Behind the Scenes: Learning Effective C-Suite Communications as a Ghostwriter

March 1, 2018

[martin barraud]
[martin barraud]

I’d like to start off by saying that I am not Peggy Noonan, who wrote speeches for former President Ronald Reagan and later parlayed that plum assignment into a lucrative career as an author, lecturer and columnist. I’m still waiting for a speaker’s bureau to call me. But, in the meantime, I’m here to share a few “lessons learned” during my time as a ghostwriter for top executives.

The foremost skill of any good ghostwriter is the ability to leave their ego at the door. Likewise, personal opinions and prejudices must also be left at the door. The ghostwriter’s primary challenge is to get inside the head of the person whose views are being articulated.

To accomplish that, I took advantage of every opportunity to be in the same room as my CEO. I paid attention to every conversational nuance that might reveal thought patterns or personality quirks that would be helpful for me to know.

I asked myself: Is my CEO domineering or gently persuasive? Do they like to pontificate or invite feedback? Is this person good with talking to regular people or only comfortable when dealing with individuals of a similar stature? A good ghostwriter must know the answers to these questions, which is why I took advantage of every opportunity to be a fly on the wall.

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