A great writer is like the host of a great party. The host is primarily concerned that the guests are enjoying themselves and getting good things out of the experience.
A host avoids indulging him- or herself because a host's obligation lies elsewhere. By the way, that's not a bad thing. Attending a party yields one kind of enjoyment. Overseeing the party yields another.
When you write something, think of yourself as the host. It's not about you. It's about your guests.
(This splendid idea comes from Charles P. Curtis, Jr., a brilliant writer and thinker of the mid-20th century.)
I remember a dinner many years ago with a celebrity I absolutely love, one whose name you'd know.
It was not what I expected.
This person spent the evening asking about me.
I was flattered, but I came away having learned none of the things I was curious to know about his fascinating life. I was actually a little frustrated -- he was *too* selfless, too kind!
There's a lesson in that for speakers and speechwriters.
When you've been invited to speak, it's because there are things about your life or your knowledge this audience wants to hear. Be gracious, sure, but tell 'em.
Whether it's the whole speech, a morsel to draw them in, or an anecdote to color a larger point, they asked to hear from you. So tell 'em.
Wanna read more? Check out my short essay: https://lnkd.in/gwmQJ76
You'll find a fountain of ways to improve your speech, once you hear it yourself.
Reporters want to know whether this story matters to them. Your puzzles don't help. Just be clear.
Advice for closing a speech in the most effective way possible. Read it all here: https://us6.campaign-archive.com/?u=0609fcd33c658d02090de606f&id=96e0525511
I had a great time with Dr. Dan French on his Rhetoric Warriors podcast. Dan's the star here. Besides being a great standup, he was on Emmy-nominated writing staffs for late night TV shows with Dennis Miller, Craig Kilborn, and more. We talk about my career and his, and do a deep dive late in the show on comedy mechanics. If that's your thing, you'll enjoy this conversation.