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Speechwriter Fancy penning a speech that could change the course of history? No pressure, of course, but if you’ve got a knack for persuasive writing and a healthy interest in geopolitics then trying your hand at speechwriting might be a good career move that could pay off in unexpected ways. From Martin Luther King Junior’s influential ‘I have a dream’ speech, to Winston Churchill’s rousing ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ address, speeches have the tremendous power to change minds, bring tears to eyes, fortify nations and bring hope in times of need. In the case of poorly written speeches, they have the power to put people to sleep. Which is why speechwriting is so important. Anyone who has ever sat (or dozed) through a real humdinger of a bad speech knows speechwriters are worth their weight in gold. The ideal job for someone with decent writing skills, an interest in politics and world affairs and a gift for communicating complicated messages in a simple way, speechwriting can be found in the political arena, although there is also a need for speechwriters within the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. The life of a speechwriter can be exhilarating, especially when working on pivotal speeches for key figures. But on the flipside, burnout is common with this profession as the pace is often relentless and the content can sometimes be repetitive. Writing speeches isn’t exactly easy, so that’s why speechwriters are usually paid quite well for their efforts. Some speechwriters work on a freelance basis, others work as staffers within government agencies. Either way, a good speechwriter has to have many skills above and beyond the actual writing. Being able to work in a team is essential, as speechwriting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Speechwriters need to be able to turn

complex information and messages into compelling statements that people can instantly understand. As such, a good speechwriter will have a strong handle on global and social issues, and be able to provide a speech that matches the objectives of the person or agency requiring the speech. Going rogue just isn’t a good idea for a speechwriter who wants a long career. So apart from earning a good living and working with high-profile individuals, what else can a speechwriter reap from their profession? Some speechwriters also get to travel frequently – especially if working with heads of state – and the best of the best get to write speeches that are listened to over and over again, for decades to come. While you don’t get paid per play, the satisfaction of knowing you were behind a speech that made people cry or change their viewpoint is surely worth more than mere money, right?

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: Most speechwriting roles require a degree in journalism, creative writing or media. Studies in politics are also helpful for political speechwriting roles. Experience required: Experience in professional writing essential. Political speechwriting roles also require experience working in government roles. Training: Speechwriting modules are often taught as part of writing and communications degrees. Speechwriting workshops and courses also exist. Restrictions: Speechwriting roles with government departments might be subject to background checks.

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I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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