There’s a lot of attention these days on ROI. (I don’t mean “return on investment” in the accounting sense; I mean the you’d-think-it-would-go-without-saying-but-apparently-it-doesn’t sense that your communication activities should advance your organization toward some important goal in a measurable way.) People want to know if their communications channels and initiatives are earning their keep.
But there’s another group of people looking for a return on their investment in communications vehicles. They’re the folks we used to call the audience.
Their investment is their time and attention, whether it’s attending a presentation, watching an ad or engaging on Twitter. And the return can come in many forms: entertainment, inspiration, practical information, actionable insights. (The very least value you can offer is the fact that you’ll get out of the way soon and let people watch the next act of Burn Notice, once your ad and five others are done.)
In my past life as a speechwriter, there came a point when I started asking early in the process, “What can we offer the folks in the room?” instead of just “What do we want from them?” (Again, you’d think it would go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t.) And it fundamentally changed the response my speeches were getting… as well as my clients’ happiness with them. And it’s only become more important now that organizational communication is becoming more and more conversational.
The nice folks at Ragan.com have posted an article of mine with eight of my top speechwriting tips. If you’ve been looking to break in, or just been handed your first speechwriting assignment, why not check it out?