Professional Speechwriters Association

The Professional Speechwriters Association’s

Speechwriting School Online

Where Communicators Become Speechwriters

MAY - JUN 2024



Leadership requires effective and inspiring communication, often in public. It’s a vital part of a leader’s job—and for many, the most difficult. And the only task tougher than delivering effective speeches is writing them.

No wonder speechwriting is one of the most sought-after and well-compensated communication specialties. Simply put, speeches matter—especially at a moment when leadership communication is helping guide institutions through one of the most fraught periods in modern history.

Writing a speech, presentation or video script for a powerful leader can seem so difficult and complex and high-stakes that doubt can creep into the mind of even the most experienced professional. How do you start? How do you capture the speaker’s ideas, the voice, the intonation? Is there an ideal structure? And, oh wait, it has to deliver a message that an audience might actually remember and act on?

There is no school for this. Yes, there is.

There’s Speechwriting School Online, convened by the Professional Speechwriters Association and taught by some of the best speechwriters, and speechwriting teachers, in the world.

Over five weeks, our all-star faculty of will transform you into a leadership communicator. They know what works. They know what doesn’t work. And, even more importantly, they love to teach speechwriting—because it is so hard, and when it’s done right, also so rewarding.


Each online session stands alone as a valuable lesson in leadership communication, and all five sessions together amount to a master class in speechwriting—plus, an informal, conversational, straight-talking bonus session with the School Faculty. You’ll transform yourself into a confident speechwriter with a certificate of completion to prove it.

001—The Golden Triad of Speechwriting (Wednesday, May 15, 1:00pm EDT)

Dr. Rosemary King, a former Pentagon speechwriter, teaches you that the most important part of speechwriting begins before you write anything at all. Before put fingers to keyboard, learn how audience, purpose and message must work together to provide a sturdy foundation for every successful piece of oral communication.

002—Structure: If You Build It, They Will Act (Wednesday, May 22, 1:00pm EDT)

Veteran White House speechwriter Eric Schnure, co-author of The Political Speechwriter’s Companion and teacher of public communication at American University,  will demonstrate why the structure of your speech is vitally important to creating audience understanding. Having a solid and proven structure streamlines and focuses your writing—and using the right structure motivates listeners to act. Schnure will introduce several speech structures, and help you master one in particular that will work for almost every speech you write.

003—Making the Case: How to Support Your Argument, Credibly and Compellingly (Wednesday, May 29, 1:00pm EDT)

You have a theme, and you know your structure. But what gives the body of the speech the muscle to move an audience? In this session, with speechwriting superstar Felicity Barber, you’ll learn how to use all the rhetorical tools—anecdotes; wit; quotations; statistics presented so that the numbers don’t numb—in ways that convince audiences that the problems they address are urgent, and that the solutions they suggest are reasonable, practical and right.

004—Editing: Tricks Every Speechwriter Should Know, to Make Your Speeches Sing (Wednesday, June 5, 1:00pm EDT)

Legendary corporate speechwriter Fletcher Dean will share the editing secrets every speechwriter needs to know. He’ll explain how to take a deliberate approach to editing that will transform your copy into ‘must-hear’ oratory. You’ll learn how to simplify your writing for the ear, and how to make your speaker warm and personable (even if they aren’t), and why the old adage is more true than ever: There is no great writing, only great rewriting.

005—Storytelling for Speechwriters: How to Make Your Speeches Stick (Wednesday, June 12, 1:00pm EDT)

We’ve all heard about how important and powerful storytelling is for effective communications. But how do we connect stories to the message we want to share and the strategy we want to pursue? Mike Long, speechwriter, playwright and speechwriting instructor at Georgetown University, will teach you what makes great stories and where to find them. He’ll show you how to incorporate them gracefully into a speech. And he’ll teach you how to get your speaker to deliver them with authenticity, panache and impact—so they do their job of making the speech memorable and bonding the speaker and the message to the audience.

006—Your Speechwriting Career: Managing Your Speaker, Managing Yourself. Straight Talk with the Speechwriting School Faculty (Friday, June 14, 1:00pm EDT)

Egos. Access. Approvals. Professional loneliness. Speechwriting is a complicated job on a good day, and if you’re going to thrive in this high-stakes work, there are a few things you need to know. In this session, the Speechwriting School faculty will each share the keys to their happy careers. They’ll also come to this valedictory session prepared to answer any question you have: Bring your problems, your anxieties, and your doubts—along with any questions that didn’t get answered in previous sessions—and let’s work on them together, in an all-faculty workshop facilitated by Eric Schnure and David Murray, executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association.


Speechwriting School Online is conducted via webinar platform.

Before each session, we’ll email simple directions to join the webinar. And after each session, we’ll email a link to the webinar recording.

Please email Benjamine Knight, PSA operations director, with any questions.
Or call 312-585-6383.


Q: What is the cost of this online training program?
A: Speechwriting School Online costs $795 for the full course. PSA members receive 25% off.

Q: When is the deadline to sign up?
A: We can accept registrations until the week prior. We suggest registering by May 6, 2024 so that you receive all the reminder notifications.

Q: I’m registered for Speechwriting School Online. What do I need to do to prepare for the training?
A: The first session in this series will be conducted on Wednesday, May 15th at 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Registered participants will receive email notifications in early May with instructions on how to join the webinar, as well as any pre-session materials from the instructor.

Q: What online service or platform do you use for the webinars?
A: The sessions will be conducted via Zoom Webinar. There is no need to download any software. Upon joining each webinar session, you’ll be prompted to open the Zoom launcher via your web browser window. 

Q: Is a camera required?
A: No, a camera is not required. In fact, cameras are not enabled on audience members. Only individuals with “panelist” or “organizer” designations have this broadcast capability.

Q: How long does each webinar last?
A: Each session consists of 45-60 minutes of instruction, with another 30 minutes for Q&A. Sessions will never run longer than 1.5 hours.

Q: I know I will miss one of the classes. Will I be able to view a recording of the webinar?
A: Yes, each session will be recorded and provided for participants to review by weblink. Be sure to register for each Zoom webinar (as we send the notices weekly) so you receive the automated post-session emails.

Q: I have a busy work schedule. Is it possible to catch up on the webinars in the evenings?
A: While most recordings are ready for us to share as soon as that same afternoon, some take longer to prepare, due to file size. These recordings will be available the following day, at latest.

Q: For how long is the webinar recording valid after the session?
A: The recorded sessions will stay accessible one month after the series ends–so, until July 31, 2024.

Q: Am I able to share the sessions with other coworkers?
A: Speechwriting School Online is priced and designed for individual participants. Only the registrant will receive notifications/reminders as well as the Certificate of Completion and 6-month introductory PSA membership.


 Rosemary King

Rosemary King

Rosemary King, PhD, is a sought-after leadership communication consultant. 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. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure is the Dean of Speechwriting School. A former White House speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and Director of Executive Communications at GE, Eric now advises high-profile leaders across sectors, helping make their messages more memorable, their stories more compelling, and their delivery more effective. A sought-after humor writer in Washington, Schnure is also renowned for teaching. He is a long-time Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University and conducts popular workshops all over the world. He is the co-author, along with Bob Lehrman, of The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, 2nd Ed. (SAGE, August 2019).

Felicity Barber

Felicity Barber

Felicity Barber has been writing speeches and managing executive communications for CEOs in finance for more than a decade, including the leaders of BlackRock, Lloyd’s of London, and two Federal Reserve banks. She now runs her own business Thoughtful Comms, supporting clients with executive communications and speeches, and training the next generation of speechwriting talent. She hails from London, but home is Weehawken, NJ, where she lives with her husband, her two children, and a black cat called Minton.

Fletcher Dean

Fletcher Dean

Fletcher Dean is an award-winning writer of speeches and author of 10 Steps to Writing a Vital Speech. He’s a popular presenter at speechwriting conferences around the world. He currently serves as Director, Office of the Chairman & CEO and Executive Communications at The Dow Chemical Company.

Mike Long

Mike Long

Mike Long is a speechwriter and award-winning playwright and screenwriter based in Washington, D.C. 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. Mike is also the co-author of the new book, The Molecule of More.

David Murray

David Murray

David Murray is executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association, and editor & publisher of Vital Speeches of the Day, an 82-year-old collection of the best oral communication in the U.S. and the world.


Speechwriting School Online

Phone registrations please call 312-585-6383

Speechwriting School Online is conducted via Zoom webinar.

Before each session, we'll email simple directions to join the webinar. And after each session, we'll email a link to the webinar recording.

Cancellations Policy

No refunds on cancellations less than 30 days before the event. Within 30 days, your payment will be credited toward a future Professional Speechwriters Association event.


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