Ep 19: How to Give a Great Speech (with Elaine Bennett)

by Joan Garry

How do you write and give a great speech that excites and inspires your audience about your organization? Elaine Bennett tells you how to do just that.


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We all know the difference between a great speech and a boring one. The one where you can’t wait to hear the end of the story vs. the one where you’re checking your phone.

How do you write and give a great speech that excites and inspires your audience about your organization? Today’s guest, Elaine Bennett, tells you how to do just that.

Whether you’re a staff leader, the development director giving a major donor pitch, or a board chair representing the organization, you need to be able to capture people’s attention and get them interested and curious about your organization.

In this podcast, Elaine Bennett offers really practical, actionable takeaways on how to improve your ability to give a truly great speech.

Who Is Elaine Bennett?

Elaine Bennett is an award-winning speechwriter who has worked with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (including Warren Buffett!) and has helped people in fields from financial and professional services to nonprofits and politics deliver better speeches.

She won the Cicero Award for best-written speech on diversity in 2011 for Barry Salzberg, the CEO of Deloitte.

She is so passionate about great writing that she started a coaching business, Bennett Ink, to help people create more of it.

Elaine’s stated mission is “To make the world more interesting one sentence at a time.” Elaine enjoys bringing unexpected touches to business speeches, using humorous anecdotes and bits of history to illuminate even the most serious topics.

She has a lot to teach all of us about delivering a terrific speech.

In This Episode:

  • The 3 elements of a great speech
  • A crazy connection that happens between the speaker and audience (hint: it involves brain waves)
  • 3 questions you can ask yourself to help you write your speech
  • The difference (with examples) between a gala speech that is “endured” vs. a memorable one people actually want to listen to
  • The 3 most common mistakes of speechwriters
  • How to overcome the curse of knowledge when writing a speech (or anything else)
  • It’s not enough to write a great speech… you also have to know how to best deliver it (Elaine gives advice on this as well)

Episode Links:

2 thoughts on “Ep 19: How to Give a Great Speech (with Elaine Bennett)”

  1. Perfect timing! I listened to this episode twice – once as part of my weekly routine, and the second time I paused it while I drafted remarks for an upcoming event. Thank you for providing this resource.