Survival tips for new speechwriters

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What You’ll Learn:: 

What if you could master a few pointers that would enable you to survive not only a zombie apocalypse, but the speechwriting process?

Pointers like “have your go-to weapon,” or “mastering the double-tap.”

Why, you would not only avoid an attack of brain-eating undead beings, you might also avoid dying of embarrassment because your speech fell flat.

Leave it to the U.S. Navy to come up with tactics that work in both fields—writing and zombie warfare.

“I have a list of rules for survival that will work for the speechwriting process, and if and when the zombie apocalypse occurs,” Clark says.

Join him, and learn how to:

  • Feed the beast: Create at little to no cost a homemade research database that stores everything you need for speechwriting and is accessible everywhere—from your computer or tablet to your smartphone
  • Limber up: You don't spend your life writing, reading or talking in speeches, so take these steps to get in the mood for speechwriting
  • Endure: Speechwriting can be a test of endurance. Make every step count
  • Revitalize the last half: This method for getting through the second half of speechwriting will extend your life—literally
  • Detach yourself from your prose darlings: You sweat, strain and toil on well-crafted paragraphs. They become like family. How to handle seeing them slaughtered with a stroke of someone else's red pen

Clark landed his job with minimal speechwriting credentials (though he’d been a communicator for two decades), yet he has now written over 100 speeches in 15 months. Gain from his experience.

Learn why survival depends on endurance: You have to be able to keep going and going and going.

Focus on the document. Whether you’re taking on a blank page or a legion of undead, it’s a marathon, not a sprint—unless it is a sprint; in that case, then sprint, Clark advises.

Learn the importance of the double-tap: “If a zombie comes toward you, shoot it once, that’s great. Shoot again, that’s thorough.”

Find out why you can’t write a good speech by “talking through your eyeballs, and editing that way.”

Gather tips on limbering up by reading poetry to get a lyrical voice in your head. Listen to audio of the people you’re trying to write for.

Have your go-to weapon, whether it’s a chainsaw to buzz zombies to bits, or the latest version of Evernote.

And find out why you should have no attachments—to words, that is. They may have to die when your leader crosses them out.

Start here—before it’s too late.

March 2013

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Presenter bio: 

Taylor Clark is a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran who has spent most of his working life in military public affairs, telling the Navy's story. He worked early in his career as a Navy journalist, interviewing everyone from heads of state to Oprah before becoming a public affairs officer. From the Navy SEALs to speechwriter for the secretary of the Navy, he has been around the world communicating the incredible work done by America's Away Team, the U.S. Navy.