Before making a collection of my columns one in the Professional Speechwriters Association's series of free, downloadable “Thinking Out Loud” whitepapers, I hesitated.
I worried that it was self-indulgent for the editor of Vital Speeches and the PSA’s executive director to publish his own thoughts on leadership communication for the whole association membership. I also worried that it was dangerous to risk sharing opinions, most of them having been written not as a self-consciously neutral editor or an association chief hoping to please his paying membership—but rather as simply a communication observer, trying to provoke readers to read my personal blog Writing Boots or visit this website.
Actually, I knew that publishing this collection was both a little self-indulgent and a little risky. But I decided to do it anyway, because—well, because doing so is an example of the kind of leadership communication that I most speechwriters I know are always wishing their bosses would stick their necks out and provide.
People want to know who their leaders are and what their leaders think. I’m not your boss, but I do lead your professional association, and I want every PSA members who wants to know, to know what I think about the leadership communication issues that I think are important. And I want to know what you think, too. Agreement isn’t important, but understanding is, on issues like the ones I address here:
• The social purpose of speechwriting—possibilities and limitations.
• How to inspire leaders to dare to be interesting.
• How to eschew your authorial pride without losing the ego that makes writing possible.
• High hopes, and long odds—the psychology of a speechwriter.
• The speechwriter’s role in helping leaders be more authentic.
You should and I trust you will take these pieces for what they are: Nothing like official policy papers from the Professional Speechwriters Association. Simply the candid expressions of the PSA’s founder and leader, who has been around speechwriters and speechwriting for 25 years.
Of course I hope you also find some of this stuff thought-provoking and fun to read.
I love communication—and figuring out how it works (and how it does not).
And I know you do too.
That’s why we’re friends.
And above all, if you’re inspired to tell me what you think, don’t you hesitate. —DM