Speechwriting – How Does it Work?

The most important thing is for me to know the deadline. When does the client need the speech by?

Then I’ll need to know who the audience is. Wedding, funeral, speech competition, keynote – all the usual.

I’ll need to know how long the speech needs to be – the shorter ones are the harder ones to write. I had to write a 3-minute speech the other day, so making each word spot-on was essential. 

Once I have these details, and I provide my best quote.

All my quotations are for the whole job and include the effort taken, time taken, and expertise required. I don’t charge by the word or the hour. It is a job quote.

If the client is happy to proceed, then we will book some time to talk. Because next, I need the content. Stories are always a winner for any audience, and so a great story will always work.

Writing a speech for me is a bit like being an architect of a house. You tell me how many bathrooms, bedrooms and how many cars you need to garage, and then I’ll design the best home possible. I’ve created so many, I know which designs work well. From bright tiny apartments to spatial palaces, I have designed for every culture and configuration.

But sometimes, my clients have different designs in mind. That’s OK, and I’m perfectly fine with adjusting whatever needs adjusting to suit the client’s style.

And, of course, nothing is stopping you from editing the final version of the speech to suit precisely what you want.

People sometimes ask for a bit of practice time to try out their speech. Typically students who enter speech competitions are keen to present as best as they can. So, we make some time to catch up online – MS Teams or Zoom – just about any time is fine by me – including evenings or weekends – and we will have a few run-throughs of the speech. Just to make the best impact possible.

In my mind writing a good speech involves being given the scope, then tossing it around in my mind for a day or two. The best structure always comes to me when I’m on one of my walks, often around Birdsland.


Considering what to write in the speech can take just as long as the actual writing task.

I only work on one task at a time and so only take on one client at a time. There is not enough mental space to have more than one speech taking up space in my brain.




And that’s the sort of process I use if anyone wants a speech written.