Bill Clinton and JFK did it.
I bet Michelle Obama and Matthew McConaughey and Tim Cook do it. (They've been singled out as being especially good at it this year.)
I'm guessing that Trump probably doesn't do it as much as he should.
And, according to The New York Times, more and more people-CEOs and everyday Joe's-are jumping on the bandwagon and hiring a speechwriter. That way, they can ensure they put their best foot forward when making a toast, introducing a business venture, or explaining complicated scenarios.
While getting input and direction for talks and speeches is common in business and politics, it's now more in demand for social situations. People called upon to make wedding toasts, bat or bar mitzvah remarks, congratulations at retirement dinners, and heartfelt tributes at birthday parties, etc., are asking pros to keep them from looking like schmoes.
That's because more and more, those remarks and tributes and toasts pop up on YouTube. They stay there for anyone to view-and review-for a very long time.
No one wants to look stupid. But also, people are recognizing the special opportunity they have when they are asked to make a speech. It's a moment in time when they can honestly-and eloquently-tell another person how much they love or respect or admire him or her.
Some tips from pros:
- It's a toast, not a roast
Don't bring up silly antics or disturbing stories that may chagrin or rattle the honoree. Let what happened in Vegas stay in Vegas.
- 70 percent humor, 30 percent sincerity
If comedy is your style, have your speechwriter work with you to include humorous stories, jokes, harmless jabs, etc. But aim for heartfelt sentiment as well. Let the person know what they mean to you and that you care.
- Keep it short. Then make it shorter.
None of your listeners will be as enthralled with your speech as you are. Leave the podium quickly, and you'll leave them wanting more.
Don't be shy or embarrassed. Getting help is a good way to make sure what you say is the right thing to the people who matter most.