Public relations managers and agencies frequently receive requests to craft speeches for the CEO, catering to both internal and external audiences.
Writing a speech for your CEO requires a blend of strategic thinking, storytelling, and a deep understanding of the company’s values and goals. Here are 10 essential steps to capturing the CEO’s voice and crafting a compelling speech.
Understand the Audience and Occasion
Before you begin writing, it’s crucial to understand the audience who will be listening to the speech and the occasion for which it is being delivered.
The public relations manager must consider the demographics, interests, and expectations of the audience, as well as the significance of the event, whether it’s a product launch, a shareholder meeting, courtesy visit, or a press conference.
Know the key takeaways
What does the CEO hope to achieve with this speech? What are the central themes and takeaways? Understanding the CEO’s perspective is essential for crafting a speech that authentically represents their voice and priorities.
Research and Gather Information
Gather relevant data, anecdotes, industry insights, wisecracks, and any other supporting materials that can enrich the speech and add credibility to the CEO’s message.
Develop a Compelling Opening
The opening of the speech sets the tone and captures the audience’s attention. Craft a compelling opening that piques curiosity, establishes rapport, and introduces the central theme or message of the speech.
For example, the Commencement Speech by First Bank’s CEO’ at a university graduation ceremony some years ago had a captivating opening.
Structure the Speech
Organize the content of the speech into a coherent structure that flows logically and effectively communicates the key points. Consider using storytelling, anecdotes, and real-life examples to make the speech relatable and engaging.
Infuse the CEO’s Voice
As a public relations professional and speechwriter, your task is to capture the CEO’s voice and personality in the speech. You need to convey the CEO’s authenticity and passion through the written word.
Incorporate Powerful Quotes and Statistics
Integrate impactful quotes, industry statistics, and relevant research findings to bolster the CEO’s arguments and emphasize key points.
These elements add depth and authority to the speech, reinforcing the CEO’s message. You also score a good public relations point as such additions give the media more meat to draw from.
Craft a Memorable Conclusion
The conclusion of the speech should leave a lasting impression and inspire action. Summarize the key takeaways, reiterate the core message, and conclude with a call to action or a thought-provoking statement that resonates with the audience.
Rehearse and Refine
Once the speech is written, work closely with the CEO to rehearse and refine the delivery. Pay attention to pacing, emphasis, and overall delivery style to ensure that the speech aligns with the CEO’s vision and resonates with the audience.
Feedback and fast forward
After the speech has been delivered, seek feedback from the CEO, audience members, and other stakeholders. Use this feedback to iterate and improve your speechwriting skills, continuously refining your approach to crafting impactful CEO speeches.
Remember, feedback is the breakfast of public relations champions.