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Author: David Murray

Your CEO Needs You

Posted: June 23, 2017 | By:

It’s not a complaint one often hears about CEOs. But when it comes to CEO communication, it’s true: CEOs don’t know what they want.

I know this now.

And it’s useful knowledge to have.

I spent two straight days (and two serious nights) with some of the leading executive communication thinkers, practitioners and researchers at the CEO Communication Summit, convened by the Professional Speechwriters Association last week in Montreal.

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Speechwriters Are the Serious Ones

Posted: June 9, 2017 | By:

Some speechwriters might have resented it when I criticized Jon Favreau and Lovett for what I saw as the glib, snarky style the former Obama speechwriters showed on an appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, back in April.

Does the head of the Professional Speechwriters Association condemn his flock to the back pasture? Once a speechwriter, always a monk—is that it?

My thinking on the...

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Remind Them What They Know: Speechwriting when everything has already been said

Posted: June 2, 2017 | By:

“People need to be reminded,” said Samuel Johnson, “more often than they need to be instructed.”

Commencement speakers struggle to come up with a speech, when “everything’s already been said.” Keynote speakers wonder what they can tell people that "they don't already know."

But everything hasn’t been said by you, at this moment in history, to the audience gathered today.

And more importantly: Whatever...

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You, me, and RFK

Posted: April 28, 2017 | By:

I took a Robert Kennedy biography on spring break, and all I got was six lousy insights on speechwriting.

Actually, not lousy at all, thanks to author Evan Thomas's understanding of leadership communication—how it works, and how it doesn't. This is what I learned from Robert Kennedy: His Life

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The Speechwriter’s Pipe Dream: Writing Our Own Job Description

Posted: March 24, 2017 | By:

In this space a couple of weeks ago, an outsider might have thought speechwriters were complaining about the unreasonable—or unreasonably numerous—demands that organizations place on them.

As a speechwriter these days, “you write, you relationship, you gap-fill, you verify,” I quoted a speechwriter as saying. “Thinking, reading, expanding, learning is done on your...

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To slip the surly bonds of speechwriting

Posted: January 27, 2017 | By:

David Murray

You're doing your job. But are you doing your job?

As we read every week in The Executive Communication Report, executive commuincation professonals are hired to "prepare speeches and other communication materials for senior executives."

Some exec comms pros see their jobs as bigger than that. They think they should slip the surly bonds of C-suite messaging, and...

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The Spooky Side of Stories

Posted: November 20, 2016 | By:

David Murray

One of the few downsides of being immersed in rhetorical theory every day all day is that the amorality of it gets on your clothing, and you have to wash it off.

Speechwriters know that audiences are persuaded by various techniques whether they're employed by defenders of democracy or demagogues—or demagogues posing as defenders of democracy. As we've relearned through the collapse of the story-fueled reputation of the med-tech firm...

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