Karl James & Company offers professional tips on a variety of marketing communications topics. This post offers executives insights on working with a ghost writer and preparing for presentations.

Executives all want to show up well for a variety reasons. These range from professional to personal. All are busy. Some look to ghost writers to generate ideas and voice without much input. Few take as much time as Steve Jobs in preparing for a presentation. Famous for taking 48 hours or more with his executive team in the room. Rehearsing, tweaking, tearing it apart prior to presenting.


Pro Tips for Executives Considering a Ghost Writer

  1. Spend time with the writer you expect to capture your voice.
  2. View your ghost writer as a long-term investment to reap efficiencies. This person will become your persona in your public-facing communications. Time together makes it easier to replicate your voice, delivery style, messaging preferences, etc.
  3. Communicate the outcomes expected of each messaging moment.

Pro Tips for Executive Presentation Preparation

  1. Understand the audience, existing perceptions, venue logistics for each opportunity.
  2. Ensure all-hands on deck when rehearsing the speech aloud.
  3. If you expect to be perceived as unrehearsed, make sure you rehearse.
  4. Practice on-camera, perfecting body-language, stage movement, pace.
  5. Deliver to small groups, pre-testing messages, laugh-lines, emotional responses.
  6. Understand the value of visuals and music and even scents in creating an atmosphere.
  7. Prepare for the unexpected question, comment, outburst. Be able to pivot back to your message.
  8. If you’re a nervous type, exercise a few hours prior to speech delivery. Get plenty of water intake. It will help keep you calm.

More Tips for Selecting Ghost Writers

Your Speechwriter: An Operator’s Manual Interesting look into the mind—and oft-times mysterious—persona of professional speechwriters. Submitted by Professional Speechwriters Association Executive Director David Murray to The Public Relations Strategist by the Public Relations Society of America.

More Speech-Writing Links (via Vital Speeches of the Day)

All the Top Speaking News

An online clearinghouse of dozens of blogs on public speaking, speechwriting and leadership communication.


A searchable, public-domain collection of great American speeches—text, audio and video.

Figures of Speech Served Fresh

Rhetorician Jay Heinrichs “rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls.”

Gotham Ghostwriters Blog

Insights about the business of speechwriting and ghostwriting, from the leading writing firm.

Joan Detz’s Blog

The beloved author and speechwriter coach offers seasoned advice on the craft and the business of speechwriting.

Podium Pundits

Former Republican and Democratic presidential speechwriters come together “to analyze and comment on major speeches, messaging strategy, and the business of communications.”

New York Speechwriters Roundtable

Speechwriter Dana Rubin convenes regular meetings and sends job notices and other useful information for New York-based speechwriters.

Presentation Zen

Presentation design guru Garr Reynolds writes about how to create tasteful visuals and deliver authentic messages.

Professionally Speaking

Freelance ghost Ian Griffin’s speechwriterly view of the world.


ReputationXchange.com is a blog written by Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist.

Speechwriting 2.0

Veteran corporate speechwriter Fletcher Dean gives his instructive take on the news of the day.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

A collection of videos talks from the exclusive annual TED conference: “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.”

The Eloquent Woman

Washington-based communication consultant Denise Graveline shares “inspiration, ideas and information to help women with public speaking techniques, eloquence and confidence.”

Tough Talk for Hard Times

Jeff Porro is a speechwriter for Fortune 250 CEOs, diplomats, and other government leaders, as well as executives of some of the nation’s leading trade and professional associations.

UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Training and networking for speechwriters in the United Kingdom

Visually Speaking

Speaking and presentation coach Tom Mucciolo offers his wisdom in bite-sized chunks on his blog.

Washington Speechwriters Roundtable

The Washington Speechwriters’s Roundtable is a casual alliance of speechwriters in the Washington, D.C. area who are interested in professional camaraderie, sharpening skills, sharing resources, and exchanging war stories.

Writing Boots

The personal blog of Vital Speeches editor David Murray, on “freelance journalism, business communication and other ways to earn a happy living on cheap talk.”

Karl James & Company experience developing messaging, commentary and speeches runs the gamut. State of the organization. Annual meetings. Media commentary. Employee meetings. Political debates. Digital interviews and most every venue between.