We schedule a 45-minute phone call–a FaceTime or Skype session is even better–during which we learn everything we need to know about your relationship with and feelings about the subject of your speech. First we prompt you to identify what makes the individual, group or organization about which you’re speaking unique. We push you to describe some of the most important interactions you’ve shared with him, her or them and articulate what makes this occasion so very special to you and to them.
We prepare a draft for you to review and come back to us with any suggested edits. If we’ve given too much weight to a particular element or not enough to another, we’re happy to make whatever revisions you feel are necessary.
Since this is a collaborative effort, creating an effective channel of communication is the critical first step in the process. You are the source of all information and insights; in other words, you know what you want to say. We must connect on a sufficiently meaningful level—and establish trust in each other—in order to facilitate the flow of facts, the passing of perceptions and the imparting of impressions that will put us in position to prepare your remarks. We must depend on each other to achieve our common goal, which is to come up with an uncommon presentation.
We may not use it all, and you’ll have a chance to delete anything you decide is not for everyone to hear, but we encourage you to err on the side of over-communicating during our session. You’re our only source for what we need to draft a speech or toast, which means it’s your job to provide any and all information that might find its way into the draft. We review it, figure out how best to organize/present it and provide you with a product we’re convinced is a crowd-pleasing oration for the occasion.
That’s a question only you can answer. We’ve never been known to shy away from the challenge of finding the right words to commend, critique or “heckle” the subject of your speech. There’s almost always a way to say something that comes right up to the line of good taste or appropriateness without crossing it. Of course, you need to have a comfort level, both with regard to short-term (in the moment) and long-term (future relationships) consequences. We’re certainly willing to “go for it,” but these are your family, friends or business associates. You make the call!