“It’s only the Chamber of Commerce”—A Case Study

Why is it that CEOs have speechwriters but the people who aspire to be CEOs—or C-somethings—don’t? We all know how much first impressions matter, even if the speaker is “just” a Senior Manager and the audience “just” a small town Chamber of Commerce.

If I ran an organization, I’d want to make sure that everyone who goes out into the world in my company’s name put their best foot forward…and kept their worst feet out of their mouths.

What if that Senior Manager delivered a good speech—a memorable speech? How much more effective would their outreach be?

I saw this firsthand several years ago. My client had hired me to write speeches for their CEO, but one day they asked if I had time to knock out a speech for someone else. I said sure.

The “someone else” turned out to be the equivalent of a branch manager, important to his local market but not high enough up in the organization to have access to executive-level communications resources. Until he got me.

I talked with him about what he wanted to say to the Chamber of Commerce, what message he wanted to leave with them. A few days later, I sent him the draft and we refined it in a couple of places. Then he delivered it.

And the crowd went wild.

He’d never heard so much applause, he told me. The Chamber asked if he could supply a blurb for their newsletter with the main takeaways. The local newspaper asked if they could print his remarks in full. Other organizations invited him to speak.

None of these things had ever happened when he’d spoken before. But all of this—and more—becomes possible when you deliver well thought-out remarks that set your expertise in context without being blatantly sales-y. Remarks that capture your audience’s attention from your first word to your last and give them something to think about.

Companies don’t often have the budget to offer a CEO-caliber speechwriter to everyone on the org chart. That’s why I coach rising executives and communications staffers. I teach them, one on one and in groups, what a great speech looks like, and how to write one. Even if you’re “only” speaking to the Chamber of Commerce.

Want more info? Contact me.

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