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The Beached Whale Syndrome

The Beached Whale Syndrome

You may have heard about – and let me assure you I have no personal knowledge of, nor can I possibly comment on – the syndrome that has over the generations been ascribed by some women to some of their male romantic partners. And it invariably seems to be males who suffer from the malady.

I am referring of course to what has been popularly known as the beached whale syndrome.

Some of you undoubtedly know the drill. After an all too short period of connubial coupling, the male of the species grunts, and then flops over in satisfaction like a beached whale. And before his lady partner has had a chance to light a cigarette, he is snoring away, oblivious to the glares – or the text messaging going on beside him.

So, how on earth does this relate to writing speeches for our clients, you may well ask?

It goes like this. A client approaches you – almost on bended knee – to “please, please, please take on this speech assignment even though we can only give you a few days notice to get the first draft in.” And they metaphorically wine and dine you until you give in to their blandishments and sweet talk about more work to come – if you just do this one favour for them.

So you do the slow dance, and as the speech gets developed, and the drafts completed, and when you have confirmed they are happy with the exchange, you ask only one thing of them. That once the deed is done and the speech delivered that they let you know how it went.

Perhaps even better, could they spend some time on the phone with you on a short post-mortem conversation – on what worked and what didn’t – and how collectively you might do even better in the future. And they say of course they will be happy to talk to you in the morning.

So what happens? All the pre-coupling sweet-talking is cast aside like a forgotten heap of cast off clothes. Once the speech is given they too roll over like a satisfied bloated whale.

And all you wanted to know was what they were thinking.

The truth is once a speech is over and done with – they aren’t thinking about you at all. They are on to their next conquest.

Despite this lack of post-canoodling care and consideration for their newly discovered and most attentive speechwriter, which can be frustrating in the extreme, you know – and they know – that they will approach you again for a last-minute date, and will once again promise you the world.

And you know – and they know – you will say yes.

Such can be the life of a speechwriter. Or so I’ve heard. I couldn’t possibly comment.

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