Through The Lens of a Speech Writer - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Through The Lens of a Speech Writer

By Idris Katib 

Speech writing is an interesting venture. It is both a professional and academic exercise of a sort.As a skilled speech writer, you could be called to package a speech at any time with a very short deadline--within 24 hours.

It helps if you as personal assistant/speech writer/PR manager are well acquainted with the thinking and philosophy of your principal. That makes it easy for you to sketch the highlights of the speech before adding the meat subsequently.

You could do it all night, all day,writing, editing, proofreading, substituting words/expressions for a good flow and consideration of the audience.

A good speech writer creates the audience in front of them and imagines the response, applauses or indifference. Your diction must be clear and fluid so much so that the audience is on the same page with the presentation.

It could be disappointing if you don't have anyone, in fact with an eagle eye, to edit and proofread your script before the actual delivery since you cannot always see your own errors.One needs a wordsmith or software to be accurate in diction, spellings and grammar.

In the context of yours truly as the media aide to the former judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), His Excellency Judge Bola Ajibola, I have had a rare privilege to write several of his speeches some of which were at a short notice.As studious and tedious as the job was,I was lucky to have two other senior speech writers on hand who would edit my script within a short space of time. In a matter of hours, I would get my script back better edited and punctuated.

Generally, speech writing is interesting for creative and journalistic writers.It boosts one's psychology of thinking for others and reading their minds.

How important is the opening of a speech?
Capturing the audience's attention: it is the duty of the speech writer to anticipate the kind of audience his principal will be addressing. 

So he should get the invite and think aloud how to welcome, address or recognise the dignitaries as well as the audience.At times, names of dignitaries are left out of the speech for one's principal to do justice on the spot of delivery.

A good speech must have a theme around which the discussion is done.A speech can be used to address a particular societal problem or praise a philanthropic project. It can also be delivered on the inauguration of a project, matriculation, convocation, birthday and so forth.

A speech is different than a lecture as the latter is more of an academic endeavour. As a speech writer, it important that you forward the draft to your principal ahead of presentation while he or she of reading aloud for critique and also familiarity with the diction.Where they are not satisfied with certain expressions, it is your duty to stet them for appropriate replacements.

Importance of the use of the dictionary cannot be overemphasized when writing a speech.Words that have dual or multiple meanings must be crosschecked for their appropriateness. The speech audience should not left confused as a result of verbose or gargantuan expressions.

Speech writing is a skill that can be developed. If you have a flare for writing, you can be tutored on the art of writing and delivering good speeches. If you do not have the skills, do not put yourself to shame by copying other people's speeches verbatim.If you must use a part of someone else's speeches, it must be quoted and directly attributed to them.

Ending a speech should leave remarkable impact on the minds of the audience. If it is a speech based on addressing a problem, the concluding part should have recommendations or proffer solutions to such a problem.A relevant scholarly quote can also be employed to reemphasize the theme of the speech.

*Katib, a PR and Advertising scholar, works with Crescent University, Abeokuta,Nigeria; can be reached at

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