Speechwriters + Impro = Kaaaboom!

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Good speechwriters know all about structuring a speech in advance, shaping it to the needs and interests of a particular audience on a particular occasion.

But what about delivery? Can speechwriters really understand what it’s like to stand in front of that audience and deal with surprises?

I don’t mean: getting slapped by an audience member who didn’t appreciate your joke1. The surprises can be – and usually are – more subtle.

Either way, it requires a constant reading of the room, and a willingness to adjust.

That means improvising.

If you’re a speechwriter, you may not think this applies to you, only to the person who delivers your speech.

But I suspect you will be an even better speechwriter if you know what it feels like.

This week, at the Speechwriters Conference in Cambridge, I’ll be running a session on impro techniques. I hope if you’re there you will join me.

1 Slapped. A reference, in case you are reading this long afterwards, to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars last night.