leanor Foa Dienstag


Are you looking for a world-class speechwriter for yourself or your client? If so, you've come to the right place.

It's well documented that everyone, including experienced executives, are terrified of public speaking. Knowing that you have a first-rate speech to deliver takes the terror out of—and puts the pleasure back into—public speaking. (If you're about to deliver a speech, see "Ten Tips Before You Speak," below.)

Everyone needs a speechwriter because, in the words of Mark Twain, "It takes three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."

You wouldn't be invited to make a speech unless you were an expert. But you won't be invited back unless you communicate your expertise with style, grace and verve.

I am an experienced, award-winning freelance speechwriter. I know how to help you craft your central message and underscore your concluding message, gear the tone of your speech to the level of your audience, avoid common mistakes of amateur presenters, and help you think about how to promote your speech beyond its initial podium. I also know how to capture your voice, tone and style, as well as employ the secrets of great rhetorical writing to captivate your audience.

As chief speechwriter to American Express Chairman and CEO Jim Robinson III—and one of the first female speechwriters on Wall Street—I received numerous professional awards for my work.

Today, as a freelance speechwriter, I continue to write for CEOs, senior executives and public officials throughout the U.S.

Below is a partial client list, as well as testimonials by satisfied clients.

Partial Client List

"Thanks for the spectacular speech."
Tommaso Zanzotto
(former) President, Travel Services, U.S.A.
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

"Eleanor's executive speechwriting skills were of great value on a broad range of subjects, ranging from industry marketing matters all the way to corporate public affairs. I would not hesitate to recommend her as a seasoned pro who can capture the message and tone suited to her client."
Karin Timpone, (former) Corporate Communications/PR Director

"Eleanor, it was a pleasure for Ray, Naomi and me to work with you. We not only received some superb speeches which can be used or tailored for many future presentations, but we also learned some excellent techniques in speech writing."
MaryAnne Rasmussen, (former) Vice President
World Wide Quality Assurance
American Express Travel Related Services Company (TRS), Inc.

10 Tips Before You Speak

  1. Do you have a brochure or document that describes the background and history of your organization?

  2. Could you give me the precise time, place and date of the event, as well as the title and agenda of the conference?

  3. What's the format: panel discussion? speech plus questions and answers from the audience? informal seminar?

  4. Would you give me a description of the room and the speaking arrangements? Will there be a lectern and microphone? Will I sit at the head table? What kind of electronic facilities are available?

  5. How large an audience is expected? What is the nature of the audience? If they are businesspeople, what level—managers, senior vice presidents, CEOs—and from which types of companies? How knowledgeable are they on the subject I will be talking about?

  6. Do you have a list of previous speakers? If possible, could you send me copies of the speeches they've made to your group?

  7. Will there be other speakers? Who are they? Can you send me their bios?

  8. Who will introduce me and does that person need my bio or a written introduction?

  9. Will the press be invited? Will there be a formal press conference on an informal Q and A session? Will a photographer be present?

  10. Are speech reprints required for the press, the audience or to be mailed out later? Will the speech be taped?