Last week I had an e-mail exchange with the head of Speeches4Less, an organization that promises to write corporate speeches for as low as $7 per 500 words.
I can’t go into details, because the gentleman who runs the thing is a law school graduate. He abruptly cut the exchange off and in a dark tone that he must have learned in law school, asked me to keep the conversation confidential.
All I can tell you is what I would tell any person who claimed to be able to give people a speech for cheap:
Speechwriting isn’t expensive because clients are stupid enough to pay. It’s expensive because it (ostensibly) involves talented writers spending real time getting to know clients who really want to communicate something specific to a particular group of people. That’s what communication is. What you’re doing almost necessarily disregards the speaker, the occasion and the audience in favor of operational efficiency. It doesn’t do anybody any good—especially first-class speechwriters, who often have to fight the utterly incorrect impression that communication is easy and should come cheap.
I would ask the person to ask, “What kind of business am I in? Am I doing some good in the world? Or am I just contributing more banality to a world already bathing in it?”
Come to think of it, that’s a question we all ought to ask ourselves—even fancy-pants types, who make more than teenage babysitters.