Having previously shared my process for speech writing, I’d like to elaborate on step #4: interviewing your speaker. Asking these four simple questions will help to make your interview as fruitful as possible:

  • Why is this event important to you/why will you be speaking at this event?
  • What do you want the audience members to know about your vision, project, mandate or organization?
  • What excites you about speaking to this group?
  • What one message/task/action do you want the audience members to leave with?

Ask these questions after you’ve done some, if not all of your research on the audience, objective and topic; arrange to interview your speaker when you can have an informed discussion. This is not an information gathering conversation as much as message-shaping. Based on your topic and how the conversation unfolds, you should, of course, add any other questions to your interview that will help.

The answers to these questions will help you to capture your speaker’s personality, message and perspective, which can be blended with corporate communications objectives. Treat every response as a gem. Even the most casual and seemingly trivial comments can offer valuable nuances and specific wording/phrases to make your script more natural and authentic for your speaker.

It’s not always possible to get time with your speaker, especially if she or he is very senior or busy. However, do your best to arrange an interview if at all possible: even a 5-15 minute chat can go a long way!

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira