Lessons from Lee Iacocca

Networking works when you are sharing information with others and not always asking someone to help you out.

I have a good example of this: The other day I received an email from Jeff Porro, a speechwriter with whom I’ve worked and also the winner of the 2010 Cicero Award for Best Commencement Speech. He was sharing an article he wrote based on interviews with Lee Iacocca’s speechwriting team, on how today’s execs can inspire employees and customers alike with candor and a great narrative.

Most likely, I would not have come upon the article on my own, and yet the article contained valuable information for me. I write speeches and am a guest lecturer.

When writing I sometimes get caught up in trying to convey specific information. That’s important, but there is something that is even more important, Iacocca says.  “In every speech I give, the object is to motivate.”

When I speak, I’m often sharing case studies or best practices so for me, it’s about motivating my audience to adopt or embrace the practice or, at the least, consider how they are working and if it’s optimal.

I also learned that Iacocca “always spoke from a script, never spoke off the cuff,” according to one of his speech writers. The key, though, was that he rehearsed it until his delivery sounded natural and relaxed.

Speech writing and speech delivery is not easy, which is why considerable time must be devoted to both aspects.

Thanks for sharing the article Jeff!