Should speechwriters stop fighting PowerPoint?

Someone who’s long defended speechwriters’ right to focus solely on writing great words is starting to have serious doubts.

What’s kind of ironic is that it was a few words that began to make me think I’d been protecting Speechwriter’s Newsletter readers from the plain and obvious need to branch out and learn more than how to construct a good speech.

It was actually two little groups of words. One was a comment on my blog, Shades of Gray. “Diane,” a notoriously grouchy but unfailingly honest corporate communicator, wrote in response to something I’d written about speechwriting:

“I’ve heard a lot of speeches. I don’t remember any of them.”

Something about that started nagging at me. Indulge me, please, as I explain the rapid and recent evolution in my thinking about what speechwriters ought to be doing for a living—and what they’ll be doing in the future.

No room for Bartleby

The week after Diane declared she didn’t remember a single speech she’d ever heard, I was interviewing rhetoric expert Jay Heinrichs for an article and he said flatly, “There is less and less room in society for Bartleby the Scrivener.”

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