how to become speech writer

How to Become a Speechwriter: 7 Degree-Less Steps

Some of the most impactful moments of history and even movies, can be linked back to a speech given. The ones that give the listener goosebumps, that they still contemplate and discuss and reference years and years later. It may make some of you stop and decide to learn how to become a speechwriter.

But how does that happen if you also don’t want to be the one giving the speech?

Maybe you don’t want to stand in front of a crowd. Maybe you want to be the person behind the scenes, aiding in sharing another’s message in a way that stands out.

It’s not as easy as the movie Long Shot has us believe, where simply running into an old babysitter who just happens to be running for president allows the job to fall into your lap. Even so, there’s a lot we can learn from Seth Rogen’s role as journalist-turned-white-house-speechwriter.

But we’ll look at a lot more than just those methods, and you’ll walk away having a clear understanding of how to become a speechwriter, no degree required.

  • Types of speechwriters: political vs. business vs. other
  • Is speech writing in demand?
  • Do you need a degree to be a speech writer?
  • How to become a speech writer: acquiring skills in 8 steps

Types of speechwriters: political vs business vs other 

One of the best things you can do upfront is determine what type of speechwriter you want to be. In almost any industry, there are opportunities for speeches. But given that you want to make an entire job out of just writing speeches, you’ll have a few primary types to decide on.

Usually, people will think of motivational speeches along with political talks when deciding they want to write speeches. Neither of these are bad, but they’re very broad.

Here are the types of speeches you can potentially learn to write:

  • Teaching / Informative
  • Eulogies 
  • Motivational
  • Political: tons of sub-speech types in here too
  • Commencement
  • Business / Sales
  • Special occasions: weddings, one-off events
  • Demonstrative

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. Many speechwriters tend to specialize in certain areas in order to grow in their field, but it’s good to have a baseline for many types.

Note: You don’t have to decide right now. Part of the process of learning how to become a speechwriter will include discovering your unique strengths and areas of expertise. You may be a terrible political speechwriter, but have the skills to move proverbial mountains in the motivational speech world. This will come out with time.

Is speechwriting in demand?

Yes. The world we live in right now is one of soundbites and snippets of powerful TED talks , but also one of long form video content. Which means it’s perfect for speeches, and therefore speechwriters.

Learning how to become a speechwriter nowadays may look a lot different than it did even 10 years ago because of this. You might not see job listings specifically seeking “speech writer” but more like “script writer.” Keep an eye on the job descriptions for these types of roles and be able to identify when an organization actually means “speech writer.”

With this in mind, classic speechwriters may not be the best fit for these roles, as they require more modern techniques that take into account the way media is consumed at large today. That’s where your advantage of learning now comes in, and why a college degree might not give you the tools you need by itself.

Do you need a degree to be a speechwriter?

The short answer is no. The long answer is that a degree can be beneficial for a lot of aspects of becoming a speechwriter, but it’s not a make or break accolade—especially in modern times.

And as weird as writing the words “modern times” feels, the fact of social media, the internet, and general access to digital education by highly qualified individuals means you can learn to write amazing speeches in far less time and for far less money.

That said, college provides some necessary education for learning how to become a speechwriter, along with potential networking opportunities, depending on the type of speechwriter you want to become.

The specific benefits from journalism and communications-focused degrees, along with English and writing courses can go a long way. But again, it’s not completely necessary and you can gain that information in alternative ways that we’ll cover below.

How to become a speechwriter: acquiring skills in 8 steps

You do have to take some action yourself. You can’t just approach someone and ask to write a speech for them. Well, you certainly can and it might pan out, but only if you’re already acquired the skills necessary.

If you’re still looking for the right way to go about it, here are some steps to help you learn how to become a speechwriter.

1. Study famous speeches

There’s a reason some speeches have been around for so long. They resonate with people in ways that are really important to study if you want to become one.

Now, you don’t have to write speeches like those in order to learn how to become a speech writer, but they will help you understand the power speeches can have, and what specifically about them seems to stick with people.

You can use those aspects to craft the speeches you write in a way that triggers an emotional response.

These are some of the most famous speeches to study:

  • I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. – 1963
  • Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln – 1863
  • We Shall Fight on the Beaches by Winston Churchill – 1940
  • The Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy (written by Ted Sorensen) – 1961
  • Rivonia Trial Speech by Nelson Mandela – 1964
  • Tear Down This Wall by Ronald Reagan (written in part by Peter Robinson) – 1987
  • Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat by Winston Churchill – 1940
  • I Am an African by Thabo Mbeki – 1996
  • Ich Bin Ein Berliner by John F. Kennedy (written by Ted Sorensen) – 1963

Unless otherwise noted, these speeches are known to have been authored by the speech giver. Listen to each of these, and then read them in writing.

Notice the differences in how it looks written to how it sounds when spoken. Are there specifics that you can take away?

What stood out about them? Did they have any similarity in structure and build? What about the topics themselves? Dive into the openings, middle, and endings and get a sense for what these look like.

2. Study bad speeches

You can learn quite a lot from the “what not to do” style as well. There are plenty of things you want to avoid when learning how to become a speechwriter.

Most importantly, and what’s difficult to teach, is context. The person giving the speech, their position, and what the topic is can do a lot to either make or break the speech. Take Herbert Hoover’s Prosperity is Just Around the Corner speech from 1932 .

This was during the Great Depression, and many people thought that he was very disconnected from the struggles of the reality of the challenges during this time. Notably, the content with the tone he took made it seem like it was the people’s problem that they did not have work, and not the deeper systemic issues that brought about those unemployment rates.

While you, as the speechwriter, can’t dictate tone of voice, you can do a lot to set the tone of the speech by how you craft it.

3. Work with a speechwriter as a student

If you can get in touch with people who are already doing this job, it’s a much faster way to learn how to become a speechwriter. Especially if they will take you on as a mentee. Job shadowing is also a great idea if you want to learn the ins and outs if you’re still undecided about this as a career.

Mostly, though, you can even work with one as someone who gives a speech.

This would likely mean taking on a goal of speaking and hiring a speaking coach who will also help you write the speech. There’s a different level of insight you’ll gain by having to perform the speech yourself.

You’ll understand audience nuances, presentation of information, and will craft your speech to avoid some of the missteps that make for badly received talks. 

4. Give speeches yourself

Not only can you work with a speech writer, you can write your own speeches and focus on becoming a speaker. It’s a great way to test how your talks sound when performed live.

Many people will take their speeches to a group like Toastmasters or other communities to gain insight into how others perceive the talk itself, in addition to public speaking feedback.

By staying focused on the material in the speech itself, it’ll allow you to focus less on giving the actual talk. Plus, knowing how nerves affect a speaker is one of the many nuances you’ll have to pay attention to when crafting different talks for different people.

For example, if you know the speaker has nerves, you’ll be less likely to include speech elements that need more confident finesse to pull off. You’ll have to be able to write a speech for people based on their skillset and ability to deliver it.

If you or your client suffer from a bit of fear, don’t worry. Both you and your client can learn the skills to overcome stage fright.

5. Work with speakers

There’s a difference between writing a speech for yourself and writing a speech for someone else, as mentioned above.

This part of learning how to become a speechwriter has a lot to do with being able to adopt another’s tone and voice while still writing a speech that fulfills their goals. You can’t write this for yourself to give.

This is where that movie Long Shot is actually helpful. There are scenes in which Seth Rogen’s character interviews Charlize Theron’s as she makes attempts to initiate an environmental bill as a secretary of state, and later as she runs for president. The purpose of this is so Seth Rogen’s character can write better speeches for her, more personal, something that aids in her character’s ability to increase her likability ratings in the polls.

While this movie is fictional, the strategy behind it is sound.

If you try to write speeches for other people but don’t tweak them to fit the presenter, you’ll have trouble.

A great way to find speakers to work with is to get into a community in which they are plentiful, like a Toastmasters or even a private group or network. Provide some feedback and connect. Then offer your services to practice writing for someone else.

See how they do, and what type of feedback they receive.

6. Test your speeches publicly 

You won’t know how your speeches are performing if you don’t test them. And not just with other speakers, but with an audience who has no background in knowing how a speech should be done.

This step is really important. The feedback from those who would otherwise be the target audience is vital to getting better at learning how to become a speechwriter. Getting outside the world you’re in every day—one of writing and hearing and giving speeches—allows you to be a part of the everyday person. 

The angles you take and elements you add or remove depend on how they’ll be received from this person.

7. Further your education

This doesn’t necessarily mean going to college. It just means there are an excessive amount of information and resources available for much cheaper than a college degree that’ll help you learn how to become a speechwriter.

Books are one of them, and courses are another.

When it comes to books, these are some we’d recommend for learning how to become a speechwriter:

  • Stories that Stick by Kindra Hall
  • The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs

Don’t let these titles fool you. While they don’t all cover speeches specifically, they all offer nuggets of wisdom and research that’ll help you craft specific pieces of a great speech.

Many actually focus on the very ideas and stories that great speeches are crafted around. Because without both of those elements, a speech won’t have the impact necessary.

And remember, there are many courses, coaches, and other books crafted around how to write a good speech. Many are around the focus of “giving” great speeches, but the content of those speeches is a primary focus. Keep an eye out and read whenever you can!

Learning how to become a speechwriter includes various skill sets. If you want to be great, start now, start anywhere. Eventually, you will have to dedicate time and money to learning this craft, as with any other career worth pursuing.

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How to Become a Speech Writer: 10 Practical Steps

  • October 4, 2023

Table of Contents:

10 practical steps to become a speech writer, 1- discover the power of words, 2- study different types of speeches, 3- develop your writing skills, 4- understand your audience, 5- listen to the speeches: , 6- practice speechwriting techniques, 7- embrace creativity, 8- pursue formal education, 9- intern or volunteer, 10- build your portfolio, conclusion:.

Have you ever listened to a speech’s good that you felt so empowered and motivated and wanted to write one of your own? Behind every powerful speech, there is a very detailed process of writing it. And not everyone is capable of writing amazing speeches. So if you want to become a speech writer and learn how to write an amazing speech, this article is for you. Explore effective techniques and consider professional speech writing services to enhance your skills.

The first step to Becoming a Speech Writer is to discover the power that words hold. They can weave connections between people and spark intense emotion. They will also ignite actions that can change the world.

We have seen so many great historical speeches, and what makes them so good? The words and the delivery. So if you want to understand the artistry behind it all, immerse yourself in the pages of books, articles, and speeches.

These literary gems reveal how language can truly captivate an audience. Take note of what makes these speeches unforgettable. Also, see what clever techniques they use to deliver their messages effectively. 

Did you know that speechwriters tailor their words to suit different occasions? And if you, too, want to become a speechwriter, you must follow in their footsteps. You must go through different content and see what makes these speeches amazing. 

There are three main types of speeches that you need to know about if you want to become a speech writer.  

  • persuasive speeches
  • informative speeches
  • commemorative speeches.

Each type has its special style and purpose. 

Persuasive speeches are like a convincing argument, where you try to persuade your audience to see things your way. Informative speeches are about sharing knowledge and teaching your listeners something new and exciting. Lastly, commemorative speeches celebrate special moments or honor important people.

To become a speech writer who changes people’s views, you must understand the characteristics and goals of each type of speech. That way, you can adapt your words to create the perfect impact on your audience and inspire them with your words.

Top Question: How To Become A Wikipedia Editor

So writing a speech is not easy, and you must acquire many good skills to achieve something. So to become a speech writer, you must keep polishing your skills. But how can you do that? 

Start by putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) regularly. Even if it’s just a few lines or a short paragraph, the better you’ll become, the more you write. But don’t stop there! Add a splash of descriptive language to your writing to create vivid mental images for your readers. It’s like adding colors to your words, making them come alive!

To level up your writing game, improve your grammar and vocabulary. The more words you have, the more colorful and engaging your speeches will be.

And here’s a secret ingredient to success: immerse yourself in the wonderful world of books. Reading broadens your knowledge and exposes you to different writing styles. Plus, engaging in creative writing exercises will exercise those writing muscles and help you become a true wordsmith!

So, don’t be afraid to dive into the sea of words and let your creativity flow. With determination and practice, you’ll be crafting mesmerizing speeches in no time!

Understanding your audience is crucial in any job, even if you want to become a speech writer. Creating a successful speech is like crafting a special gift for your audience. To make it truly memorable, you need to understand who your audience is – their interests, beliefs, and what makes them tick. It’s like having a secret code that unlocks the hearts of your listeners.

So, before you pen to paper, take time to get to know your audience. What are their hobbies and passions? What are their dreams and aspirations? Once you have these puzzle pieces, you can tailor your speech to their unique tastes.

Consider the tone you want to set – should it be lighthearted and funny or more serious and thought-provoking? Your language is also important; it should feel natural and relatable to your audience.

Remember, connecting with your audience is like building a bridge of understanding. So, sprinkle in some examples that they can relate to and watch as your speech comes to life before their very eyes. The magic happens when your audience feels like you’re speaking directly to them!

Top Question: What Kind Of Primary Sources Do You Think The Writer Of A Biography Uses?

As you explore these amazing speeches, pay close attention to their delivery. Notice how they use their voices and body language to captivate the audience. Notice the structure of their speeches. See how they build and weave their ideas like a beautiful tapestry.

But that’s not all! Watch how these masterful speakers engage with their audience. Do they use humor, storytelling, or emotions to connect with their listeners? Understanding these techniques is like having a secret treasure map to crafting your compelling speeches.

You’ve laid the groundwork, and now it’s time to dive into the fun part – practicing your speechwriting skills! It’s like being a magician, conjuring words that will leave your audience spellbound.

Let your imagination run wild as you write speeches for made-up scenarios or events. You can transport your listeners to a mystical land or a futuristic world – endless possibilities! And here’s the best part: you’re the director of this wordy play so you can experiment with different styles.

Feeling playful? Sprinkle some humor into your speech and watch as laughter fills the room. Or, if you want to tug at heartstrings, weave in storytelling that’ll make your audience feel like they’re on an emotional rollercoaster.

But don’t forget – every great performer needs an audience! Share your speeches with friends or family and ask for their feedback. Their insights are treasures that’ll help you polish your skills and turn your words into magic.

In this world of speechwriting, there are no limits to what you can imagine. So to become a speech writer, you should not be afraid to step outside the box and embrace original ideas. Let your imagination soar high, and watch your speeches come to life. 

To become a successful speech writer, use your creativity like a secret ingredient that adds a sprinkle of stardust to your words. It’s what sets your speeches apart from the rest. It is what makes your words truly unforgettable for your audience. 

Your speeches will become a work of art that leaves a lasting impression on everyone who hears them. Embrace the artistry of speechwriting and paint a world of inspiration with your words!

Another important thing you must not overlook if you want to become a speech writer is to pursue formal education. You know what they say: knowledge is like a treasure chest of precious gems! While it’s unnecessary, diving into formal education can be a fantastic way to unlock valuable skills on your speechwriting journey.

Imagine joining courses or workshops specializing in communication, English, or public speaking – it’s like stepping into a world of learning adventures! These classes can give you a map to navigate the sea of words and become a true wordsmith.

Think about it – you’ll get to explore exciting topics, meet fellow aspiring speechwriters, and have experienced teachers guiding you every step of the way. It’s like having mentors who believe in your potential to shine as a speechwriting star.

So, don’t hesitate to open the door to learning and let your curiosity lead the way. Formal education is like a treasure map that can take you to new heights on your speechwriting expedition. Get ready to sail towards the horizons of knowledge and unleash your writing superpowers!

Another great way to become a speech writer is to gain experience as a writer. Picture this – you’re on an exciting quest to become a top-notch speechwriter. And guess what? Practical experience is like the secret key that unlocks the door to success!

Here’s the adventurous part: consider interning with a local politician, a charity organization, or even a public speaker. It’s like joining their team and becoming a wordsmith superhero!

But that’s not all! You can also volunteer to write speeches for school events or community gatherings. It’s like sharing your storytelling magic with the world and making a real impact!

As you venture on this journey of gaining experience, you’ll build a treasure trove of speechwriting gems for your portfolio. Each speech you craft is like a shiny jewel that showcases your skills and creativity.

Get ready to shine like a star in the sky as you gain exposure and take your speechwriting talent to new heights. You’ll be one step closer to becoming a speechwriter legend with every opportunity.

As you journey through the exciting world of speechwriting and gain more experience, it’s time to build your portfolio!

Fill your portfolio with your best writing pieces and your best speeches. You’ll want to include various speech types, like persuasive, informative, or commemorative. It’s like showing off your colorful array of skills!

Here’s the best part: your portfolio will reflect your capabilities to potential clients or employers. When they see your collection of captivating speeches, they’ll be amazed by your versatility and creativity.

So to become a speech writer and get jobs, you can also give affordable ghost writing services to others in need as a freelancer. Get ready to impress the world with your shining talents!

Becoming a speechwriter is a thrilling journey exciting, and rewarding journey that allows you to influence and inspire others through the power of words.

Remember to study great speeches, practice your writing skills, and tailor your speeches to your audience. Embrace your creativity, pursue learning opportunities, and gain practical experience to set yourself up for success.

With dedication, passion, and hard work, you can become a master speechwriter who crafts impactful and unforgettable speeches for generations. So go ahead, let your words take flight, and shape a better world through the art of speechwriting!

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Home / Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs / Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies Degree Program / Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies / How to Become a Speech Writer

How to Become a Speech Writer How to Become a Speech Writer How to Become a Speech Writer

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More Than Words: Speech Writer Job Description

Steps to become a speech writer, key speech writing tips, 4 types of speech writing, what is the typical speech writer salary, why we need speech writers.

A speech writer reading a speech on a computer.

Speeches provoke cultural change, memorialize human achievement, and shape monumental events. In the right hands, with the right voice, under the right circumstances, spoken words can inspire, motivate, persuade, or inform the world.

Before the words of a speech are spoken, they are written. Words delivered in a public setting can be powerful. However, to reach their full potential, the words must be considered, measured, and crafted to suit the message and the audience.

This is the mission of a speech writer: to help a speaker effectively deliver a message. Sometimes, the message resonates through history:

“Four score and seven years ago …”

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country …”

“I have a dream …”

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

These words commemorate significant moments in American history: the Civil War, generational upheaval in the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and the end of the Cold War. The words and the associated turning points forever are linked with the famous speakers — Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan.

However, only two of them actually wrote the words they spoke: Lincoln and King. Kennedy, Reagan, and countless other historical figures breathed life into speeches written by others.

Not every speech writer has the opportunity to write for a president or a legendary civil rights leader. A wedding toast, commencement address, keynote presentation at a conference — these speeches won’t necessarily change the course of history, but they’re important to the people delivering them.

Professional speech writers work in every industry to help people in all walks of life deliver clear, concise messages that resonate with an audience. It’s a career that requires a deft touch with words; a passion for digging into the facts; and a desire to help others inform, entertain, or persuade an audience.

Well-written speeches have the ability to inspire change and move people’s hearts.

A speech writer’s professional focus is communication. Depending on the size and scope of the organization, a speech writer might be responsible for multiple communication-related duties.

These duties might include the following:

  • Public relations
  • Media relations
  • Crisis management
  • Internal communications
  • Social media

No matter how broad the duties of a writer or communications professional, there are aspects of the job that translate across disciplines. It begins with a mastery of language and the written word.  

Writing and Editing

Strong writing and editing skills are a must for anyone who wishes to pursue a speech writing career. Fortunately, while there is an art to writing and editing, the craft can be taught and improved over time.

Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure count. To effectively deliver a message, a writer must understand the effect words have when delivered out loud in a particular sequence. In this regard, it’s as much about the writer’s “ear” as about the thought process.

While writing and editing a speech, the writer must ask whether the words will elicit the desired emotional response from the audience. Experienced writers have knowledge of the power of certain words and phrases to move listeners. Reading great speeches and other writings can help writers develop an ear for what works.

Researching Facts

Knowing how to write and edit well is only the beginning. A speech must be grounded in facts to reach its full potential.

Facts that support the message should be researched first. For example, Peter Robinson, one of Reagan’s speech writers, spent time in Berlin before he wrote Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech in 1987. During his  preliminary research , Robinson spoke with a U.S. diplomat in West Berlin, took a helicopter flight over the city, and conversed with German citizens.

Robinson devised the famous challenge — “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” — after noticing the bleak conditions on the East Berlin side of the wall and hearing the sentiment expressed by a German dinner companion.

The work Robinson put into the research led to one of the most memorable public statements by a U.S. president in the 20th century. By 1989, the people of Berlin were free to cross the once-formidable barrier.

Robinson’s work on the speech was an excellent example of how thorough research became the foundation for a speech that marked a historical turning point.

Conducting Interviews

In addition to learning as much as possible about the topic through research, a speech writer must know how a speaker talks and what message the speaker wishes to deliver. One way to learn this is to conduct an interview.

There are two types of interview questions: fact-finding and open-ended.

Fact-finding questions are intended to learn details about the speaker’s expertise in the topic. This can include education, work experience, or research projects.

Open-ended questions are intended to provide detail, color, and anecdotes that might provide the audience with emotional access to the speaker’s point of view. This might include information about how and why the speaker became interested in the topic, or it might be a relevant story about the topic drawn from the speaker’s life.

An interview with the speaker also gives the writer insight into the speaker’s speech patterns and personality. This kind of information enables the writer to capture the rhythm of the speaker’s voice.

Writing and Editing Resources

  • American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches
  • Scribbr: List of Credible Sources for Research

Back To Top

Many speech writers begin their careers either as communications specialists (public relations, journalism, academia) or as experts in a particular industry with a flair for writing. Rarely will someone step into the job and start writing for heads of state or CEOs.

As with any career, there’s a known trajectory to follow as regards educational requirements, work experience, and soft skills needed to succeed. The important thing for an aspiring speech writer to remember is to set career goals early and take the appropriate steps along the way to achieve those goals.

Educational Requirements for Speech Writers

Speech writers may benefit from a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or English, as well as a liberal studies degree with a concentration in writing or marketing. It’s important to study writing, editing, rhetoric, debate techniques, and other topics related to public speaking and speech writing.

In addition to honing the craft of writing, an aspiring speech writer might pursue a course of study related to a specific topic. This could entail earning a minor in a broad topic, such as history or political science. Another educational route might be in-depth study of a specialized topic, such as a technical field or law.

Recommended Work Experience for Speech Writers

Work experience is particularly important for an aspiring speech writer. A writer with a high level of expertise in a topic brings authority to the job.

Some of the finest speech writers in American history were lawyers: Ted Sorenson (JFK) was one. Others, such as Peggy Noonan (Reagan), were journalists or ghostwriters before they entered the inner circle of world leaders.

Professional speech writer Brent Kerrigan, writing an  essay on speech writing as a career  for the public relations firm Ragan, said that the best way to get started with speech writing work experience is to “find somebody who needs a speech written, and write it for them.”

Kerrigan went on to write that “becoming an expert in anything takes practice.” His advice is to seek out busy public officials and company leaders who regularly make speeches but lack the time to write them, and offer your services.

Nonwriting Skills to Cultivate

It’s not enough for an aspiring speech writer to perfect the craft of writing and to learn as much as possible about a relevant topic. As with all careers, finding the right job requires building a well-connected professional network.

According to the Labor Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook  entry for writers and authors , the soft skills writers should cultivate include adaptability, creativity, determination, critical thinking, social perceptiveness, and the ability to persuade others.

Key elements of writing a great speech include figuring out the speech’s primary point and understanding the audience.

Writing begins with a plan. Sometimes the plan is depicted by an outline. Sometimes it’s simply a set of notes on a piece of paper.

The beginning stages of writing a speech require a lot of thinking. It helps to have a solid foundation of knowledge about the topic and the speaker going into the process.

Here are a few tips for developing a speech that can resonate with an audience.

Determine the Message

Why is a speech necessary? What does the speaker want to say? What action is intended for audience members to take after they hear the speech?

Answering these questions in the early stages of speech writing will allow the writer to find clarity of purpose. Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech provides an excellent example of how a writer worked to develop a concise, compelling message.

According to Robinson, the speech was originally intended to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin. In 1987, the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was coming to a head, but the Berlin Wall remained a symbol of oppression.

Robinson, as well as Reagan’s other advisors, chose that moment to send a message of support for the people of East Germany. It was a seminal moment in the Reagan presidency and a powerful milestone in U.S.-Soviet relations.

Understand the Audience

An important factor in determining the message is understanding the makeup of the intended audience. In most cases, the audience for a speech will consist of the people present for the event. However, all speeches have multiple audiences: those present, those who will read the text only, those who will view some or all of the speech later on video, and all future generations.

Each element of the larger “audience” should be taken into consideration when a writer sits down to determine the tone, voice, and length of a speech. Audience makeup determines not only the words that are written but also the way a speaker is intended to deliver those words.

Will the message be couched in humor? Will the tone be completely serious? How big is the in-person audience? How knowledgeable are the audience members about the topic? Are the audience members sympathetic or adversarial toward the speaker?

All of these questions and more are important to answer when creating the framework and shaping the message of a speech.

Use Research to Support the Message

Research forms the core of the speech. It’s as simple as no research, no speech.

However, supporting the message with research isn’t merely a matter of throwing together a list of related facts. The information gathered during the research process must be organized so the message can be supported logically, clearly, and convincingly.

One way to effectively use research is to create a list of questions related to the topic and use examples pulled from the research to provide the answers. The questions should be prioritized based on urgency: What does the audience most want or need to hear?

The structure of the speech will depend, in part, on how the writer and speaker decide to present the facts learned through research. A well-researched fact presented at the right time can capture attention and provide an air of authority to the speaker.

Show Personality to Connect

Attorney and author Sarah Hurwitz was the primary speech writer for former first lady Michelle Obama. Prior to that, Hurwitz wrote speeches for former President Barack Obama when he was a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and other prominent politicians.

In an  interview about speech writing with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania , Hurwitz described how she and Michelle Obama used details to show — rather than tell — a relevant anecdote.

“I think details are so incredibly important,” Hurwitz told the Wharton interviewer. “When she tells the story of her father who had multiple sclerosis and worked at the city water plant, she could say, ‘You know, my dad had MS. He worked at the plant. He worked really hard. He sacrificed a lot.’ That’s all just sort of telling. I don’t really see him. But instead what she said in some of her speeches was, ‘You know, as my dad got sicker it got harder for him to get dressed in the morning. He would wake up an hour early so that he could slowly button his shirt. He would drag himself across the room with two canes to give my mom a kiss.’”

Through the use of colorful, vivid details about an experience, Hurwitz helped her subject reveal her personality as a way of connecting to the audience.

Speech Writing Resources

  • Public Affairs Council: Speechwriting 101 — Writing an Effective Speech
  • Medium: “Orations Worth Ovations — The Olive Branch as a Weapon”
  • ThoughtCo: “How to Organize Research Notes”

Speeches can be categorized by delivery style, writing style, and purpose. It’s important to know ahead of time what type of speech will be written, because the type has a bearing on word choice, tone, and many other elements of the speech.

To determine the type of speech to write, first answer questions such as:

  • Is the speech intended to elicit an emotion or trigger a specific action?
  • Does the speaker want to stick to the script or talk off the cuff?
  • Will the speaker be required to defend an opinion?
  • Will the speaker be alone on the podium, or will others talk?

Answers to these and other relevant questions will provide guidance about what type of speech to write. The more details writers know about the context of the event, the more likely they’ll craft an effective speech.

Here are four common types of speeches with examples of when each should be used.

Informative Speech Writing

An informative speech is used to explain a concept, describe an object or objects, or provide context for an event or a social movement. For example, a CEO might want to deliver an informative speech at a shareholder event or share details about an annual report with employees.

An effective informative speech presents facts in a concise, easily understood format. One potential challenge for the writer of an informative speech is to capture and maintain the interest of the audience. A dry recitation of facts seldom makes for a memorable or an effective speech.

Persuasive Speech Writing

A persuasive speech is used in an effort to convince an audience to support an idea or take a specific action. Types of persuasive speeches include opening or closing arguments in a criminal trial, an opening or a closing statement in a debate, and a sales presentation.

Persuasive speeches use rhetorical devices to create a sense of intimacy with the audience. The words used, the tone of voice, the volume, the physical gestures, eye contact — all of these devices can create a connection and engender trust with the audience.

The greater the connection, the more likely the audience is to be persuaded by the arguments being presented.

Motivational Speech Writing

A motivational speech is used to convince an audience to take specific action, particularly action that’s designed to engineer change of some sort. This type of speech is also used to elicit an emotional response to a particular cause or purpose.

Motivational speakers know how to connect with an audience on an emotional level. They help audience members understand an obstacle, recognize how that obstacle affects them, and determine ways to overcome that obstacle.

Motivational speeches are good for commencement addresses, recruiting drives, and charity drives. Coaches and managers also make motivational speeches before games and matches to help players focus their emotions toward success on the field of play.

Demonstrative Speech Writing

A demonstrative speech is used to show the audience how to do, build, or create something. A demonstrative speaker is typically an expert in the field who’s sharing knowledge or demonstrating how audience members can attain knowledge for themselves.

A demonstrative speech often requires visual aids, such as a slideshow or stage props. The speaker typically provides context for the demonstration with an introduction, and then gives the presentation. Sometimes, the speaker will open the floor to audience questions.

A demonstrative speech might be used by a salesperson to show how a product is used, by an inventor to show how a new device was created, or by a professional instructor to show how to use a piece of equipment.

Additional Tips for Writing Different Speech Types

  • Your Dictionary: 5 Steps for Writing an Informative Speech
  • Lifehack: “Ultimate Guide to Persuasive Speech (Hook and Influence an Audience) ”
  • Houston Chronicle : “The Key Components of a Motivational Speech”
  • Purdue University: Tips for Effective Demonstrations

Salaries for speech writers vary widely in the U.S. Wages can be determined by factors such as the prominence of the client or employer, professional experience, and the complexity or relevance of the speech topics.

According to a 2011 report in  The   Washington Post , Obama speech writer Jon Favreau earned $172,200 annually — the same salary as some of the former president’s top advisors. An expert freelance speech writer who crafts minor speeches for businesses or personal use might charge by the word, hour, page, or speech.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writers and authors ― speech writers among them ― were paid a median salary of $63,200 in 2019. Salaries and job opportunities are affected by factors such as geography, job market, and economic conditions.

BLS employment projections for writers and authors show that the number of positions nationwide is expected to hold steady at about 123,000 from 2018 to 2028. In a related field, media and communication workers, BLS projections indicate a 4% increase in positions from 2018 to 2028.

The history of the U.S. can be told through its famous speeches.

George Washington’s farewell address created the precedent of the peaceful transition of power in the federal government. Frederick Douglass gave voice to the enslaved and momentum to the abolitionist movement with his 1852 speech “ What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? ”

The Lincoln-Douglas debates in the 1850s led to Lincoln’s victory in the 1860 presidential election, an event that helped trigger the Civil War. Then President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered motivation and encouragement with his inaugural address, with its famous line “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

MLK delivered perhaps the most influential speech in American history on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, giving impetus to the civil rights movement.

We remember the speakers, and rightfully so. They were front and center, delivering the words that shifted history.

However, before the words could be spoken, before history could be made, someone had to write the speeches. Someone had to, as Hurwitz advises, “say something true.”

That’s the role of the speech writer: to distill the facts and provide the words that allow the speaker to serve as an effective, persuasive, entertaining messenger.

“Whether you were giving a speech to 1,000 people or talking to your board or leading an informal meeting, it’s really important to say something that is clearly and glaringly true,” Hurwitz said. “I think that it makes people trust you. It makes them respect you. It shows your authenticity. I think it makes you credible and it’s a really good way to start. I’d say it’s also a good way to continue and end a speech.”

Houston Chronicle , “Speechwriter Job Description”

Houston Chronicle , “The Key Components of a Motivational Speech”

National Archives, “Tear Down This Wall”

PayScale, Average Speech Writer Salary

PRSA, “Your Speech Writer: An Operator’s Manual”

Public Affairs Council, Speechwriting 101: Writing an Effective Speech

Public Affairs Council, “Speechwriting: Getting to a Perfect Fit”

Ragan, “Want to Become a Speechwriter? Step 1: Write Speeches”

Textbroker, Speechwriting

The Manual, “10 Famous Speeches That Stand the Test of Time”

Time , “‘He Had Transformed’: What It Was Like to Watch Martin Luther King Jr. Give the ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech”

Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life.

What does a speechwriter do?

Would you make a good speechwriter? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

What is a Speechwriter?

A speechwriter specializes in creating speeches for clients, usually for politicians, executives, or public figures. The primary responsibility of a speechwriter is to craft a compelling message that effectively communicates the speaker's ideas, values, and objectives to the audience. This requires not only exceptional writing skills but also the ability to understand the speaker's personality, voice, and audience's expectations, as well as the context of the speech.

Speechwriters typically work closely with their clients to understand their goals, message, and audience. They research the topic, gather data and information, and write a draft speech, which they then edit and refine until it meets the speaker's needs. This involves creating an outline, selecting the right words, tone, and structure, and ensuring the speech is well-organized and coherent. In some cases, speechwriters may also assist in rehearsing and delivering the speech, providing feedback and guidance to the speaker to ensure they deliver the message effectively.

What does a Speechwriter do?

A businessman sitting with a speechwriter, going over the written speech.

Speechwriters are valuable assets in any organization or public figure's communication team because they possess the expertise to craft well-written, impactful speeches that can inspire, persuade, and inform the audience. They can help ensure that the message is communicated clearly and effectively, and that the tone and style of the speech match the speaker's personality and objectives.

Speechwriters also have the ability to research and understand the audience, tailoring the content to their specific needs and interests. In addition, they can help their clients save time and reduce stress by taking on the task of writing and editing the speech, allowing the speaker to focus on delivering it with confidence and passion.

Duties and Responsibilities The following are some of the key duties and responsibilities of a speech writer:

  • Research: Before writing a speech, a speech writer must conduct research on the topic to ensure that they have a deep understanding of the subject matter. This may involve reading relevant articles, books, and reports, as well as conducting interviews with subject matter experts. The speech writer must also research the audience to ensure that the speech is tailored to their interests, knowledge level, and cultural background. In addition, they may research the occasion or event to ensure that the speech is appropriate for the setting and tone.
  • Writing: After completing the research, the speech writer must craft the speech in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. They must use language and tone that is appropriate for the audience and occasion, and convey the message in a compelling way. The speech writer must also consider the length of the speech, as well as any visual aids or other materials that may be used during the presentation.
  • Editing: Once the speech is written, the speech writer must proofread and edit it for clarity, grammar, and tone. They may also seek feedback from others, such as the speaker or a trusted colleague, to ensure that the speech is effective and persuasive.
  • Collaboration: Throughout the process, the speech writer must work closely with the speaker or client to ensure that the speech aligns with their vision and goals. This may involve multiple rounds of revisions and feedback, as well as ongoing communication to ensure that the speech is on track.
  • Delivery: In some cases, the speech writer may be responsible for coaching the speaker on delivery techniques. This may include providing guidance on pacing, inflection, and body language to ensure that the speech is delivered in a confident and engaging manner.
  • Feedback: Finally, the speech writer may be asked to solicit feedback from the audience or client to help improve future speeches. This may involve collecting surveys, conducting interviews, or analyzing social media and other feedback channels to identify areas for improvement.

Types of Speechwriters Here are some common types of speechwriters and what they do:

  • Political Speechwriters: These speechwriters work for political leaders such as presidents, governors, and senators. They are responsible for creating speeches that communicate the leader's vision, policy proposals, and political platform.
  • Corporate Speechwriters: These speechwriters work for companies and executives, crafting speeches that address stakeholders, shareholders, and employees. They may write speeches for product launches, shareholder meetings, and corporate events.
  • Non-profit Speechwriters: These speechwriters work for non-profit organizations and charities, creating speeches that communicate the organization's mission, goals, and accomplishments.
  • Freelance Speechwriters: These speechwriters work independently and are hired by individuals, businesses, and organizations to write speeches for specific events or occasions.

What is the workplace of a Speechwriter like?

The workplace of a speechwriter can vary depending on the organization they work for and the nature of their job. Generally, a speechwriter is responsible for crafting speeches and presentations that will be delivered by high-profile individuals, such as politicians, CEOs, or public figures. This can be a challenging and high-pressure role, as the quality of their work can have a significant impact on the reputation and success of the speaker.

In some cases, speechwriters may work directly for the individual they are writing for, such as a politician or CEO. In these situations, the workplace of the speechwriter may be within the same office or building as their client. They may attend meetings, events, and speeches with their client to gather information and ensure their writing is aligned with the speaker's messaging and tone.

In other cases, speechwriters may work for an agency or consulting firm, where they may have multiple clients across various industries. These speechwriters may work remotely or in a traditional office setting, collaborating with colleagues and clients through email, phone calls, and video conferencing. They may have a more flexible schedule than those working directly for an individual, but may also have to balance multiple projects and deadlines.

Regardless of the specific workplace, speechwriters typically work closely with their clients to understand their goals, audience, and messaging. They conduct research and gather information to inform their writing, and may collaborate with other team members, such as researchers or communication specialists, to ensure their work is accurate and effective. Depending on the organization, speechwriters may also be involved in other communication and marketing initiatives, such as developing social media content or creating press releases.

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How to Become a Speech Writer

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Step 1: Understand the job description and responsibilities of a Speech Writer

What does a speech writer do.

A Speech Writer researches, drafts, writes, and edits a variety of speeches, talking points, press statements, web content, news releases, and other materials for executives. Translates the ideas, objectives, position, and management philosophy into messaging that relates to the topic, speaker, and intended audience. Being a Speech Writer ensures consistent messaging strategy and brand identity are included in every piece. Provides subject matter expertise in delivering presentations and speeches Requires a bachelor's degree. Additionally, Speech Writer typically reports to a manager. The Speech Writer work is generally independent and collaborative in nature. Contributes to moderately complex aspects of a project. To be a Speech Writer typically requires 4-7 years of related experience.

Speech writers draft strategic communications designed for delivery by executives, politicians, community leaders, and others.

The speeches must be clear, concise, and well researched, while also matching the tone and style of the person presenting the speech.

Writing speeches is a lucrative and interesting genre for freelance writers and career writers.

Freelance writers make themselves and their career infinitely more stable by adding skills and services to their offerings, and this could be an area that you explore.

The audience and potential clients who need speeches aren't limited to the political arena.

Step 2: Learn best tips to become a Speech Writer

Best tips for those who want to become a speech writer.

Here are some tips to become a Speech Writer.

Keep your remarks brief and to the point.

Do not attempt humor unless you are, a) a noted humorist, b) an experienced toastmaster or, c) well-acquainted with the humor that will make your audience laugh and not wince.

Keep your sentences short, your words shorter.

Preparation and rehearsing is key.

Your Delivery Matters, Timing IS everything.

Step 3: View best colleges and universities for Speech Writer

Best colleges and universities for speech writer.

  • Butler University
  • Carroll College
  • Cooper Union
  • High Point University
  • Princeton University
  • Providence College

Step 4: Think about whether is it worth to be a Speech Writer

Is being a speech writer worth it.

Writing a wedding speech is a high-pressure task for anyone - no matter how witty and eloquent they are - but thankfully one wise wordsmith is here to help ensure that anything said on 'the big' day is nothing less than perfect.

With a Masters in Journalism and decades' worth of experience in the world of communications and media, Den originally began writing wedding speeches after a 'casual request' from a marketing client who needed help solidifying his rambling thoughts ahead of his brother's wedding.

'In addition to many years of speech writing and performance coaching experience, my real value to clients is perspective.

Work directly with the Under Secretary on formulating themes for speeches and other public remarks, draft the substance of such speeches and remarks, and revise them as directed.

Speeches claiming victory are never as interesting as those conceding defeat, because people are never more interesting than when they lose.

Step 5: Prepare relevant skills for being a Speech Writer

What skills do you need to be a speech writer.

There are skills required to succeed in every role, and this one is no different.  Strategic knowledge of the follow skills will be required: Internal Communications.  Your ability to stand out from the competition depends on these skills, as well as your resume, interview, and other factors.

Sometimes you'll be able to choose or shape the beliefs inherent in your speech, and sometimes you won't.

Like other freelance writers, speechwriters need to be able to write about a wide variety of subjects.

Government agencies are a good place to start, but there are also many non-profit organizations and trade associations that need politically savvy writers -- and have executives who frequently give public speeches.

You may go through a few jobs or need more experience before you begin writing political speeches, but keep the early connections you made in campaign work, even if it means volunteering a few hours a month.

Step 6: View average salary for Speech Writer

How much does a speech writer make.

The average salary range for a Speech Writer is from $112,785 to $152,198. The salary will change depending on your location, job level, experience, education, and skills.

Average salary for Speech Writer jobs

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Step 7: Find relevant Speech Writer jobs, and apply.

Looking for speech writer jobs.

Here are some Speech Writer jobs in the United States.

Step 8: Explore Career Path of Speech Writer

Learn How to Become a Speech Writer

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Writing speeches is a lucrative and interesting genre for freelance writers and career writers. The question of how to become a speechwriter is one I get quite often, as speechwriting — writing speeches for others to deliver — is a potentially lucrative area for freelance writers. Freelance writers make themselves and their career infinitely more stable by adding skills and services to their offerings, and this could be an area that you explore.

The audience and potential clients who need speeches aren't limited to the political arena. Writing speeches also means you may work with executives, philanthropists, athletes, or PR and management agencies. There is a political element to this, too, and a writer could potentially specialize only in political speech writing if desired.

How Much You Can Make as a Speechwriter

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median for a speechwriter is about $75,000. Keep in mind that this is likely for a full time, 8am to 5pm+ staff position. Freelance speechwriters will need to consider how much time and effort they want to invest in this position, and weigh the option of taking a full-time position.

What a Speechwriter Writes

There are many different types of speeches. We tend to think of speeches that are made to convince the audience of something- such as those that surround our elections. Consider other places you've seen speeches: conferences, commencements. Sometimes speeches are meant to thank important donors or to trace histories or stories of buildings, organizations or groups.

How to Become a Speech Writer

Following are some tips on getting started as a speechwriter. In my research, I've encountered strong suggestion that the writer earns at least a bachelor's degree specifically in English, communications, political science, public policy or similar studies. After that:

  • Start small, even free, offering speeches to community groups or on a volunteer basis.
  • Think about joining a Toastmasters or other speech group/club.
  • Volunteer to work in other capacities on campaigns and in elections. This gets you introduced to the "right" people for your future.
  • Seek out local speechwriters for mentoring. Ask after the arc of their career. How did they "get here"?
  • Read books on speechwriting.
  • Break down famous speeches on your own, without leaning on a book to tell you the "why" and "how" of the speech.
  • Speechwriters often come from other career fields like journalism and writing, consider those career paths, too.
  • If you want to be a political speechwriter, consider writing other political material, such as op-eds, press releases, and campaign brochures. Start building up that writing portfolio.

What Makes a Successful Speechwriter

  • Keep your own unique sound and voice (especially if you're already an accomplished writer.
  • Have an opinion, but be able to give equal weight to different opinions.
  • Sometimes you'll be able to choose or shape the beliefs inherent in your speech, and sometimes you won't. Be ready to write things that you don't quite believe or that aren't quite "true."
  • If you're still in high school or college, consider joining debate teams or political clubs.
  • Speechwriters must be especially open to critiques of their work, as it usually goes through several people before its final delivery.
  • Attend the speeches that you write, if possible. Audience reaction to your work is immediately observable and multiplied by volume. That's some valuable writing critique at your fingertips!
  • Think like a singer and take care of your voice.
  • Be ready to get along with different kinds of people- people who are political, opinionated, famous.
  • Keep your vocabulary well-rounded and fresh by reading and listening to others' speeches.
  • Consider co-opting your opponents' language (which may be divergent from yours) but spinning to your own uses.
  • Like other freelance writers, speechwriters need to be able to write about a wide variety of subjects. This means you'll need serious research skills (unless you've got a vast store of knowledge in your noggin).
  • As with any writing, you'll need to successfully target your audience.
  • Consider the first parts of your speech to be your headline- you'll need to capture the audience immediately from the start. There's no "skipping ahead" when it comes to listening to a speech.
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How to Become a Speech Writer

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Speech Writers use their innate capability and love of language in order to create speeches for a variety of clients and professionals.

Speech writing professionals help their clients take ideas and then create professionally and carefully structured speeches to read to a particular audience.

Speech Writers are a part of a specific niche and have perfected their skills to write for a variety of clients and audiences.

Their work can be considered a part of public relations, communications or writing and editing.

These types of workers can work in a wide range of fields and may write speeches for different purposes.

Speech writing professionals can work for a large company; they may also write speeches for public figures, such as political candidates or government offices.

Students thinking about joining this field need a strong skill set that focuses on communication in order to become a Speech Writer .

Their work goes beyond writing.

They must spend time understanding the person who is giving the speech, the type of audience it is being dictated to and the context or situation it will be given in.

A Speech Writer working for a politician would determine their client’s personality, what situation or type of environment it will be given in and whether the audience is the general public or a room full of potential donors.

Table of Contents

Education Requirements to Become a Speech Writer

Speech writer job description, national average salary, average salary by state.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

What does a speech writer do?

How much do speech writers make, how much does it cost to become a speech writer, what is the demand for speech writers, how long does it take to become a speech writer.

In order to become a Speech Writer, candidates must continue their education and seek an advanced degree.

The most useful skill a candidate who wants to become a Speech Writer is whether they can take an idea and present it in a way that will grasp the audience’s attention.

Some helpful majors that can help a student become a Speech Writer include Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, Marketing or English.

Creating a grammatically correct speech is only one of the necessary skills a Speech Writer needs.

They must also learn how to draw the audience’s attention and maintain it through the length of the presentation.

Speech Writers must understand the audience they are writing the speech for and the tone of voice the presenter can recite it with.

They must be able to take a complicated idea and write it in a way that is understandable for the audience.

Students who major in the previously mentioned degrees will be able to learn how to strengthen these types of skills.

In addition, students who want to pursue this career can choose to add a second major to their educational background.

For example, a student can major in English and Journalism or Communications and Public Relations in order to learn techniques from both areas of study.

Students wanting to go into this field have a lot of options to strengthen their command of the English language.

A Speech Writer’s goal is to create an oral presentation that is developed around a specific idea or message.

This idea will then be taken and presented in a way that the audience will understand, relate to and stay interested in.

Speech writers will keep the tone of voice, grammar, the message or idea and the audience in mind while writing a speech.

This professional must keep their audience and presenter in mind and may write a speech that is geared to move, inspire and cause the audience to think.

Speech Writers must take the audience in mind in order to create a speech that is relatable and understandable.

A Speech Writer creating a dialogue for the general public will curb the sophisticated and stylish language.

These professionals will focus on a message and write it in an approachable manner.

Speech writers will take an audience into consideration and use what they know about the listeners and create a discourse that would keep their interest.

Speech writers may do all this work under pressure and may required to complete speeches with limited time.

Speech Writer Salary and Career Path

A Speech Writer’s salary will depend on the industry and type of client they work for.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for Speech Writers in the public relations industry is approximately $51,340 annually if they work for a local government.

For those in the business or political sector the median wage is approximately $55,460 per year.

For speech writers who work full time as salaried writing employees, the median wage is approximately $53,070 per year.


The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $111,110.

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $9,250.

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $53.42.

Frequently Asked Questions

A speech writer is someone who prepares talking points and writes and edits speeches for different clients.

Those can be corporate executives, public relations firms, political officials, and larger organizations.

Professionals can also be responsible for the texts presented in radio or television commercials.

The typical duties of a speech writer usually include conducting research; organizing the data; working directly with the speaker; finalizing drafts; providing advice and feedback on speech presentation, and so on.

Some decide to do speechwriting full-time, while others prefer to do it as a part-time job.

A speech writer can also work in the government, education, and non-profit sectors.

On average, a speech writer can make a little less than $82.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $58.000 and 138.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on.

Speech writers that work in the District of Columbia, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level speech writer can earn around $15.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $53.00 and more per hour.

In the majority of cases, an aspiring speech writer would have to go for a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications or a related field.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

To improve job prospects, you can go for a master’s degree in public relations or speech communication; that will cost you $6.000-$70.000 per year.

Between 2018 and 2028, the speech writer job market is expected to grow by 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is a little slower than the average for all occupations in the United States.

The speech writers that specialize in producing speeches for Internet broadcasting platforms will have better job prospects; more positions will be open in the industry as public figures (and businesses) will continue to focus on improving their reputations.

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree.

You can consider seeking an internship during your last years in university to get that on-job experience as the majority of employers prefer the candidates to have at least a few years of experience.

The requirements will vary by position; however, the majority of larger clients prefer the speech writer to have at least 4 years of relevant experience.

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How to Become a Political Speech Writer

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Many politicians don't write their own speeches, preferring to delegate the task to a dedicated speech writer. Big politicians might even have teams of them. Speech writing in politics is a difficult art, and it's not for everyone. A good speech has to optimistically appeal to all the right constituencies, avoid unintended controversy, yet be provocative and eloquent enough to make the news, all while catering to a middle school reading level. Since the job is also very competitive, it isn't enough simply to be good at it. You also need to make friends and work your way in.

Political Speech Writer Jobs: Education

Zippia reports that these days, a bachelor's degree is all but mandatory to get into the world of speech writing. Having a degree suggests that you're serious, disciplined and capable of following through on a commitment. The type of degree doesn't really matter, though some politicians and their staffs prefer a related degree, like political science or English. Don't quit college while you're there, either. Your speech-writing job will eventually end, but the degree will stay with you for a lifetime.

Speech Writers and Political Involvement

Political speech writing is a niche industry. According to Indeed , in order to make it as a speech writer, you have to get politically involved. This means doing a whole lot of volunteering at first. Register with your local political party chapter and help out. Join political campaigns and volunteer with them too. Assist with elections. Get involved in the later stages of elections, such as caucuses and conventions. Overall, aim to attach yourself to a specific politician in hopes of eventually getting a paid staff job.

Speech Writers and Social Involvement

A complement to volunteering at political activities is to join a political nonprofit or activist organization that works on issues you care about. These groups have frequent contact with the politicians who represent them as well as with ideologically friendly politicians, which can provide a means for you to work with those politicians' staffs. Many people eventually parlay that personal familiarity into a paid political job.

Political Speech Writers and Audience

Politicians are much likelier to hire a writer with an extensive body of political writing publicly available to scrutinize, such as on a blog or website. Long before you try to get a political speech-writing job, hone your writing and work on building an audience. If you can show that your writing resonates with people, that makes you much likelier to eventually get a speech-writing job.

  • Indeed: How To Become a Political Speech Writer
  • Zippia: Speech Writer Education Requirements and Degrees

Josh Fredman is a freelance pen-for-hire and Web developer living in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington, studying engineering, and worked in logistics, health care and newspapers before deciding to go to work for himself.

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What is a speech writer and how to become one

A speech writer is a professional who creates written materials for political leaders, executives, and other high-ranking individuals to use in public speeches, media appearances, and other public communications. They research and analyze various topics, gather information from experts and senior leaders, and then craft messages that accurately convey the speaker's intended message. They also handle tasks like managing communications strategies, revising collateral materials, and developing talking points.

How long does it takes to become a speech writer?

It typically takes 5-6 years to become a speech writer:

  • Years 1-4: Obtain a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as English, Communications, Journalism, or Political Science. During this time, learn about writing, research, and critical thinking skills.
  • Year 5-6: Gain the necessary work experience. This can include internships or entry-level positions where you write speeches for clients, politicians, or executives. Learn about public speaking, persuasion techniques, and tailoring messages to specific audiences.
  • Salary $61,897
  • Growth Rate 8%
  • Jobs Number 38,009
  • Most Common Skill Executive Communications
  • Most Common Degree Bachelor's degree
  • Best State Washington

Speech Writer career paths

Speech writers often advance their careers by taking on more responsibilities in communications and marketing. They can become communications directors, marketing directors, or even directors of communications and marketing. Some speech writers also move into public relations roles, such as director of public affairs or media relations director. In some cases, they may also take on leadership roles as directors or account directors, or transition into related fields like creative direction or strategic planning.

Key steps to become a speech writer

Explore speech writer education requirements.

The educational requirements for a speech writer are typically a bachelor's degree, with some having master's degrees. According to Dr. Claudia R. Fernández , Clinical Assistant Professor of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Basic Language Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago, "If your major is Spanish or any other language, linguistics or literature, and you want to continue in the field and get a relatively good job in education or in the private industry, most likely, you will need to study a Master's or a Ph.D." This suggests that while a bachelor's degree is often sufficient, a higher degree can open up more opportunities in the field.

Most common speech writer degrees



Start to develop specific speech writer skills

Speech writers need a range of skills, including the ability to interview subject matter experts, verify information, and manage the crafting of speeches and remarks. They must also be able to research and write executive-level communications, congressional testimony, and major public remarks. Additionally, they need to develop advance briefing systems, conduct data-driven research, and proofread presentation materials. As Dr. Heidi Laudien Ph.D., Associate Professor at Manhattan College, notes, "It is critical for students to be confident in their academic foundation. An English related field will undoubtedly require strong critical thinking and writing skills."

Complete relevant speech writer training and internships

Research speech writer duties and responsibilities.

Speech writers are responsible for developing and preparing speeches for various purposes, such as public events, media appearances, and congressional testimony. They conduct research to gather information, interview subject matter experts, and verify facts to create engaging and informative content. They also prepare remarks, press releases, and other written materials for senior executives. Speech writers are skilled at condensing complex ideas into clear and concise language, and they often work closely with their clients to ensure that the messaging aligns with their goals and objectives. They must be able to write for different audiences and in different styles, and they need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently.

  • Maintain guest blogging strategy and policies to achieve a consistently diverse authorship and to grow readership.
  • Coordinate logistics management for signal elements, including securing training sites, movement of personnel, communications, and equipment.
  • Work closely with the senator and key staff members to develop editorial content for constituent and stakeholder communications.
  • Research and write executive level speeches, PowerPoint presentations and articles for global venues.

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Prepare your speech writer resume.

When your background is strong enough, you can start writing your speech writer resume.

You can use Zippia's AI resume builder to make the resume writing process easier while also making sure that you include key information that hiring managers expect to see on a speech writer resume. You'll find resume tips and examples of skills, responsibilities, and summaries, all provided by Zippi, your career sidekick.

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Speech Writer Resume

Apply for speech writer jobs

Now it's time to start searching for a speech writer job. Consider the tips below for a successful job search:

  • Browse job boards for relevant postings
  • Consult your professional network
  • Reach out to companies you're interested in working for directly
  • Watch out for job scams


Are you a Speech Writer?

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Average speech writer salary

The average Speech Writer salary in the United States is $61,897 per year or $30 per hour. Speech writer salaries range between $43,000 and $87,000 per year.

What Am I Worth?

How do speech writers rate their job?

Speech writer reviews.


Could be paid more. Slow to get started very competitive.

Updated April 25, 2024

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The Zippia Research Team has spent countless hours reviewing resumes, job postings, and government data to determine what goes into getting a job in each phase of life. Professional writers and data scientists comprise the Zippia Research Team.

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How Do You Become a Speech Writer?

Find your perfect school.

Few authors have the chance to be as influential as a professional speech writer. By combining research, memorable anecdotes and the proper turn of phrase, you can impact the opinions of millions of people. Of course, not everyone who writes speeches ends up working for a high-level politician; you can also pursue this career in the business sector. With the right college degree and set of experience, you can find a full-time job that combines your love of writing and research. But how to become a speech writer?

Can I Write Speeches If I Don’t Like Politics?

When you think about a career as a speech writer, you might think of glamorous, high-energy roles shaping the future of the country. However, the reality of political speech writing is not as exciting as you may think. If you aren’t passionately committed to politics, you may not enjoy writing speeches in a political environment. You should still consider a career in speech writing. Many non-political organizations need your services. Think about conventions, professional development meetings and award ceremonies. They all require professionally written speeches for their keynote speakers. You can find a job working directly for an organization or a leading public figure and focus on the subjects you find most important.

What College Degree Do I Need as a Speech Writer?

Although you don’t need a specific bachelor’s degree to find a job writing speeches, some fields will be more helpful than others. Any course of study that emphasizes research and writing skills will give you a good foundation. This means English, journalism, communications and rhetoric programs are a good starting point. If you know what type of speech writing you’d like to do, studying related topics will be useful. Writing business speeches will be easier with a bachelor’s degree in business, and political speeches require a good understanding of history, political science and philosophy. Overall, some combination of building an area of expertise and learning how to write effectively would be ideal. This means you should consider earning dual bachelor’s degrees or pursuing a minor to round out your education. A particularly powerful combination for example, is to earn an undergraduate English degree , and follow it up with a law degree.

Featured Programs

You don’t need a master’s degree to find a job writing speeches, but it can help your job prospects and your ability to craft prose. This is especially true if you’re considering a career switch into professional speech writing and you want to improve your writing abilities. Rounding out your educational background with a master’s degree in communications or English can be a smart move for your long-term prospects. Many of these programs offer part-time options, night classes or online coursework so you can keep working while advancing your career.

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How Do I Gain Experience Writing Speeches?

The best way to build up your resume and portfolio is to get started writing speeches. They won’t be perfect right away, but they will be a strong learning opportunity. Look for student organizations in your college that will give you a platform for speeches; political clubs, business-oriented groups and student government bodies are a good starting point. You can also get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters International or civic involvement group.

Choose a college major that will give you the right background for crafting speeches and look for opportunities to practice in low-risk environments. Combining formal education and real-life experience is the best way to become a speech writer.

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What's it really like being a government speechwriter?

By James Doughty

18 Feb 2017

Words don’t come easily to everyone, but speechwriters have a head start. Department for Work and Pensions wordsmith James Doughty shares some trade secrets

Speechwriting is a job quite unlike any other in the civil service. It’s a job of contradictions. You work alone and with everyone, you’re a specialist but also a generalist, you’re creative and constrained, you’re in the thick of it and standing back.

It’s a straight-talking job title. Yet, the lid on the speechwriter’s world is very rarely lifted. For speechwriters, like spies, anonymity is the name of the game. Spies work in the shadows. Speechwriters, more specifically, work in the shadow of their master. Their words are often in the spotlight, but they are not. 

Here are five insights into the world of a speechwriter and the speechwriting profession and how they add value to organisations and the wider civil service.

Seven things every government press officer knows are true Special advice: What's it really like being a spad? What's it really like being cabinet secretary? Six men who've done the job spill the beans

What is speechwriting anyway? When many people think speechwriter, they think Sam Seaborn from The West Wing. The reality is somewhat different. Think less fast-paced corridor walking and talking, more painstaking research and midnight-oil-burning writing and rewriting.

In essence, a government speechwriter helps ministers communicate their vision, policies and objectives. In a world of short-burst social media, delivering a single speech from a lectern to a room full of real people is still the vehicle of choice to do this. A speech affords the space and time to develop his or her ideas, to take the audience on a journey, to tell a story – something you simply can’t do in 140 characters.

What goes into writing a speech? It often starts with an initial meeting with the minister to get a broad understanding of the main points they want to make. Then, it’s about having detailed conversations with policy teams – often multiple teams, analysts, political special advisers and press officers. During this process, the speechwriter is the conduit through which the ideas flow. They are the lightning rod, capturing every thought, every angle and every idea offered up. It is through the speechwriter that those ideas are then distilled, ordered, reordered, refined and woven into a narrative that makes sense and fits together. 

To do that, a speechwriter needs to be able to convey complex information simply and compellingly. They need to bring it all together into a coherent whole that, like a piece of music, ebbs and flows to hold interest and create contrasts – quiet bits and loud bits, long flowing passages and short staccato points, poetry and policy prose. After the extensive collaboration, this is the part where the speechwriter needs quiet solitude, which can be in short supply in a government department. I hear one department has plans for a “speech bubble” – a pod dedicated for speechwriters.

How do you keep hold of the pen and your nerve? For any one speech, there will have been an army of people involved in some way, from fact-checking to policy advice to analytical input, No. 10 steers and engaging those who have a powerful story to tell that will bring a speech alive. The speechwriter has to manage all of these different actors and ensure they are all happy and the speech beats with a single pulse and purpose.

 "A speechwriter can often find themselves at the centre of a kind of frenzied scrum"

In doing this, a speechwriter can often find themselves at the centre of a kind of frenzied scrum, particularly as the date of the speech approaches. This can, ironically, be one of the loneliest, most difficult and skilful parts of being a speechwriter – keeping a tight hold of the pen whilst surrounded by persuasive and often quite senior officials making their case for a line to be included – or more often than not – excluded.

It’s an interesting place to be and a test of nerve. I think it’s always important to remember whose speech it is: it’s the boss’s speech – the person who actually has to stand up and deliver it, whose mouth the words will come out of and the person whose name and reputation hangs on them. They are always the best speechwriter, we just play a supporting role. 

Because they are the boss, it can feel like a brutal and bruising profession at times. You need to be prepared for your carefully crafted lines to be crossed out or rewritten. That’s a healthy part of the process, if a little hair-depleting. A speechwriter colleague of mine had all but two words taken out of an initial draft of a speech. The two surviving words came at the end: “Thank you”. 

Some are based within the press office, some work from home, many work within the ministerial private office – from where you actually get much better access to ministers. Some are brought in because they have a history of working with a minister. Others have worked in the same department for successive ministers. Some are career civil servants who occupy the role for a period of time before moving on. Some have come from outside the civil service, mainly journalism. Whatever their background, many become career speechwriters, choosing to specialise in speechwriting as a vocation.

The numbers between departments also vary. Some have one, others have whole teams. Some double up the speechwriting role with being a private secretary to a minister. Others have experimented with relatively new approaches that merge functions together. For example, in the Department for Work and Pensions, alongside my speechwriting duties, I also head up a team of communication officers who provide dedicated support to ministers on briefing and communications.

Increasingly, speechwriters are diversifying and becoming generalist copywriters too, alongside writing speeches. They are turning their hand to writing and editing key departmental products that require strong, compelling prose, such as green papers or annual reports. In the past, I have known of departments commissioning external copywriters to do this. Departments are increasingly looking in-house to the existing talent of their speechwriters.

I like the sound of this. How do I become a speechwriter? No formal qualifications are required. A flair for writing, an interest in politics and public affairs are important, as is emotional intelligence and the ability to completely absorb the language and tone of another person. I have acted in the past, so being able to become someone else is a real advantage! Resilience and a thick skin are also needed to withstand the never-ending deadlines and pressure that are brought to bear on a speechwriter.

In terms of training, there are some excellent short courses out there for aspiring speechwriters. One of the best is a course run out of the Groucho Club in Soho by ex-Whitehall speechwriter Simon Lancaster, who now writes speeches for some of the world’s top CEOs. Simon has also written a book on writing speeches, Speechwriting: The Expert Guide. It is my bible. Whilst it is hard to teach someone how to write well (in my view it is something innate that comes from deep within), there are rules and recipes you can follow to ensure a speech is as good as it can be. I’d recommend it as a good read for anyone wanting to make their writing have more impact.

Speechwriting jobs are like gold dust, but it’s worth sounding out departments about any future positions in the offing and to register your interest. I also run a Whitehall Speechwriters’ Network and we are always happy to talk to budding speechwriters about opportunities. Many of the big companies now count a speechwriter as an essential part of their corporate entourage, so it’s worth looking into those too.

A final word Speechwriters add enormous value to an organisation. They write with a birds-eye view of the organisation and the wider horizon. They bring perspective, clarity and purpose, cutting through the complexity of policy and making it resonate with the outside world. 

Speechwriting is a job of contradictions, but that’s what makes it one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding jobs in the civil service.

Five things civil servants should be doing before the election – and just after it

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How to Become a Freelance Speechwriter

how to become speech writer

Do you have a knack for speeches? Do people talk about your wedding toasts for years afterward?

Do you love to write? Can you adapt to different personalities and voices in your writing? 

If so, then you might want to consider becoming a freelance speechwriter. Not only is it a fun and interesting career path, but it can pay very well and offers a lot of flexibility

Getting started as a freelancer might seem daunting, but don’t let that stop you!

If you’re confident, persistent, and organized, you’ll have no trouble making it in speech writing. Here’s how to get started:

What Education Do You Need to Become a Speech Writer? 

Although you don’t need any formal education to become a speechwriter , it does help. A degree in literature, creative writing, public relations, communications, or marketing can all help prepare you for the life of a speechwriter. 

Courses in literature can teach you how to write persuasively and will give you an overview of classic books.

Writing skills are a must, of course. Studying subjects like PR, communications, and marketing can give you insights on psychology and communication techniques required for speech writing.

Even political science classes can be helpful, as many of the biggest speeches are those written for politicians. 

Regardless of your degree, it’s important to study some of the greatest speeches of all time to learn more about what makes some speeches more powerful than others.

A degree can help you, but you also have to be willing to get curious and dive deep into the craft. 

Prepare for the Ups and Downs of the Occupation 

Many speechwriters today focus on political speech writing . Formal speeches are expected in the field of politics but are uncommon otherwise.

Freelance speech writing can give you a break from the rigid 9-5 lifestyle, but it’s not necessarily a carefree career path. 

Freelance speechwriters, particularly political speechwriters, have to be prepared to turn around polished drafts under extremely tight deadlines.

The job can be very creative, but also highly demanding. You have to be prepared to work under pressure and realize that the speeches you write could affect the political opinions of people when they are delivered. 

Additionally, speechwriters have to learn the little verbal quirks of the people they’re writing for. Everyone has signature phrases and speech patterns, and speechwriters have to be able to adapt quickly to these patterns.

Some speechwriters find themselves disillusioned when they learn that they aren’t going to be writing the next “I Have a Dream” speech, but more run-of-the-mill, everyday addresses to the public. 

You have to be prepared for these pros and cons, ups and downs if you want to be a freelance speechwriter. You also have to have thick skin and be prepared for criticism. 

Take Time to Master Your Craft 

how to become speech writer

Becoming a freelance speechwriter takes practice—lots of practice. The craft is quite different from other types of writing and it might take a while for you to get used to it.

That’s why you need to take the time to master the craft of speech writing even before you land your first speech writing job. 

It might seem silly to write speeches that will never be delivered, but it’s important to hone your skills and to build up a portfolio of samples you can send to clients.

Try writing a speech and reading it on video so you can play it back and look for weaknesses. Ask friends and family if they need any speeches written so you can practice even more. 

Freelance Writer Tip: Don’t Forget to Save for Taxes 

Once you land a few freelance jobs, it’s important to remember that no taxes are withheld on contract work. You are responsible for setting aside money and paying your quarterly taxes on time.

As a freelancer, you are a business owner and you can’t rely on an employer to take care of your social security, Medicare, and income tax payments for you.

Freelancers owe self-employment tax to cover these contributions. 

If you go into freelancing knowing your tax burden, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress. Don’t undersell yourself and charge too little.

Your clients won’t be paying for your benefits and expenses, so it’s expected that your rates will be a bit higher. Be confident in yourself and charge what you’re worth! 

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how to become speech writer

Ursula K. Le Guin on How to Become a Writer

(step one: write).

This first appeared in Lit Hub’s  Craft of Writing  newsletter— sign up here .

How do you become a writer? Answer: you write.

It’s amazing how much resentment and disgust and evasion this answer can arouse. Even among writers, believe me. It is one of those Horrible Truths one would rather not face.

The most frequent evasive tactic is for the would-be writer to say, But before I have anything to say, I must get experience.

Well, yes; if you want to be a journalist. But I don’t know anything about journalism, I’m talking about fiction. And of course fiction is made out of experience, your whole life from infancy on, everything you’ve thought and done and seen and read and dreamed. But experience isn’t something you go and get—it’s a gift, and the only prerequisite for receiving it is that you be open to it. A closed soul can have the most immense adventures, go through a civil war or a trip to the moon, and have nothing to show for all that “experience”; whereas the open soul can do wonders with nothing. I invite you to meditate on a pair of sisters. Emily and Charlotte. Their life experience was an isolated vicarage in a small, dreary English village, a couple of bad years at a girls’ school, another year or two in Brussels, which is surely the dullest city in all Europe, and a lot of housework. Out of that seething mass of raw, vital, brutal, gutsy Experience they made two of the greatest novels ever written: Jane Eyre  and  Wuthering Heights .

Now, of course they were writing from experience; writing about what they knew, which is what people always tell you to do; but what was their experience? What was it they knew? Very little about “life.” They knew their own souls, they knew their own minds and hearts; and it was not a knowledge lightly or easily gained. From the time they were seven or eight years old, they wrote, and thought, and learned the landscape of their own being, and how to describe it. They wrote with the imagination, which is the tool of the farmer, the plow you plow your own soul with. They wrote from inside, from as deep inside as they could get by using all their strength and courage and intelligence. And that is where books come from. The novelist writes from inside.

I’m rather sensitive on this point, because I write science fiction, or fantasy, or about imaginary countries, mostly—stuff that, by definition, involves times, places, events that I could not possibly experience in my own life. So when I was young and would submit one of these things about space voyages to Orion or dragons or something, I was told, at extremely regular intervals, “You should try to write about things you know about.” And I would say, But I do; I know about Orion, and dragons, and imaginary countries. Who do you think knows about my own imaginary countries, if I don’t?

But they didn’t listen, because they don’t understand, they have it all backward. They think an artist is like a roll of photographic film, you expose it and develop it and there is a reproduction of Reality in two dimensions. But that’s all wrong, and if any artist tells you, “I am a camera,” or “I am a mirror,” distrust them instantly, they’re fooling you, pulling a fast one. Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.

OK, how do you go about getting at that truth? You want to tell the truth. You want to be a writer. So what do you do?

Honestly, why do people ask that question? Does anybody ever come up to a musician and say, Tell me, tell me—how should I become a tuba player? No! It’s too obvious. If you want to be a tuba player you get a tuba, and some tuba music. And you ask the neighbors to move away or put cotton in their ears. And probably you get a tuba teacher, because there are quite a lot of objective rules and techniques both to written music and to tuba performance. And then you sit down and you play the tuba, every day, every week, every month, year after year, until you are good at playing the tuba; until you can—if you desire—play the truth on the tuba.

It is exactly the same with writing. You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned how to do it.

Of course, there are differences. Writing makes no noise, except groans, and it can be done anywhere, and it is done alone.

It is the experience or premonition of that loneliness, perhaps, that drives a lot of young writers into this search for rules. I envy musicians very much, myself. They get to play together, their art is largely communal; and there are rules to it, an accepted body of axioms and techniques, which can be put into words or at least demonstrated, and so taught. Writing cannot be shared, nor can it be taught as a technique, except on the most superficial level. All a writer’s real learning is done alone, thinking, reading other people’s books, or writing—practicing. A really good writing class or workshop can give us some shadow of what musicians have all the time—the excitement of a group working together, so that each member outdoes himself—but what comes out of that is not a collaboration, a joint accomplishment, like a string quartet or a symphony performance, but a lot of totally separate, isolated works, expressions of individual souls. And therefore there are no rules, except those each individual makes up.

I know. There are lots of rules. You find them in the books about The Craft of Fiction and The Art of the Short Story and so on. I know some of them. One of them says: Never begin a story with dialogue! People won’t read it; here is somebody talking and they don’t know who and so they don’t care, so—Never begin a story with dialogue.

Well, there is a story I know, it begins like this:

“ Eh bien, mon prince!  so Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family!”

It’s not only a dialogue opening, the first four words are in  French , and it’s not even a French novel. What a horrible way to begin a book! The title of the book is  War and Peace .

There’s another Rule I know: introduce all the main characters early in the book. That sounds perfectly sensible, mostly I suppose it is sensible, but it’s not a rule, or if it is somebody forgot to tell it to Charles Dickens. He didn’t get Sam Weller into  The Pickwick Papers for ten chapters—that’s five months, since the book was coming out as a serial in installments.

Now, you can say, All right, so Tolstoy can break the rules, so Dickens can break the rules, but they’re geniuses; rules are made for geniuses to break, but for ordinary, talented, not-yet-professional writers to follow, as guidelines.

And I would accept this, but very very grudgingly, and with so many reservations that it amounts in the end to nonacceptance. Put it this way: if you feel you need rules and want rules, and you find a rule that appeals to you, or that works for you, then follow it. Use it. But if it doesn’t appeal to you or doesn’t work for you, then ignore it; in fact, if you want to and are able to, kick it in the teeth, break it, fold staple mutilate and destroy it.

See, the thing is, as a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness. You are in the country where you make up the rules, the laws. You are both dictator and obedient populace. It is a country nobody has ever explored before. It is up to you to make the maps, to build the cities. Nobody else in the world can do it, or ever could do it, or ever will be able to do it again.


how to become speech writer

Excerpted from  THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT  by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 1989 by Ursula K. Le Guin. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, LLC.

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Donald Trump is convicted of a felony. Here’s how that affects the 2024 presidential race

Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts marks the end of the former president’s historic hush money trial but the fight over the case is far from over. Now comes the sentencing and the prospect of a prison sentence. The Associated Press’ Michael Sisak explains.

People outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 30, 2024. Former President Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes as a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

People outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 30, 2024. Former President Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes as a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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People walk by Trump Tower on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

A flag blows close to Trump Tower on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

People react to the guilty verdict announced against former President Donald Trump outside Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes as a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Former President Donald Trump makes comments to members of the media after a jury convicted him of felony crimes for falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election, at Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg steps away after speaking to the media after a jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes as a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — Having been convicted of 34 felonies, Donald Trump cannot own a gun, hold public office or even vote in many states.

But in 158 days, voters across America will decide whether he will return to the White House to serve another four years as the nation’s president .

Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts marks the end of his historic hush money trial. But the fight is far from over. Here’s what to know.

  • How did Trump respond? Trump falsely blasted a ‘rigged trial’ and attacked star witness in a speech on Friday. Follow the AP’s live coverage .
  • When is the sentencing? July 11, just days before Republicans are set to pick Trump as the 2024 nominee.
  • Can Trump vote? He may be convicted and reside in Florida, but can still vote as long as he stays out of prison in New York state.
  • Will this impact the election? It’s unclear whether Trump’s once-imaginable status as a person convicted of a felony will have any impact at all on voters.

Trump’s conviction in his New York hush money trial on Thursday is a stunning development in an already unorthodox presidential election with profound implications for the justice system and perhaps U.S. democracy itself.

But in a deeply divided America, it’s unclear whether Trump’s status as someone with a felony conviction will have any impact at all on the 2024 election. Trump remains in a competitive position against President Joe Biden this fall, even as the Republican former president now faces the prospect of a prison sentence in the run-up to the November election.

A demonstrator reacts to the guilty verdict announced against former President Donald Trump outside Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes as a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

In the short term at least, there were immediate signs that the unanimous guilty verdict was helping to unify the Republican Party’s disparate factions as GOP officials in Congress and in state capitals across the country rallied behind their presumptive presidential nominee, while his campaign expected to benefit from a flood of new fundraising dollars.

What to know about the 2024 Election

  • Democracy: American democracy has overcome big stress tests since 2020. More challenges lie ahead in 2024.
  • AP’s Role: The Associated Press is the most trusted source of information on election night, with a history of accuracy dating to 1848. Learn more.
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Standing outside the courtroom, Trump described the verdict as the result of a “rigged, disgraceful trial.”

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people,” Trump said, referring to Election Day. “This is long from over.”

Former President Donald Trump makes comments to members of the media after a jury convicted him of felony crimes for falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election, at Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

The immediate reaction from elected Democrats was muted by comparison, although the Biden campaign issued a fundraising appeal within minutes of the verdict suggesting that the fundamentals of the election had not changed.

“We’re THRILLED that justice has finally been served,” the campaign wrote. “But this convicted criminal can STILL win back the presidency this fall without a huge surge in Democratic support.”

Strategists predict a muted impact

People outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There has been some polling conducted on the impact of a guilty verdict, although such hypothetical scenarios are notoriously difficult to predict.

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that only 4% of Trump’s supporters said they would withdraw their support if he’s convicted of a felony, though an additional 16% said they would reconsider it.

On the eve of the verdict, the Trump campaign released a memo from its polling team suggesting that the impact of the trial is “already baked into the race in target states.”

Trump campaign advisers argued the case would help them motivate their core supporters. So many donations came into WinRed, the platform the campaign uses for fundraising, that it crashed. Aides quickly worked to set up a backup platform to collect money pouring in.

Trump headed Thursday night to a fundraising event scheduled before the verdict, according to a person familiar with his plans who was not authorized to speak publicly.

His two most senior campaign advisers, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, were not with him in New York, but in Palm Beach, Florida, where the campaign is headquartered.

And while it may take days or weeks to know for sure, Trump’s critics in both parties generally agreed that there may not be much political fallout, although some were hopeful that the convictions would have at least a marginal impact in what will likely be a close election.

Sarah Longwell, founder of Republican Voters Against Trump, who conducts regular focus groups, suggested the guilty verdict may help Biden on the margins by pushing so-called “double haters” — a term used to describe voters who dislike Trump and Biden — away from Trump.

But more than anything, she suggested that voters simply haven’t been following the trial very closely.

“The best thing about the trial ending is that it ended,” Longwell said, describing the courtroom proceeding as a distraction from more serious issues in the campaign. “There will now be an opportunity to focus the narrative on who Trump is and what a second Trump term would look like.”

Republican pollster Neil Newhouse predicted that the trial may ultimately have little impact in a lightning-fast news environment with several months before early polls open.

“Voters have short memories and even shorter attention spans,” Newhouse said. “Just as the former president’s two impeachments have done little to dim Trump’s support, this guilty verdict may be overshadowed in three weeks by the first presidential debate.”

A plan to campaign after sentencing

A flag blows close to Trump Tower on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

The judge set sentencing for July 11, just four days before the scheduled start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Each of the falsifying business records charges carries up to four years behind bars, though prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek imprisonment. Nor is it clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked.

Trump will be able to vote in Florida , where he established residency in 2019, if he is not in prison on Election Day.

And imprisonment would not bar Trump from continuing his pursuit of the White House.

Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who was with the former president in court this week and also serves as co-chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a Fox News Channel interview before the verdict that Trump would still try to campaign for the presidency if convicted.

If Trump is given a sentence of home confinement, she said, “We will have him doing virtual rallies and campaign events if that is the case. And we’ll have to play the hand that we’re dealt.”

There are no campaign rallies on the calendar for now, though Trump is expected to hold fundraisers next week.

Biden himself has yet to weigh in.

He was spending the night at his family’s beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, after marking the anniversary of his son Beau’s death earlier in the day at church.

Voters grapple with the verdict

People walk by Trump Tower on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

Texas voter Steven Guarner, a 24-year-old nurse, said he’s undecided on who he’ll vote for in the upcoming election.

Guarner, an independent, said the verdict will be a deciding factor for him once he studies the details of the trial. He didn’t think it would sway the many voters who are already decided on the Biden-Trump rematch, however.

“I think his base is the type that might not care much or might agree with him about the court system,” Guarner said of Trump.

Indeed, Republican officials from Florida to Wisconsin to Arkansas and Illinois condemned the verdict as a miscarriage of justice by what they described as a politically motivated prosecutor and blue-state jury.

Brian Schimming, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s executive committee, called the case against Trump a “sham” and a “national embarrassment.”

“There was no justice in New York today,” Schimming charged.

And Michael Perez Ruiz, a 47-year-old who was ordering food shortly after the verdict at Miami’s Versailles restaurant, an icon of the city’s GOP-leaning Cuban American community, said he would continue to stand by Trump.

“I would vote for him 20 times,” Perez Ruiz said.

AP writers Emily Swanson and Zeke Miller in Washington; Jill Colvin and Michelle L. Price in New York; Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin; Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami; and Valerie Gonzalez in McAllen, Texas, contributed.

how to become speech writer

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Voters guide for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District vacancy election and primary

how to become speech writer

Voters in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District face an unusual set of choices this election.

The early retirement of long-time Republican Congressman Ken Buck set off two separate, but related, races.

Voters will decide in this election who to send to Congress to fill out the final months of the current term — Republican Greg Lopez, Democrat Trisha Calvarese, Libertarian Hannah Goodman or Approval Voting Party candidate Frank Atwood. 

On the same ballot, voters who are registered with one of the major parties, or as unaffiliated, will choose among a wide field of either Democrats or Republicans to face off in this fall’s general election. The winner of the November race will take the seat starting with the new Congress in January.

What was already expected to be a hotly contested primary gained added prominence in December, when Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, who currently represents the 3rd Congressional District, said she would abandon her reelection effort there and instead jump into the race for the 4th District.

But Boebert’s entry didn’t clear the field. Instead, five other Republicans have also secured slots on the ballot. They include current and former state lawmakers, a parents’ rights activist and a business professional. On the Democratic side are a former speechwriter, a former Marine and a manufacturing engineer.

The 4th District encompasses most of the Eastern Plains, but its population centers are along the Front Range, including the suburban cities of Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Castle Rock to the south and Loveland and Wellington to the north. It’s the state’s most Republican seat, with a +26-point lean as of 2020, according to the state’s Congressional Redistricting Committee. 

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the primary and vacancy elections are on separate ballots. Both races will be listed on the same ballot, with the vacancy election appearing at the bottom.

For our voter guide, CPR reporters spoke with candidates, reviewed their websites and watched forums and debates. Top issues were determined by the results of the Voter Voices survey to understand what Coloradans care about in this election. Republican candidates responded to the top concerns of self-identified conservative and moderate voters. Democrats responded to the top issues for self-identified liberal and moderate voters.

how to become speech writer

Special vacancy election candidates

Republican primary candidates, democratic primary candidates.

You want to know what is really going on these days, especially in Colorado. We can help you keep up.  The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!

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Senate estimates offered a brief peek inside one of parliament's most opaque corners, but don't expect a transparency overhaul

Analysis Senate estimates offered a brief peek inside one of parliament's most opaque corners, but don't expect a transparency overhaul

Rob Stefanic speaks to Jaala Hinchcliffe at senate estimates

The windows at Parliament House have undergone extensive cleaning in recent weeks.

Sunlight is literally permeating the home of Australia's democracy like never before.

F iguratively, though, the government is as opaque as ever — especially the department tasked with running Parliament House. 

The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) can live in the shadows because of laws Anthony Albanese introduced in 2013, when he was the leader of the House of Representatives.

At the time, the parliament was concerned correspondence between politicians and the parliament's library could be released under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, so an exemption was offered to the four parliamentary departments.

It was only meant to be an "interim measure" — pending a broader review — so it's no wonder transparency advocates said they were "startled" when it was revealed this week that the exemption remains on the books more than a decade later.

It leaves the DPS in rare public service air, where the only documents it releases to the public are those the department deems appropriate. 

According to its critics, the DPS has largely been overlooked in the reckoning within Parliament House in the years after Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in a ministerial office. 

But when the boss of the department, Rob Stefanic, fronted Senate estimates this week, it was relations closer to home that became the focus.

Stefanic initially told senators he wouldn't answer questions about his private life or what he described as the "elephant in the room" — whether or not he had been in a relationship with his deputy, Cate Saunders. 

If there's one thing senators love at estimates, it's highly paid public servants telling them they won't be answering their questions. 

The senators — especially One Nation's Malcolm Roberts — were unperturbed. It made for several agonising exchanges, some of which had almost a minute of silence before Stefanic responded.

Stefanic eventually denied that he and Saunders had a relationship while he was her boss , but refused to answer questions about whether there'd been a relationship at any other time. 

It ultimately fell to the new deputy secretary — Jaala Hinchcliffe, who joined the DPS from the national anti-corruption body — to explain why the department paid Saunders more than $315,000 as an incentive to retire payment while she was on secondment at Services Australia. 

Liberal Jane Hume told DPS officials that Saunders had been given an "incentive to retire at an unusually young age" before suggesting it was a "highly unusual circumstance".

It was only on Thursday, when the Public Service Commissioner appeared at Senate estimates, that a more fulsome picture emerged. 

When does a friendship become a personal relationship?

Stefanic claims to have disclosed a perceived conflict of interest with the now former Australian Public Service Commissioner in August 2022, though no documentation of the declaration was made.

He said the declaration was made amid malicious rumours about him and Saunders, but insists they were not in a relationship. Among the actions considered following the alleged disclosure was the possibility of Saunders working elsewhere.

In April, 2023, that happened: Saunders moved to Services Australia for a six-month secondment in a lower-paid position.

The current Public Service Commissioner, Gordon de Brouwer, told estimates that following a conversation with Stefanic in June, 2023, the DPS boss disclosed a "personal relationship" to parliament's presiding officers — House Speaker Milton Dick and Senate President Sue Lines.

Rob Stefanic holds his hands together while giving evidence at senate estimates

In August that year — four months into a six-month secondment — Saunders entered "incentive to retire negotiations", with Stefanic having delegated his responsibility to carry out the negotiations to the boss of Services Australia.

Saunders ultimately retired from the public service on October 1 with an exit payment paid by the DPS worth more than $315,000.

When pressed by Hume if the process was best practice, de Brouwer said that was an "open issue". He later said if it was him, documentation of declaration would have been kept. 

At its core, he said, was a question of "when does a friendship become a close personal relationship" that needed to be declared.

"People can grapple with that and that's part of being human," de Brouwer said.

Further questioning 

Senators also quizzed Stefanic about the DPS's culture and accusations of toxicity, which he dismissed as unsubstantiated allegations.

At one point, when Malcolm Roberts raised concerns that security staff had raised with him, the DPS boss said that "staff that tend to approach senators are usually those that have a grievance", prompting quite the raised eyebrows from the senators present.

Independent senator David Pocock said he had been told that the DPS had a culture where "if you speak up, things don't work out that well for you".

Estimates also heard that a staff member in Parliament House had a seizure after the DPS denied requests to adjust lighting in their office .

It also emerged in the hearings that it's not just the DPS that seems reluctant to disclose information, with the prime minister's department, circulating a document with advice on dodging trick questions . The document contradicts the government's official advice to bureaucrats appearing at Senate estimates.

Under questioning, the head of the department that runs the Senate described the document as unhelpful and, if followed, could block the free flow of information.

It's quite the document for a government that vowed it would have transparency at its core. Speaking of which, Albanese's office is showing few signs it will be seeking to make the DPS subject to Freedom of Information this term. 

Immigration minister stares down calls to quit

Hinchcliffe wasn't the only senior woman tasked with mounting a defence of their male colleagues this week. 

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil's regular appearance on Sunrise has offered a convenient counter point to allegations she's been in witness protection since the High Court up-ended Australia's immigration detention regime. 

This week's appearance coincided with calls for Albanese to sack O'Neil's junior minister, Andrew Giles, the man tasked with the immigration portfolio. 

Giles has been under fire since it emerged the ministerial decision he issued to placate the New Zealand government, who were fed up with Kiwis who had little connection to the country being deported across the ditch after committing crimes in Australia, prompted an appeals tribunal to reinstate the visas of convicted rapists, drug smugglers and kidnappers.

In once instance, the tribunal allowed a man jailed for choking the mother of one of his children to stay in the country. Weeks later, he allegedly murdered a man in Brisbane.

So it fell to O'Neil, in that Sunrise appearance, to mount his defence. She repeatedly said that Giles was a good minister as she faced a barrage of questions about how "rapists used it [Giles's decision] to stay here".

The Coalition spent two days hammering Giles in Question Time, prompting him to come out swinging in a rare TV interview with the ABC's Afternoon Briefing. 

Giles swung for the fence, insisting he had more work to do, that he was busy cancelling visas and that the government would revise the direction that had allowed those people to stay in the first place. 

He also took aim at the opposition leader for decisions he made as immigration and home affairs minister, including allowing criminals and sex offenders to be released into the community — comments that prompted a swift rebuke from Peter Dutton. 

Giles ends the week digging in, vowing he will fight on. It hasn't gone unnoticed within the party that as a Left faction heavyweight, Giles receives a certain level of protection from his factional ally and the man who leads the government — Anthony Albanese. 

Love is in the air

Over the years, the Parliamentary Press Gallery's annual mid-winter ball has raised millions of dollars for charity but it's also caused no shortage of headaches (and not only those that arise the next morning).

During one of the more memorable years, a guest presciently said: "Gee, Barnaby Joyce and his press secretary seemed to be doing a bit of dancing together".

So it was an interesting choice of words when the Speaker Milton Dick, launching this year's event on Wednesday, remarked: "We need a lot more love in this building."

His comments related to the theme — love is in the air — but given the building is home to the infamous bonk ban, if anything, there's been a bit too much love in the house on the hill. 

The comments came a day after Stefanic appeared at Senate estimates, a moment not lost on Dick .

"The theme is Love is In the Air but not sure anyone has told DPS that," he said, before joking: "Probably too soon".

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  1. How to Become a Speech Writer

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    4- Understand Your Audience. Understanding your audience is crucial in any job, even if you want to become a speech writer. Creating a successful speech is like crafting a special gift for your audience. To make it truly memorable, you need to understand who your audience is - their interests, beliefs, and what makes them tick.

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  14. How to Become a Political Speech Writer

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  16. How to Become a Speech Writer

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  17. What is a speech writer and how to become one

    Get speech writer experience. Generally, it takes 2-4 years to become a speech writer. The most common roles before becoming a speech writer include reporter, internship team lead and editor. Prepare your speech writer resume. When your background is strong enough, you can start writing your speech writer resume.

  18. How to Become a Speech Writer

    Writing business speeches will be easier with a bachelor's degree in business, and political speeches require a good understanding of history, political science and philosophy. Overall, some combination of building an area of expertise and learning how to write effectively would be ideal. This means you should consider earning dual bachelor ...

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  20. How to Become a Freelance Speechwriter

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  21. Speechwriting Services & Solutions

    A professionally written SPEECH tailored to your tone, audience, and event. From $70. Stefano D. 5.0 (32) Spectacular speech on any topic in 24 hours. From $45. Sajid A. 4.9 (9) Hilarious vows, wedding speech, or speech for any occasion.

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    How to Become a Speech Pathologist. Becoming a speech pathologist entails structured education, clinical training, and certification. In the following paragraphs, we'll outline the essential steps and qualifications needed for this career. Earn a bachelor's degree. Earning a bachelor's degree is the foundational step towards becoming a speech ...

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    Wildflowers and power lines near Interstate 76 in Morgan County, Colorado, July 27, 2021. Voters in Colorado's 4th Congressional District face an unusual set of choices this election. The early ...

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  28. Sunday Morning Worship: May 26, 2024 at 10 a.m.

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