Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Today in Freelance Fingerprints

The Big Question for Any Relationship
by: Neil Millar

I’ve got one big question. It’s a question that will make everything in your relationship completely worthwhile… even the bits that get on your nerves and cause you head and heart aches…

It’s the type of question you wouldn’t ordinarily ask - but that’s okay, because you didn’t know to ask it… until now!

For most people, relationships don’t go smoothly. Undercurrents, disputes, emotions, periods, children, habits, morals, values, work hours and workloads, these are just a few of the kind of things that can cause conflicts. But what if I told you something…

What if I told you it’s not about the issue?

To read more please go Freelance Fingerprints


#Daily Writing Tip :

Don't Put Off Retiring Because You Don't Want to Give a Speech
by Susan Dugdale

For many people one of retirement's biggest hurdles is not what they're going to do afterwards but what they're expected to do on the way. The part of the rite of passage causing all the anxiety is the retirement speech.

Understandably, most people want to say something of value. They would like to be warm, witty and wise. The fear is they'll be the opposite. They'll stutter around, mutter a few clichés, and forgetting whom they wanted to honor or thank stumble off the stage.

That image is so awful the search begins for a free retirement speech: a pre-prepared template. The thinking goes along the lines of: 'once I weave in my personal details nobody will know the difference.' Then all they'll have to do is print it off and deliver.

What they don't realize is individualizing a speech is going to take time just as it's going to take time to find a suitable ready-made template in the first place.

So if you don't want to pay a professional speechwriter to craft a unique speech, then the solution is to spend the time you would ferreting for a flexible freebie, writing your own.

The keys to writing the retirement speech you'll be proud to deliver are straightforward.

*Give yourself time. Don't do a last minute rush.

*Collect your ideas together. You may wish to use these headings as starting points. Put down as much as you can under each. Do not self-edit. Let the ideas flow. You will trim, add or delete later.

I remember...
The future...

This is your raw material. Once you have it, you're ready for the next step: preparing to shape it in order to write your speech.

Before you begin the actual writing consider:

*How long the speech is expected to be. Is it the standard 3-5 minutes or more?

*Where is the speech to take place? This will help you decide tone: informal or formal, light or solemn.

*What is the theme or main underlying idea you want running through your speech to unite it?

*Do you want to use quotations at the beginning or end of it? If you do, you'll find
a retirement themed collection here ready for your use.

And now you are ready to write.

Go back through your notes, selecting what you want to suit the theme you've chosen. You'll need an opening (setting the tone and introducing your theme), a middle (expanding your theme with, depending on the time allowance, 2-3 main points and examples) and a conclusion which generally summarizes and reinforces your opening idea/theme.

When writing, 'write out loud'. That is write as though you are talking to a respected friend. Use your natural vocabulary and speech rhythms. This will guarantee the speech fits you well. Your audience will know when they hear it; it comes from you and nobody else.

Once you've done the first draft, read it aloud. Listen carefully, making sure the ideas follow sequentially, the tone is appropriate and that it fits the time allocated. A good idea is to try it out on a friend for feedback. Another pair of ears will pick up impossible leaps of logic needing transitions to make sense or omissions such as people you've inadvertently forgotten to include.

When you're satisfied make a final copy. If you intend to read it, use a large clear font. If you are going to use cue cards write clearly and use one per main idea. Number them for safety.

Before delivering your speech, allow yourself time for at least three rehearsals. This will ensure you know the flow and be able to speak with confidence.

Go well. Retire with aplomb.

For more about writing & rehearsing retirement speeches go to
You'll even find a helpful sample, not to use as a template but to give you ideas!

About the Author

Susan Dugdale is a former English and drama teacher who now freelance writes when she's not playing on her website:


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