Politicians, CEOs of major companies and celebrities are just some of the people who have teams of professional speechwriters who help them day in and day out. But just because you aren’t famous doesn’t mean you can’t enlist the help of a professional speechwriter, particularly when it comes to special occasions. In fact, those of you who are asked to speak at Claire’s and Bob’s wedding or Mom’s 65th birthday are often those who need the most help.
Some people are naturally confident public speakers and gifted writers. Great for them, right? But three out of four people have speech anxiety—that’s 75 percent of people. So if you find yourself in that category you are certainly not alone. It’s natural to be nervous about giving a toast; butterflies about taking center stage are to be expected. But for some, the very idea of writing and delivering a toast is so terrifying that they freeze up completely.
Here are five signs that you should consider hiring a professional speechwriter.
1. Panic is all-consuming. When you are asked to give a speech, it’s important to evaluate your level of anxiety. Ask yourself if this is something you can do with relative comfort. If you find yourself obsessing about your fear of public speaking or you feel your anxiety is spiraling downward, you might benefit from hiring a word whisperer to help you craft your toast. Although he/she cannot deliver it for you, you will hopefully feel more confident knowing that a professional worked with you to write it.
2. Delivery is not your strong suit. If sweaty palms, racing heartbeat and quivering voice sound familiar when it’s time speak in front of a group, chances are you don’t have a lot of confidence in your public speaking ability. Many people struggle with their delivery—figuring out when to pause, which words to emphasize and how to speak conversationally. A speechwriter can help coach you on how to best deliver your speech.
3. You don’t know where to begin. One of the biggest challenges people face is getting started. Whether it’s writer’s block or difficulty selecting which memories to share, sometimes figuring out how to attack the speechwriting process can be just as overwhelming as delivering the speech itself. Sometimes the objectivity and expertise of a speechwriter can be just what you need to help jumpstart the writing process.
4. You have a lot of ideas, but can’t put them together. It’s likely that you have a good idea of what you want to say, but struggle to make it flow well. Perhaps word selection, particularly when it comes to transitioning one idea to the next, is not your forte. A speechwriter can ask questions and gather information that will serve as the structure of the speech. And he/she can translate your thoughts into words that fit your style and making a lasting impact.
5. You’ve waited until the last minute. Procrastination is very common when it comes to speechwriting. Maybe you have tried to write the speech, but get stuck early on. Maybe you’re still searching for inspiration. Maybe you don’t want to sound overly rehearsed so you think you will “wing it.” Regardless of the reason, if you find yourself putting it off until the last moment, take that as a cue that maybe you would benefit from some professional guidance.
There is no shame in getting help with your speech. Think of it in the same way that you would hire a party planner to oversee your event, a stylist to help you with your wardrobe, a hair and make-up specialist to make you look your best, or a photographer to help you tell the story of your celebration. With a little help, the speech can shine just as brightly as the other aspects of your celebration. It’s an important moment. Make it count.