How to Choose Your Perfect Speechwriter, Part 2

PART 2 OF 4, read part 1 here.
BY MOLLY-ANN LEIKIN, EMMY NOMINEE

10. Is your speechwriter discreet, honoring your wish not to be listed as a client on her website unless you give her permission? 

I totally respect my clients’ confidentiality.  Only if they give me permission to mention them, I will.  If not, nobody but the two of us knows I wrote their speeches, toasts, memorials, eulogies and vows.  That’s a promise.   Confidentiality is essential in a professional relationship. 

11. Does your speechwriter create your speech herself, or farm it out to an intern in a third-world country?   

I’m the only writer in my company.  I create everything myself, from scratch, with you.  My staff answers email and does emergency York Peppermint Patty runs.  But everything that is written for one of my clients, is written by me.   

Some firms farm out everything to interns from Timbuktu who work for five dollars.  You get what you pay for.  Should you hire the cheapest speechwriter, you’ll get the worst work.  You get what you pay for.  I only do the very best. 

12. Does your speechwriter have a lot of experience?

I do!  My father tried to help me with my Bat Mitzvah speech, but his draft sounded like a bottom-line businessman, not a dreamy teen.  So I started all over and wrote a whole new speech for my Bat Mitzvah, myself.

From there, I helped my friends write their Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah speeches, then their wedding vows, toasts and big birthday wishes.  

When I finished college and grad school, I was a professional lyricist in Hollywood.  In addition to writing songs, I was asked to create keynote speeches for presidents of record companies and music publishing companies.  Then they asked me to write vows for their weddings, toasts for their kids’ graduations, and eulogies for the stars of rock ‘n roll.  I even wrote a memorial for a guitarist’s cat, and vows for a commitment ceremony for two characters in an animated movie.    

13. Does your speechwriter offer to record your speech so you can listen to it over and over, and become very comfortable delivering it?

I do.  Absolutely.  In addition to writing speeches for you, when you approve them, I record what I create as mp3’s.  That way, you can listen to your speech over and over.  Then, when it’s time for you to deliver them, you’re very comfortable.  This is a special Speech Coaching bonus I offer my clients.  That’s essential to your comfort, and your comfort is a huge part of your success.     

14. Is your speechwriter experienced in working with CEO’s, and their families, at the last minute? 

I’m totally comfortable working with demanding CEO’s and CFO’s all over the English-speaking world who have last-minute projects.  Although I wish you’d planned your speeches as soon as dates were set to deliver them, project-permitting, I can usually push aside everything else and make time to meet your short deadlines.  If your speechwriter can’t do that, she’s not the right writer for you. 

However, I never sacrifice the quality of my work.  Since I’m used to working under pressure, I make my clients’ shine, no matter what.     

15. Do you want to hire a speechwriter who makes your speech a work of art that you and your family, colleagues and friends will remember forever?

Then, you hire me.     

My first goal is to make your speech something that makes you proud, and will want to keep forever - in your heart, your partner’s heart, your child’s memory, and as a milestone occasion for your business. 

16.  As soon as you know the date of your occasion, do you start working on your speech or wait for the last, frantic minute? 

Although it’s best for you to set aside a few minutes every day to work on your speech, tweaking it for several months before your milestone occasion, sometimes, you procrastinate and call me the night before.

When that happens, if my schedule permits, I assure you I can do it and do you proud.  Then we get to work.  And I’ve never missed a deadline.  That characteristic and track record is essential to fine, one-of-a-kind speechwriting. 

17. Do other speechwriters just have you fill out a generic form, instead of spending one-to-one time with you on the phone?  

I hate forms.  You’re a person.  Each of you is unique, dreaming different dreams and having special ways of expressing yourself.  I’m all about, and only about, one-on-one, live conversations. 

Don’t ever trust your occasion to an impersonal, generic form.  Ever.   

18. Does your speechwriter create one-of-a-kind speeches, just for you, that are never duplicated? 

Everything I write is unique.  Just like you, my client.  Beware of speechwriters who recycle their work.  Using it will embarrass you. 

I am in California.

Your occasion is my occasion.  I take it very personally. 

Being your speechwriter is never just a gig.  It is my pleasure to celebrate with you.