Have you ever noticed that speech anthologies, which speakers and speechwriters of all persuasions often use to cull quotes from to spice up their remarks, are dominated by quotable men? Author Denise Graveline did, and to remedy this inequity, she recently shared a series of databases, libraries, and academic papers she turns to for women's words of wisdom on everything from quantum theory to the quest for work/life balance.
We asked Heather Hurlburt, one of our favorite and most esteemed female speechwriting friends, for her tips on how to keep the voice of other women in your work. Here are her top suggestions:
1. Quote the client's friends, colleagues, and peers
2. Have a couple of women thinkers/speakers/public figures that you admire and enjoy keeping up with; then be ready to insert their thoughts into your client's speeches!
3. Women can and should name check other women often; nobody takes off style points for it. Some men get nervous about whether a woman speechwriter will make them sound too feminine. In my experience, those are people you don't want as clients anyway, because they will find something to be insecure and obnoxious about. Men who don't suffer from this insecurity can humanize themselves marvelously by confidently quoting women, including -- when all else fails -- homespun wisdom attributed to mom or grandma. If Secretary of State Jim Baker can confidently quote female Russian poets, so can lots of other guys!
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