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.
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...
Anyone working freelance in today’s publishing industry is in a double bind. (And you can be forgiven if you feel doubly blindsided, too.)
Not only is a first-rate ghost, an editor, a freelance writer of any kind expected to be up to speed on industry issues, changes, developments, and trends, but she or he is also expected to hit deadlines and contribute the kinds of ideas that in-house teams have handed to them by their managements and support teams.
“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...
Most great writers aren't great successes, as the world counts success. Write anyway.
A few weeks ago* my son and I drove down to Richmond to see Americana singer-songwriter Caleb Caudle, a guy I’d heard only on the Internet. He is living the typical musician’s life, friending fans on Facebook, recording and releasing music on his own, and driving from gig to gig. He was playing...
Looking back over my three decades of ghostwriting, I realize that every bad client experience I had was really my own fault. In each case, I ignored the flashing red warning signs. I’m not claiming that these rules are absolute for every ghostwriter, nor that they will protect you in every case. I only hope that my five “nevers” may be a useful guide to other ghostwriters.
In America, we engage in frivolous rhetoric because we can afford to. That’s not a boast. That’s a failure of character. It's along these lines: The comedian Chris Rock said, “If a homeless person has a funny sign, he hasn’t been homeless that long. A real homeless person is too hungry to be funny.”
I say a nation that was really hurting for themselves or others wouldn’t spend any time calling the other half names. They’d get serious and do whatever it...
I took a Robert Kennedy biography on spring break, and all I got was six lousy insights on speechwriting.
Gotham Ghostwriters Presents. . .
The Ghost Life
A discussion with recovering ghostwriter Barbara Feinman Todd, author of the revealing new memoir, Pretend I’m Not Here
What’s it like to be a ghostwriter? That's naturally the first...
There’s something funny about being a ghostwriter: While you might be great at writing and capturing your client’s voice, ghosting also has a business side. Earning an income as a ghostwriter means dealing with tax issues each year (and each quarter when you have estimated payments!).
I know about this firsthand. Besides my work as a ghostwriter, I also run Almost Millions, a personal finance site for freelancers...
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