ALI Conferences hosted The 2nd Annual Executive Communications & Speech Writing Conference on May 6-8, 2019 in historic Boston near Fenway Park. Communicators from around the country met in Boston to benchmark best practices and hear from leading professionals at top organizations, including American Cancer Society, Abbvie, Oracle, and ASPCA.
At the beginning of the conference, we asked the attendees what their biggest challenges were when it came to executive communications and speechwriting. Here is what they said:
- Encouraging a shy, but very talented executive, with knowledge and experience, to be in front of a crowd.
- Helping leaders and executives display more genuinely in their communications.
- Blocking out enough time to work with a busy executive on their communication plan.
- Having each executive keep their own unique voice, while still matching the overall tone or brand of the organization.
- Encouraging an organizational-wide communication change—Making sure that more internal employees are onboard with the company missions, rather than external audiences.
- Understanding that each executive is different—Some may need a script and others work well without one.
- Learning how to say “no” to other departments’ communication plans in favor of higher priorities.
Over the next two days, attendees experienced interactive sessions and took home new strategies to implement back in the office. Here are their biggest takeaways:
- Getting to the point! Don’t write too much for the sake of filling time or space. People won’t remember what you say, but what you mean.
- All executives have different styles of communicating—Figure out the ways in which they are strong and use those strengths to your advantage.
- It is not one size fits all! New strategies on how to customize ways to work with unique leaders.
- If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it enough. Go back to the drawing board and do more research.
- Speeches that contain 1-2 points are easier for your audience to remember. Weave in a story to help drive the point home.
- The reach of your employees is bigger than the reach of your leaders & institutional voice—Ask for help from employees who can disseminate your communications with ease.
- Increase trust in your leaders and executives by having them partner with employees who can speak about their great experiences at work and with organizational changes.