Good post by Jane Genova on the changing role of executive speechwriters. Actually the pure “speechwriter” has always been a rare species, employed mostly by Fortune 500 companies, big shot politicians and well heeled business people. This may have added to the aura and mystique. You may think of middle-aged, bearded white men, isolated in their own thoughts, pencil in hand, gazing at their computer screens, on the verge of inventing the NEXT GREAT LINE, one that will bring the audience to their feet, elevating their speaker to dizzying new heights. Jane uses Steve Jobs’ college commencement speech last summer at Stanford University as an example. This is the one where he ended with that great catch line: “stay hungry, stay foolish.” Surely, a clever speechwriter coined that line.
Traditional PR and marketing is under fire for being too canned, too artificial for today's audiences. As Jane points out, audiences today want more open-ness and candor, fewer canned sound bites and less marketing hype. Executive messages can now be driven over a wider array of platforms, from webcasts to blogs to traditional presentations. Blogs and other more personalized platforms may soon change the way we communicate to employees, investors and the public. That means we'll be spending more time developing strategy and messaging, and working with other communications professionals to help execs choose platforms, even as we try to coach them to be "more real." A recent article in Fast Company points out that communicators of all stripes are scrambling to catch up with the new wave.Fast Company article
“Even a degree with a bit more mass appeal, such as communications, shows how quickly things change. If you graduated even three years ago, such emerging niche media as blogs, podcasts, and satellite radio are all new to you. Each requires a different approach, and you have to develop specialized tactics to get your message across. Whatever specifics you learned in school are hopelessly out of date….”
The key, it points out, is adaptability.
“Labor trends point to the increasing importance of adaptability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds 10 different jobs before hitting age 40. Job tenures now hover around four years. Forrester Research's Claire Schooley predicts these numbers will only get more extreme, anticipating that today's youngest workers will hold 12 to 15 jobs in their lifetimes.”
and other professional communicators better buckle up. Somehow I think it’s
going to take a little more than staying hungry, and staying foolish.