You’re worth more than “less than $500”

Last night, browsing through Elance speechwriting jobs, I came across a surprising job post:

“I am looking for a professional speech writer to write me a speech about peace and a possible solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict. This is an intern and I am expected to speak in front of many people including professors, the press, etc… I am representing someone’s idea of an Israeli Palestinian confederation. The speech should focus on this idea and also speak about the importance of peace and between both sides. The speech should be no more the 10-15 minutes long.”

Budget: Less than $500.

Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! A conflict of Biblical proportions played out over centuries for which many have given their lives. A dispute over which scholars, activists, diplomats and heads of state have labored tirelessly to solve.
And I could have done it all with a speech on the cheap.

Forgive me for having fun with this posting. However, what surprised me on the Elance site was that this kind of request was not singular. Almost all the speeches advertised with budgets of “less than $500” for pretty significant work.

Here’s another: “I am looking for a Speech Writer to help me with a 30-minute speech. My audience is Women in Business, and the finished project will: Have a deep storyline as an intro; Discuss the problems women have in business, and How can I help solve these problems. The speech style should be engaging and entertaining, with a high feminine appeal, and somewhat edgy.”

Budget: Less than $500.

Here’s one I like: “Need a speech about consciousness. First part should be about consciousness, how it works and what it is and then to follow up with that a person should do whatever they can to expand their own consciousness or mix in the message in the first part. I expect you to have an understanding of the subject and not just do the research.”

Budget? Less than $500.

Hey, I’m just as conscious as the next person. I could do this.

This one sounds even more challenging:

“I need to deliver a speech to a Catholic high school about my belief in God. The speech needs to be about 35 minutes long. I have written the bare bones of the speech, about 1400 words. I need someone to take what I’ve written and transform it into an attention-getting, inspiring and memorable speech. Speech will be given to high school students. You can interview me for further content after you get the job.”

Budget: Less than $500.

Perhaps not.

How about this?

“I need comedy dialogue for a roast I will be attending in a couple of weeks. My friend is celebrity status, he is rude, crude and nothing seems to offend him. I can give many more details, like what he does for a living, nicknames, etc. Please contact me ASAP.”

Budget: Less than $500.

These ads give me a chuckle, but seeing them reminds me just how undervalued speechwriters and their skills often are. Little do many people realize the time, energy, creativity, thoughtfulness, craft and out-and-out writing talent it takes to research and compose a compelling and engaging speech. Not to mention the confidence and easy-going personality required to work with diverse clients.

Less than $500? Keep it.

Cynthia Starks is a freelance speechwriter based in Central Indiana.

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