO. One exception would be a one-off speech or tight deadline situation, where there is just not enough time to ascend the learning curve.

Pete Weissman, Speechwriting, Strategy, Thought Leadership.

In my decades of speech writing — and other games grown-ups play– I’ll have to vote with GREAT WRITERS over domain knowledge. Masterful writers daily dive into new material–and deliver. It’s the gig. Yet serious writing chops take years to hone. Most of our dear and/or maddening clients will vote for DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE (to Ian’s question). God bless ’em, but what do they know? What do they really know about the art & chutzpah of putting words in people’s mouths? Terrific writers can walk in cold, ID the hot spots, gather great quotes and prep their exec. to rally the troops.

Marianne Fleischer, Corp. Communications strategist and senior creative all media. CEO speechwriter, Presentations coach & workshop leader.

In my experience, deep knowledge of the audience is far more important. A writer who is an intelligent layman can often help a technically minded speaker reach — and move — a wider audience.

Howard Tomb, Communications advisor and speech writer to the chairmen, CEOs and other senior executives of leading public companies.

In the main, a “speechwriter with a deep domain knowledge” is a pretty rare fish. Typically he or she is an expert first and a writer incidentally, and not a speechwriter in particular. I think Pete Weissman has it right: the best choice is a sharp and proven generalist speechwriter who is a quick study, which, to me, is the definition of a first-rank speechwriter.

The problem with an expert-who’s-also-a-writer is that a strong writer overall is rarely familiar with the unique requirements of aural presentation. A well-composed essay is not a speech. The essayist need only be clear, but the primary task of the speechwriter is to keep listeners engaged despite their own distraction. This the most important part of speechwriting, and the ability to do it is not a function of one’s knowledge of the topic at hand.

Mike Long, Writer, speechwriter, & educator with
extensive experience in business, government, non-profits, and policy.

The obvious solution is teamwork between the subject matter expert (SME) and the speechwriter. I very much agree with Michael Long that even a SME who is a good writer might lack the expertise of the generalist speechwriter who is expert in connecting the dots for audiences, no matter how complex the material.

Amélie Crosson, Director of Outreach and Strategic Engagement at Office of the Government Representative in the Senate, Ottawa, Canada.

I quite agree with Amelie. The ideal is access to SME’s. By example, I work closely with a solar developer and frequently interview their analysts to make certain that I am correctly understanding and translating material. When I have subject experience – and I do in a half-dozen spaces – I enumerate. When I don’t – I _sell my ignorance_ as Charles Eames** did. That is, I am coming to the project with a passion to grok the material and make it accessible – never dumb – to a particular audience. Experience is key. Sub-specialization is not; but accessing it is important.

** “Sell your expertise and you have a limited repertoire. Sell your ignorance and you have an unlimited repertoire.”
—- Richard Saul Wurman on Charles Eames

Jerry Weinstein, freelance speechwriter. past: Speechwriter to Chairman & Publisher, The New York Times.

There’s something called the Curse of Knowledge. The more you know, the harder it is to explain. But, with all communications, it’s a balance. If you don’t understand the subject properly, you can make rookie errors – embarrassing yourself and the client.

Mike Sergeant, Communications adviser to CEOs and business leaders. Past: Financial Correspondent, BBC News.

There are huge advantages of being a speech writer working across domains. For instance I was working with a financial services regulator last week who was speaking about the importance of company culture in financial services firms. I was able to pull on my experience the day before with a yoghurt manufacturer to give him a metaphor about how different cultures will give different end results and how each culture needs the right environment to flourish.

Benjamin Ball, Investor presentation advisor.

The short answer is “it depends.” Depends on the audience, the expectations of the speaker’s role and so on. If this is a dinner speech in front of 500 people, go with the gifted wordsmith. If the speaking venue is a scientific conference with 500 drug researchers, however, the writer with domain knowledge would be the appropriate choice.

Peter Ramjug, Executive Communications, Boston. Past: Senior Speechwriter, U.S. Department of Transportation.

It helps to have some domain experience, but I wouldn’t expect a speechwriter to have deep technology expertise. If a marketing backgrounder with some key industry links (or internal company info) is given, then the speechwriter can delve into the available content. I worked with an external agency to produce a script and creative content. The writer listened and read the brief with the available content. He also went one step further and did some other research online. So he was able to use his writing expertise with the domain resources to create a compelling story and message. Far too often the subject matter experts are too close to the product/service to develop the stories; that’s why we rely on expert story tellers!

Jeanne Hsu, C-Suite presentations.

Seems to me it depends very highly on what sort of speech or speeches your speaker delivers. If heavy insider industry thought leadership, it helps to have a speechwriter who either knows the industry or cares to learn it really thoroughly really quickly. But if the speech or speeches are (as I’d argue they much more often should be) about human aspects of the industry, then you want a great writer and thinker first.

David Murray, Executive Director at Professional Speechwriters Association.

In my experience, the best combination is a strong writer (an expert communicator and a quick study) and a subject matter expert – if it’s a general audience. If the audience is made up of PhDs, then a writer with deep domain knowledge makes sense – if you can find one.

Don Heymann, Independent speechwriter.

I think there are no easy answers. To me, the best qualification has to do with a speechwriter who can “get into the head and capture the voice” of their client. If they are an SME all the better, but if they aren’t, as a speechwriter, they understand how to do research. The generalist can mine the needed information with some work. As speechwriters, we understand how and where to find that information to prove the point or bolster an argument. I believe a generalist that has a deep understanding of their client and the audience, can take their vast knowledge, dig deeper and come up with a speech that connects in a powerful way.

Bob Sands, Freelance speechwriter.

Ditto on the wisdom shared above, particularly Don Heymann’s. It doesn’t necessarily have to be either/or. I suspect that a few generalists do have deep enough knowledge of a specific subject to craft a speech that resonates with narrow niche audiences, such as highly specialized surgeons or engineers. But even then, it’s wise to limit jargon. If forced to choose, I’d pick a generalist who’s willing to learn enough to get through the gig over an expert who can’t write in plain language.

That being said, when I first started out as a freelancer a few years ago, the head of a writers’ agency told me that he needed subject matter experts, not generalists.

Sheri Lair Saginor, Award-Winning Speechwriter, Speech Delivery Coach.

This same issue comes up with nonfiction book ghostwriters, experience or specialized area. We also need to focus on the needs of our (potential) customers and their audiences.

Maggi P. Kirkbride, Nonfiction Developmental Editing & Ghostwriting

2018 Cicero Speechwriting Awards

CiceroI’m delighted that transcripts of the 25 best speeches selected by Vital Speeches of the Day are now available. In addition to the overall winner there are awards for a wide range of categories; from industry verticals such as Energy and Transportation; to motivational speeches, controversial speeches, commencement addresses, eulogies and more.

It’s interesting to see that of the 25 speeches which are listed, 64% were written by men and 36% by women, while 84% were delivered by men and only 16% by woman (for a perspective on this see Felicity Barber’s excellent post on Women Speaking).

Something else which struck me was that four of the speakers are in the mold of Winston Churchill — they both wrote and deliver their own content. Indeed, speechwriter Hal Gordon was one of the speakers who wrote their own material (else, who would write speeches for the speechwriter?) and his analysis of Churchillian roots (or scaffolding) is great background to appreciate the content of his 2018 Cicero speech.

However, what stuck out a mile, is that were it not for David Murray publishing these transcripts, much of the content would never have seen the light of day. None of the speeches would have been available to those of us who were absent from the auditorium at the time it was delivered. It is frankly amazing that in the era of social media, streaming video and audio podcasts, there were only (as far as I was able to discover) a mere five of the 25 speeches available on YouTube. These are to be applauded for using technology to magnify the impact of the speech after the event (as I’ve written is possible, if not required).

These savvy speakers (or speechwriters who went the extra mile for their clients) are:

Overall winner: “The Power of a Story”, UT Austin President, Gregory L. Fenves speaking at the Holocaust Museum of Houston.

…the reality is that our lives are not only the product of our ambitions, our talents, and a singular focus. Our lives unfold as our individual story intertwines with the stories of others—it’s happening right now, while we are in this room together.That is why institutions like The University of Texas at Austin and Holocaust Museum Houston are important. They make sense of these intersections. To educate, to understand, to enlighten and to bring people together with diverse perspectives and backgrounds so that we may improve lives for present and future generations.

Nonprofit winner: “The State of Civil Discourse”, Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko speaking at Stanford University (fast forward nine minutes into the video for the content).

The transformative change we seek cannot solely be delivered by the Facebooks and LinkedIns of the world. Civil discourse cannot rely on the very platforms which—if used unwisely—can perpetuate our present malaise.Twenty years ago, Robert Putnam identified a sharp rise in Americans’ civic disengagement over the last generation, with empty town hall meetings reflecting “a giant swing toward the individualist pole in our culture, society, and politics.” And his findings are still starkly relevant today.

Controversial/Highly Politicized speech winner: “Protecting Human Rights in Today’s Europe”, Michael O’Flaherty, Director, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights speech delivered delivered at University of Poznan, Poland.

We must have the courage of our convictions, the courage to speak out against human rights violations, and the courage to act. With this courage, with energy and with good will, we can overcome this crisis to ensure that human rights protection does not become a hollow shell, but remains at the beating heart of our societies.

Technology speech winner: The video is a part of the speech delivered by Dr. Jeffrey W. Evenson, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Corning Inc. While not the full speech, this video extract is a great illustration of re-purposing content from the full-length speech delivered at the International Biennale of Glass, Sofia, Bulgaria, six months earlier.

And despite its reputation for being fragile, glass can be engineered to be incredibly strong and damage resistant. Scientists estimate glass’s theoretical strength at more than 15 Gigapascals. Now, I realize there may be a few people in the audience who don’t measure things in Pascals. So I have an
analogy that might help. Imagine a scale that measures the pressure under an elephant’s foot. To get this scale to read one Gigapascal, you would need to stack 10,000 elephants on top of each other.

Inaugural Address speech winner: “What Kind of Leaders Will We Be?”, Dr. David O. Barbe, President, American Medical Association, delivered at the AMA Annual General Meeting.

Let us be the leaders who bring consensus solutions to difficult issues. Let us be the leaders with the creativity and drive to shape the future of medicine. Let us be the leaders who mentor our next generation of physicians. Let us be the leaders John Quincy Adams envisioned when he said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more… learn more… do more… and become more… you are a leader.”

I’m sure the remaining 20 speeches are worthy of reading, however, the impact of hearing and seeing the presentations adds immeasurably to the experience. When Vital Speeches of the Day began publishing in the 1930’s recordings of speeches were few and far between. You can watch grainy video of FDR’s 1933 Inaugural Address or part of Hitler’s first address as German Chancellor . But today, with a smartphone in every pocket, it’s inexcusable that presentations are not made generally available on social media — Award Winners or not.

[I’m well aware that there might be audio or video recordings of the speeches that I missed. If anyone can point me to them, please add the relevant links in the comments below.]

Additions

Government speech winner: “Seat Belts, State Budgets and the Art of Compromise,” John Cullerton, Illinois Senate President.

Thanks to speechwriter John Patterson for his comment (below) that pointed to this video. The first 14 minutes are the scripted talk.

I was trying to get people to vote for something that told 85 percent of their constituents to change their daily behavior. That kind of change isn’t easy. In my experience, here’s how you do it: You begin with a small step forward. And then, when the world doesn’t end, you recognize success, build your base of supporters and keep stepping forward to accomplish your broader goals.

Announcing: A conversation with Felicity Barber on Women Speaking

Felicity BarberI first met Felicity in 2014 shortly after she moved from England to San Francisco. She’s a speechwriter who has worked in both the UK and USA and has expertise in B2B, finance, insurance and technology.

Felicity is currently the Executive Speechwriter at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She’s a communications expert specializing in thought leadership, storytelling and speechwriting. Prior to joining the Fed she ran her own business, Thoughtful Speech for three years. She moved to San Francisco from London in 2014 where she was a speechwriter at the global insurer, Lloyd’s of London. She has also worked as a Policy Advisor to the Home Office in London and as a Parliamentary Assistant to the Labour Party member for Islington South and Finsbury, Emily Thornberry MP. Her claim to fame is that she wrote a book that was given as a gift to Her Majesty The Queen.

On Thursday April 26th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable will host Felicity in a free conference call.

At this event Felicity will explain why she is frustrated that there’s so little published about women’s rhetoric and speeches. As a speechwriter who loves writing for women, she’ll share what inspires her and discuss her recent posting in Vital Speeches of the Day that highlighted five of her favorite moments of women’s public speaking from 2017.

She’ll discuss what speechwriters should do differently, if anything, when writing a speech for a woman vs. a man.

To register for the event (no charge) visit the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable site. We start at 11:45am (Pacific).

The 2018 Cicero Speechwriting Awards – A conversation with David Murray

CiceroMore than 2,000 years ago, Cicero called rhetoric a “great art.” Since then, staggering advances in mass communication haven’t diminished the transformative power of a great speech.

And the Cicero Speechwriting Awards recognize the speechwriters and the speakers who make it great.

Presented by Vital Speeches of the Day, the prestigious monthly collection of speeches, the Cicero Speechwriting Awards recognize the work that makes the speeches that help leaders lead—in every sector of business, politics and society.

In this podcast I talk with VSOTD editor David Murray about what makes a speech Cicero Award material, and the changes he’s seen over the last dozen years that the Awards have been given. To hear what David said, simply click on the podcast icon below.

Click here to enter the 2018 Cicero Speechwriting Awards today.

White House staffers resettle in Silicon Valley

Silicon ValleyKudos for the FT’s Hannah Kuchler for reporting on the number of Obama-era White house staffers who’ve gone West and taken up lucrative speechwriting and communications roles in Silicon Valley.

She notes that the talent from DC is a match made in heaven for Silicon Valley companies. There was always a simpatico feeling between leaders in tech and Democrats (with notable exceptions such as Republican ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers and libertarians including Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy and VC Peter Thiel). However, Kuchler notes that when Obama left office what had been a trickle became a flood:

Previously, tech companies had hired former Obama speechwriters and advisers, and a few Republicans. But last year came the flood: Facebook hired people who had worked on strategic communications for the National Security Council, trade policy and judicial nominations; Uber took on a special assistant from the office of international economic affairs; start-ups hired former Michelle Obama advisers on innovation and cyber-security policy.

These West Wing operatives will prove their worth if they are able to stem the backlash against the likes of Uber and Facebook as they struggle to win the hearts and minds of regulators worldwide.

Those of us who’ve written for the tech industry for years welcome the new blood, there’s a place for you in the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable!

Podcast: Shel Holtz on Social Media and Speechwriting

Shel HoltzOn Wednesday October 4th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable hosted a conference call with Shel Holtz. We discussed the ways in which social and digital media — which have given rise to content marketing — offer a host of options to speechwriters to draw attention to the speech before, during, and after its delivery. Shel reviewed the rapid development of the many forms of social media available for speechwriters to use, from humble beginnings as blogs and chat rooms to the rich variety of streaming media solutions available today.

Among the tips Shel shared was the use of Poll Everywhere to engage audiences and the Mevo live event camera for streaming.

Click on the podcast icon below to listen to Shel discuss these topics and more, as well as answer questions from speechwriters who were on the call. (Apologies for the audio which suffered from occasional background noise, but nothing that should prevent you listening to whole 55 minute call.)

Announcing: A Conversation with Shel Holtz

Shel HoltzI’ve long been an admirer of communication strategist Shel Holtz. who is a regular speaker on topics surrounding the application of online technology to strategic organizational communication. He speaks regularly at IABC and Ragan Communication conferences.

On Wednesday October 4th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable will host Shel on a conference call. We’ll be discussing the ways in which social and digital media — which have given rise to content marketing — offer a host of options to speechwriters to draw attention to the speech before, during, and after its delivery. From repurposing parts of a speech to taking advantage of trends in online video and audio, Shel will discuss how you can get much more mileage from a speech today than ever before.

To register for this no-charge event simply go to the Roundtable Meetup Group and RSVP. We start at 11:45am (Pacific).

Shel is the author of a number of great books on topics such as podcasting, blogging and more.

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