Professional Speechwriters Association

The Professional Speechwriters Association’s

Custom Workshops

Our trainers come to you.

When you need someone to come to you, come to us

You need deeper training than a conference can provide. You need to get your whole team on one page. You need individual speaker coaching for busy executives.

Sometimes, you need someone to come to you—in person, or virtually. Someone good. Someone proven. Someone now.

But whom?

We suggest, someone from the Professional Speechwriters Association’s Professional Development Academy.

The Professional Speechwriters Association works with the best trainers in speechwriting, speaker coaching, executive communication strategy and thought leadership. We know so many so well, that we can provide precisely the right person for your training needs, your industry, your organization’s culture and your executives’ leadership style.

We can:

  • Get your whole communications staff up to speed on evolving leadership communications practices, with an in-house PSA Master Class on speechwriting … storytelling … thought leadership …  writing … or presentation skills.
  • Deliver 1:1 online video communication coaching to get your leader as comfortable and compelling onscreen as in person.
  • Raise the level of speechwriting throughout your communication group—(and thus, the thinking, too)—with a critique/teaching/coaching package.
  • Evaluate and improve your leadership communication vehicles, by identifying their weaknesses and building on your staff’s natural strengths.
  • Get your staff aimed in a more strategic direction, with a facilitated exec comms strategy session.

For any professional development need related to leadership communication, the PSA’s Professional Development Academy can find you the right trainer to create the perfect custom course.

If you’d like to explore ways in which PSA trainers can solve your immediate problems or raise your game, write to PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com, and we’ll be in touch right away.


STRATEGIC SPEECHWRITING

Could your communication team use some speechwriting/scriptwriting bench strength?

A common collegial understanding of what makes excellent leadership communication?

A collective shot of new techniques and fresh thinking?

You can’t afford to send everyone to PSA resident writing coach Mike Long’s intensive, interactive and vastly entertaining seminar, Strategic Speechwriting. But now you can bring Mike to your place, to teach the seminar virtually.

He will teach the five elements, in the most incredibly practical terms—we’re talking samples, procedures and checklists:

Think Before You Write: A Speechwriter’s Guide to Planning and Prep: You wouldn’t set sail without a map for getting to the island—and to create a professional speech that finds its mark, you need a map, too, and a structure that works every time.

Persuasion: Proven Techniques to Open Minds and Change Them: Facts and figures engage the intellect, but persuasion must also speak to the heart. Here’s how to use psychology, classical rhetoric, and the best ideas from marketing to get people to open their minds to your ideas.

Vital Elements of a Vital Speech: Openings That Demand Attention and Closes That Demand Action: For a speech to connect with an audience and keep them engaged, the opening must make them want to hear more, and the closing must send them away inspired to take action. Professional speechwriters don’t guess at how to do that.

How to Make Numbers Fascinating Even If You’re No Good at Math: Learn easy-to-master skills to make statistics memorable and persuasive. Using simple fractions and percentages to explain almost anything, no matter how complicated. Humanizing figures so audiences remember more—and feel it in their hearts, not just know it in their heads.

Realpolitik for Leadership Communicators. A great speech draft that doesn’t make it through the approval process doesn’t make a sound. How to get good work approved and escape the corporate Jenga game. And many other practical lessons to bring your best ideas to fruition.

Through one fun virtual event, Mike Long will leave you and your communication colleagues a shared understanding of great leadership communication—and new know-how to make it happen.

This is a popular seminar and Mike is only one who can teach it. For scheduling and pricing, write to PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com.

Meet Mike Long

Based in Washington, DC, Mike Long is a speechwriter and an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. He is a former director of the White House Writers Group and a lecturer at Georgetown University, where he served most recently as the director of writing for the graduate program in PR. He is also co-author of The Molecule of More, on how the brain chemical  dopamine explains why we do what we do. Mike is the resident writing coach at the Professional Speechwriters Association.


STORYTELLING

We all know that narrative is the most powerful form of communication, and thus a critical leadership tool. But do we all share the same idea of what compelling narrative is—and the same ability to translate it into effective leadership communication?

Former White House speechwriter and GE exec comms chief Eric Schnure will take your communication team where he has taken so many communicators before: from intention to execution.

In this highly interactive virtual workshop, you will learn by doing, together:

  • Exactly why stories resonate with audiences—and how to convince reluctant leaders that not using story isn’t only unwise, it’s management malpractice.
  • What makes a good leadership story? We’re not just spinning yarns here, we’re communicating for a purpose. Learn what kinds of stories executives and organizations should tell—and in what style. (And, how to turn an interesting personal anecdote into an inspiring leadership story.)
  • How to capture stories that will not only humanize your leaders, but help them lead more effectively.
  • Journalistic and narrative storytelling: What’s the difference, and why it matters.
  • Hollywood storytelling techniques that work for organizations and sales storytelling techniques that work in speeches.
  • The difference between manipulating and motivating: How to rebut speakers and other colleagues who argue against using story in speeches.
  • Different strategies demand different stories: You’ll learn how to use stories to sell ideas, to set strategic context, to build community and to inspire people to action.
  • The structure and elements of stories. You’ll emerge from this workshop not just knowing how to build compelling stories, but having done it with your own hands.

Storytelling for leaders is easier said than done. Your team will learn how to do it—with even the most reluctant leaders of even the most resistant organizations—during this one great virtual event.

Write to PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com to discuss pricing and scheduling.

Meet Eric Schnure

For 25 years, former White House speechwriter Eric Schnure has counseled leading executives and organizations like Google, UPS, HP, Hearst and Airbus, helping make their messages more memorable, their words more effective and their delivery more powerful. Prior to opening his own firm in 2013, Eric served as Director of Executive Communications at GE. Co-founder of the communications consulting firm the Humor Cabinet, Eric has written countless one-liners and roasts for celebrities and politicians and is known as one of Washington’s “go-to guys” for political humor. Eric also teaches speechwriting at Johns Hopkins University and American University.


THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Will Your Organization Shape the Future—or Be Shaped by It?

The future of your organization—and your industry—are changing, and leadership is up for grabs.  

COVID-19, racial injustice, economic disruption, political division (and more) all demand an end to “business as usual.”

But what will tomorrow look like … and who will shape it? Employees, shareowners, stakeholders and consumers all want to know.

Most companies are stuck reacting and responding.  They’re caught bobbing in the shifting waves of public opinion and government policy. 

But a few sharp CEOs will drive the change and shape the future.  They are thought leaders … the visionaries who are reinventing their missions and powerfully articulating their vision.  As thought leaders, their words carry more weight, their ideas have more impact, and their visions shape the future.

Learn what thought-leading executives in corporations, nonprofits, government agencies and universities—and their communication teams—do differently by bringing this celebrated one-day program to your team.  You and your team will learn how to elevate your leaders and organization for greater impact, influence and results.

Thought leadership expert Pete Weissman will teach you the mindset, skillset and toolset to help your leaders and organization speak up, stand out and set the agenda. Pete has analyzed thought leaders from business, politics, non-profits and academia. He discovered they all share a common playbook. It’s the playbook he uses with his Fortune 500 clients, and he’ll teach it to you.

Once you see the strategy behind the stagecraft, you’ll never think of communications the same way again.

You will learn:

  • How to frame your ideas and vision so they earn keynote slots at elite conferences.
  • How to pick allies—and enemies—to transform what your clients demand from you and your competition.
  • How to use journalists’ need for objectivity to become the leading voice for your idea.
  • How to Flip Demand: Stop pitching to skeptical reporters and editors. Have them come to you.
  • How to use a Savvy Sacrifice to instantly transform an old reputation.
  • How to create “Walk the Talk” actions that launch your thought leadership campaign.
  • How to tie thought leadership to your organization’s core mission.
  • The five tools in your arsenal to reach the right audiences at the right time.
  • Your MoonShot Vision: the five key ingredients.
  • How to coach your executives to think and speak like thought leaders.
  • How to apply Pete’s Three Pillars for conceiving—and executing—a thought leadership program on any budget.
  • 9 Mistakes to Avoid—mistakes that can doom your thought leadership effort from the start.
  • How to make the business case for a thought leadership program inside your organization.

Practical Take-Home Tools, and a Collegial Common Understanding

Pete will leave you with practical tools and templates available nowhere else, including:

  • A checklist of questions to spur new ideas and sharpen your vision.
  • Five creative exercises and tools to develop your thought-leading perspective.
  • Keys to creating a communications calendar that “Ladders Up” to higher-level publications and events.

Most importantly, you and your team will have a common understanding of thought leadership—and the know-how to build a thought leadership platform for your executives.

Contact PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com, to discuss pricing and scheduling.

Meet Pete Weissman

Pete Weissman creates thought leadership programs for executives in the spotlight. Pete has worked in the West Wing, the U.S. Senate and for Fortune 100 CEOs. He is the founder of Thought Leader Communications (www.ThoughtLeaderCommunications.com). Based in Atlanta, the firm provides strategy, speechwriting, presentation coaching and training. Follow Pete @PeteWeissman.


HOW TO WRITE EVERYTHING

If you thought you could make all the copy that comes out of your organization more arresting, focused, clear, interesting, consistent, strategic, persuasive, sophisticated, imaginative and fresh—you would, wouldn’t you?

Then DO. How? By inviting Jeff Herrington to help your communicators learn “How to Write EVERYTHING: Strong, Seductive, Strategic Writing for Professional Communicators.”

In a virtual workshop from the PSA’s Professional Development Academy, this writer’s writer and teacher’s teacher will bring into your organization a lifetime of experience and a broad view of the current landscape as he gives your communication staff a common set of rules and an uncommon collection of wisdom.

What Your Team Will Learn

At the end of the day, everyone on your staff will know (and see, through dozens and dozens of instructive and cautionary examples from corporate communication):

  • How to get the significance of the story across to the reader in the very first sentence.
  • The scientific reason why modern sentences should be no longer than tweets and paragraphs should be no longer than three short sentences. (No exceptions.)
  • Why passive voice, in corporate prose, is like “clothes hangers in a closet. It seems to populate in the dark.”
  • Why you shouldn’t call it the “approval process”—and what you should call it instead.
  • Three surefire techniques for convincing reticent executives to share their humanity so corporate stories come to life.
  • How to write social media posts that get shared, op-eds that appeal to editors and news releases that make news.
  • How to make all your work better by using interesting vocabulary and rhetorical techniques, worthwhile quotations and the active voice—and by always, always, always focusing on human beings, rather than inanimate objects, programs or processes.

“Jeff was fantastic!” said the last communication director who hosted this seminar. “My colleagues who attended raved about him, and I’m already hearing our team reference and repeat the mantras he taught us. Thank you so much for recommending him … It was truly exactly what our team needed!”

The Process and the Perks

Your communication staff won’t merely learn these techniques as individuals. Through Herrington’s collaborative curriculum, participants will practice as a team, thus embarking on a journey from individual staffers with varying skill sets to a supportive, proud community of writers.

BONUS: At the end of the session, Herrington will provide each of your participants with a resource guide he has created for organizational communicators, so that your people will not only be better writers, they’ll be more consistent, as well.

This is a popular seminar and Jeff Herrington is only one man. Contact PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com, to discuss pricing and scheduling.

Meet Jeff Herrington

Jeff Herrington has traveled to more than 45 countries on five continents as a writer for the internal and external publications of IBM, AT&T, Whirlpool, Baxter Healthcare and John Deere, among many other companies. He has written and overhauled websites, directed social media activities, crafted communication campaigns and created award-winning content for many of the largest organizations in the world. In raved-about sessions at industry conferences and intimate workshops around the world, Jeff has taught thousands of communicators how to write for every corporate medium. Communication managers who have brought Jeff into their organizations have thanked him for the “rave reviews” of their colleagues, praised his workshops as “phenomenal” and “fun and informative” and called them “the inspiration for our success.”


PRESENTATION SCHOOL

Many CEOs are polished, compelling speakers on behalf of their organizations. But why leave this responsibility in the hands of just one person?

It’s time to get everyone else up to speed—quickly and efficiently.

This virtual seminar is perfect for C-suite lieutenants and VPs who want to be more confident in external presentations, director-level people who represent the organization at conferences, and mid-career professionals making the difficult transition from doing the work to managing people. Former Pentagon speechwriter and star speaking coach Rosemary King will use an interactive approach to teach participants how to:

  • Refine and deliver the organization’s elevator pitch, stump speech, or stock presentation.
  • Capitalize on “voice,” the most underappreciated tool we have in our speaking arsenal.
  • Channel passion for the subject in a way that will move audiences to action.
  • Avoid the “big three”—the most common public speaking errors in the workplace.
  • Cope with public speaking anxiety and transform nervous energy into dynamic, lively presentations.
  • Create slides that underscore your most important message rather than distracting from it.

Ideal for groups of 10-15, this half day of training from one of America’s most brilliant and beloved speaking coaches will help your organization’s leaders become more compelling, persuasive communicators.

“Working with Rose has been a game changer!” said a recent client. “Her communication tools and techniques completely changed the trajectory of a client-relationship I’d been struggling with. The result? Increased engagement and buy-in throughout the remainder of the project.”

So think about who on your team would benefit from this training—and how much your organization would benefit from their improved leadership communication.

Contact PSA PDA Director David Murray, at david.murray@prorhetoric.com, to discuss pricing and scheduling.

Meet Rosemary King

Rosemary King, PhD, is a sought-after leadership communication consultant, speechwriter and speaking coach. She served as speechwriter for Defense Secretary Robert Gates and two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers and General Peter Pace. Her clients have included Toyota, ABC News, American University, MercyCorps and Feeding America. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


VIDEO COACHING

It’s not that the camera doesn’t love every leader; it’s that lots of leaders loathe the camera.

But the coronavirus crisis has put all your stakeholders on the other side of a camera at a moment that calls for great leadership communication. 

Leaders must use video—and to learn to use it well—now.

One of the world’s great leadership communication coaches can help you make that happen.

In a half-day, personalized online training session, you will learn:

  • Camera distortion is real: How to use it to your personal advantage—and how to eliminate ways in which it works to your disadvantage.
  • Script versus bullet points, paper versus teleprompter: How to control the content without stifling the style.
  • The arms move and the communication follows: biomechanical consequences of upper body-language.
  • Physical fluidity: How to seem neither rigid and stiff, nor frantic and frenzied.
  • Voice control: Natural methods to connect a speaker emotionally with the words you’re saying.

For a leader who wants to communicate at this crucial moment, there’s nothing more important right now than getting better at video—and no one better to teach you how.

Fred Garcia will give you the tools to make yourself as strong a leader on video as you are in person.

$5,000.

Contact Executive Communication Council executive director David Murray for details: david.murray@prorhetoric.com

Meet Fred Garcia

For nearly 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is the author, most recently, of The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis. Fred has coached more than 400 CEOs of major corporations, plus thousands of other high-profile people in other complex fields, including doctors, scientists, lawyers, financial executives, military officers, and government officials. Fred is a highly sought keynote and motivational speaker, and teaches about management and leadership at New York University and at Columbia University.