Few authors have the chance to be as influential as a professional speech writer. By combining research, memorable anecdotes and the proper turn of phrase, you can impact the opinions of millions of people. Of course, not everyone who writes speeches ends up working for a high-level politician; you can also pursue this career in the business sector. With the right college degree and set of experience, you can find a full-time job that combines your love of writing and research. But how to become a speech writer?
Can I Write Speeches If I Don’t Like Politics?
When you think about a career as a speech writer, you might think of glamorous, high-energy roles shaping the future of the country. However, the reality of political speech writing is not as exciting as you may think. If you aren’t passionately committed to politics, you may not enjoy writing speeches in a political environment. You should still consider a career in speech writing. Many non-political organizations need your services. Think about conventions, professional development meetings and award ceremonies. They all require professionally written speeches for their keynote speakers. You can find a job working directly for an organization or a leading public figure and focus on the subjects you find most important.
What College Degree Do I Need as a Speech Writer?
Although you don’t need a specific bachelor’s degree to find a job writing speeches, some fields will be more helpful than others. Any course of study that emphasizes research and writing skills will give you a good foundation. This means English, journalism, communications and rhetoric programs are a good starting point. If you know what type of speech writing you’d like to do, studying related topics will be useful. Writing business speeches will be easier with a bachelor’s degree in business, and political speeches require a good understanding of history, political science and philosophy. Overall, some combination of building an area of expertise and learning how to write effectively would be ideal. This means you should consider earning dual bachelor’s degrees or pursuing a minor to round out your education.
You don’t need a master’s degree to find a job writing speeches, but it can help your job prospects and your ability to craft prose. This is especially true if you’re considering a career switch into professional speech writing and you want to improve your writing abilities. Rounding out your educational background with a master’s degree in communications or English can be a smart move for your long-term prospects. Many of these programs offer part-time options, night classes or online coursework so you can keep working while advancing your career.
How Do I Gain Experience Writing Speeches?
The best way to build up your resume and portfolio is to get started writing speeches. They won’t be perfect right away, but they will be a strong learning opportunity. Look for student organizations in your college that will give you a platform for speeches; political clubs, business-oriented groups and student government bodies are a good starting point. You can also get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters International or civic involvement group.
Choose a college major that will give you the right background for crafting speeches and look for opportunities to practice in low-risk environments. Combining formal education and real-life experience is the best way to become a speech writer.