Professional Speechwriters Association

The Professional Speechwriters Association’s

Speechwriting School Online

May - Jun 2020



Speechwriting is the most sought-after and well-compensated communication specialty for two very good reasons: It’s hard. And—especially at this moment when leadership communication is helping to make or break our response to a global crisis—it’s very, very important.

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 seven 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 six sessions together amount to a master class in speechwriting. Take them one by one and turn your weaknesses into strengths, or complete the full online course—which includes a bonus session with the School Faculty—and transform yourself into a speechwriter with a certificate of completion to prove it.

001—The Golden Triad of Speechwriting (Wednesday, May 6, 1:00pm EDT)

Dr. Rosemary King, a former Pentagon speechwriter,teaches you how to explore and align the three crucial elements of every speech: audience, purpose and message. You’ll learn how they work together—at the very beginning of the speechwriting process—to provide a sturdy foundation for every successful piece of oral communication.

002—Structure: Why ‘How You Say It’ Is as Important as ‘What You Say’ (Wednesday, May 13, 1:00pm EDT)

Veteran White House speechwriter Bob Lehrman, 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. Deciding on the right structure early not only streamlines your writing but motivates listeners to act. Lehrman will help you master several sturdy structures, one of which will work for almost every speech you write.

003—Making the Case: How to Support Your Argument, Credibly, Convincingly and Entertainingly (Wednesday, May 20, 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 Washington’s most sought-after humor speechwriter and high-profile corporate executive communication counselor Eric Schnure, 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—Storytelling for Speechwriters: How to Make Your Speeches Stick (Wednesday, May 27, 1:00pm EDT)

Mike Long, speechwriter, playwright and speechwriting instructor at Georgetown University, will demonstrate the importance of storytelling. He’ll teach you where to find stories. 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.

005—PowerPoint (and Prezi): Good, Bad, Ugly and Effective (Wednesday, June 10, 1:00pm EDT)

PowerPoint: Like it or not, it’s part of the speechwriter’s skill set. Award-winning speechwriter and executive communications expert Dr. Vincent Rhodes will share the very latest and best thinking on how to incorporate electronic slides into the speech. Which programs to use, how to each them most effectively. And when—and how—to wean your speakers off. You’ll emerge from this session with novel ideas on how visual aids work best and a sense of when they don’t work at all.

006—Editing: How to Make Your Speeches Sing (Wednesday, June 17, 1:00pm EDT)

Award-winning speechwriter, author of the standard text 10 Steps to Writing a Vital Speech, and Director of the Speechwriting School, Fletcher Dean, will share what is possibly the most overlooked part of the entire process. He’ll demonstrate how to break the editing down into bite-sized chunks as you transform a sound speech into magical music. By way of before-and-after examples, he’ll show you how to make sure a speech is truly written for the ear. And he’ll share the power of simplicity, the importance of keeping the language fresh and subtle tips on how to make your speaker more warm and personable.

BONUS SESSION (for Full Online Course participants only)—Office Hours: An Open Audience with the Speechwriting School Faculty (Wednesday, June 24, 1:00pm EDT)

Egos. Access. Approvals. Professional loneliness. People who write speeches—or those who would write speeches—have problems that non-speechwriters will never understand. Veteran speechwriters get it—and they’re here to help. Bring your problems, your anxieties, and your doubts to this open mentoring call—along with any questions that didn’t get answered during the rest of the Speechwriting School Online—and let’s work on them together, in an all-faculty workshop facilitated by 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 … or $199 for one or more individual sessions, which may be purchased “a la carte.” The seventh session, a Q&A with all faculty, is open to full course registrants only. PSA members receive 25% off a purchase of any combination of sessions.

Q: When is the deadline to sign up?
A: We can accept registrations until the week prior. We suggest registering by April 29, 2020 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 7-week series will be conducted on Wednesday, May 6th at 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Registered participants will receive email notifications in late April 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 GoToWebinar, which is a Citrix product. There is no need to download any software. Upon joining each webinar session, you’ll be prompted to open a CitrixOnlineLauncher.

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 GoToWebinar (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, 2020.

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.

 Bob Lehrman

Bob Lehrman

Former Chief Speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, Bob Lehrman is an award-winning teacher and novelist, and speechwriter for dozens of national figures. Lehrman writes often on politics and teaches at American University. He is the co-author, along with Eric Schnure, of The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, 2nd Ed. (SAGE, August 2019).

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure is an independent leadership communication strategist who served as Director of Executive Communications at GE and now helps high-profile leaders across sectors become more effective communicators. A sought-after humor writer in Washington, Schnure began his communications career in the White House in 1993 as a speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore. He teaches speechwriting at American University and Johns Hopkins 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).

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.

 Vincent Rhodes

Vincent Rhodes

Vincent Rhodes, PhD, APR, is an expert in the use of visual technology to enhance leadership communication, and a popular speaker and teacher. He currently serves as Chief Communications & Marketing Officer at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

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.

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 Multi-Registry

Phone registrations please call 312-585-6383

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.

Cancellations Policy

No cancellations will be issued once the credentials to access videos have been provided.



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