Once a famous author went off to a foreign country to discover his inner self. After a year, he returned after having discovered, “I have none.”
What are we really doing as speechwriters and executive communication professionals? What is our higher purpose? Why has society made a position for us, however small?
“Write down my thoughts as if I had them.” That’s how a Fortune 100 speechwriter once described the assignment.
Another speechwriter responded to my question about how he measures the success of a speech: “If the boss is happy, the speech was a success.”
Speechwriters are loathe to ascribe moral virtue to their work.
“Impelling the civilization in which he lived towards its assigned goal of freedom and justice,” was the purpose of the speaker as described by Irish speech anthologist Tom Kettle.
Do speechwriters dare to make the claim that their work contributes to humanity’s never-ending groping for the truth? That, the better they do their job, the more clearly does the world see the ideas, good or bad, of their clients? That speechwriters, when they are fulfilling their highest purpose, expose the minds of the world’s leaders to the world’s citizens, that the citizens may judge those minds as wanting, or worthy?
Or am I reaching?