Your words or mine?

Is it cheating to get someone to write your speech or job application? 

It’s not uncommon for a quizzical vibe to get thrown my way when people learn about some of the stuff I’ve been working on, like I’m crossing some kind of professional-personal frontier.

In the past few weeks I’ve tinkered with a couple of speeches and job applications – and copped curious comments chatting about that work at a magazine launch and in the local supermarket.

On social media a few weeks back I mentioned a ‘love job’ advising my nephew on his pitch for the school captaincy. He asked for help (sign of a good leader). He got the nod. The quality of his speech – and the support he got – was the topic of an aisle three conversation that I happened to walk past.   

Nephew Ned had been stuck starting out that speech. Over a breaky brainstorm we talked about why he wanted to be school captain, what leadership meant to him, what he uniquely offered and could realistically deliver. We reviewed the context by taking a look at the criteria, school values and the characteristics of the other candidates.

Our conversation led to an authentic way for him to talk with the school audience and show them who he was. He went home, wrote the spiel and came back in the evening for a practice-run and a little strategic editing.



This collaborative brain picking approach is integral to my paid gigs too – for speeches, job applications and all types of business writing projects.

External prompts guide people to reflect, see themselves and find their story. The words that emerge are authentic, considered and wholly different from buying a cookie cutter something online.

People find writing about themselves really difficult. They often undersell themselves. But because the words we come up with feel real and can be owned, they renew a client’s confidence and enthusiasm.

Through the briefing process a client gets opened up to seeing themselves strategically and with a fresh perspective. Gaps are filled. Doubts allayed. So when I write or edit for them, there’s substance to the style. They can put their best foot forward and confidently walk the talk on stage, or in any job interview.

After a bit of time working with people you become familiar with their thinking, what’s important to them and their context. The grunt work is in the conversations.

Yet even in the iterative process of recent speech #2 (a regular client about to be launched on the Beyond Blue speakers’ circuit), there were a few words or phrases I’d written that we subsequently tweaked. It all had to feel natural for him to share out loud with a room full of strangers.


So, if the writer supports you to maintain integrity and substance that you can back up with the goods, it’s not cheating at all to hire a bespoke wordsmith. It’s a clever use of resources to tout your wares.

You can access varying levels of support; from a brainstorm session, to editing your draft or having words written for you. What you get will depend on budget, time frames and experience.   

Don’t hire someone who will just go away and write something for you. Find a curious professional with a collaborative approach, whose goal is to help you find your voice and bring forth the right words for the project.

If you want to learn more you can call me on 0400 096 313.