1-1 Inventory Speaker’s Source Material

You can watch a slidecast about the next several sections of the course below.

The speaker’s ideas are his or her intellectual property. The value of that intellectual property is dependent on the ability of the speaker to take those ideas and turn them into speeches and other products from which others can benefit.

It is critical that speakers have this information at their fingertips, because they are expected to give or at least describe speeches in very short time frames. The VSA can help the speaker get organized and be prepared to deliver a speech in the shortest possible time. Not only is time important, but the market expects instant customization of the material for the audience.

The VSAs Role in the Process

1. Gather all the speaker’s intellectual property. Use the Speaker’s IP Worksheet to remind the speaker of IP he or she may have forgotten.

2. Put everything into digital form – have all audio and video transcribed.

3. Organize the IP by topic or type, using the various worksheets and logs and depending on what the speaker wants and needs

4. Identify if all material is owned by the speaker or if the speaker quotes from others’ books, uses statistics, images or interviews. Getting permission to use these is discussed in Section 2-2.

5. Name the digital files and organize them in a way the speaker (and you) can easily find them.

Get Organized

1. Most speakers are subject-matter experts or have multiple speech topics related to their subjects, so one of the first things that might be helpful to the speaker is to take an inventory and list their speech topics. Sometimes they will have specific titles. But most of the time they will have general topics, such as leadership, change management, or marketing.

2. Speakers may just have handwritten notes, notes on various computer files, note cards or post it notes in files. The VSA can compile the relevant information into electronic format so it can be readily printed. You may need to type up notes or transcribe audio files. Speakers also have “keeper lines,” (those word and phrases that worked well in other speeches), stories and examples in their heads. This will be the most time consuming to inventory.

3. Finally, the VSA can organize the material electronically by topic and help the speaker get it on a laptop computer or tablets  (preferably backed up on your computer or another desktop computer that stays in the office). The speaker will probably be amazed at how much material there is to draw from.

4. Many speakers like to keep a list of what intellectual property they used by speech so if they talk to the same group again they won’t repeat themselves with the same stories.

Speaker’s IP Worksheet

Speaker Programs By Title and Description

IP Log

Excel Version of IP Log

Identify Original Material

When compiling source material for the speaker, it is important to make a distinction between the original work created by the speaker, and other material like statistics, illustrations and quotes that the speaker would like to use in his or her handouts, PowerPoints, white papers, etc., but that are not the speaker’s original work. The VSA can help the speaker determine if that material is in the public domain or if the speaker will need permission to use it.

If you have the original source document or a reference to the original source, make sure and keep that source name or contact info right with the information the speaker wants to use. This way there will be no confusion about what belongs to the author and what does not. That will help later in the permissions process. In the process of doing research, the VSA may find new and interesting information and can alert the speaker about it. This is a great help in keeping the speaker’s content ‘fresh.” A simple “heads up” will suffice and will make the VSA a valuable member of the team. VSAs who are proactive can charge premium fees.

Adopt a Way to Keep Files

The main ways to keep lists of speeches/files for speakers are by:

  • Industry
  • Speaking topic
  • Use the Speaker Program Log (downloadable at the bottom of this page) to help you categorize the speaker’s topics.
  • Event/audience/past speeches

Within those broader topics, the speaker may find it most useful to have a sub-organization as follows:

• Stories – There are certain stories that can cut across the topic lines

• Humor – You know there’s certain lines that speakers give for a variety of reasons in humor and those can cut across the topics as well.

• Openings

• Closings

• Body of the speech stories

• Savor lines or keepers which is industry jargon for humorous lines that you use when things go wrong. For example, when something goes wrong with technology, the speaker might look at the audience and say, “Now you know why I married for technical support”. When the speaker makes a mistake, he or she usually has a keeper line or a savor line that calls it into question so that people can laugh about it and go on.

It will be important to talk with the speaker about how he or she uses this information and wants the material to be organized. The better the information is organized and available, the more quickly a speaker can pull together just the right speech for the audience.

Next Steps

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