How to use AI to write a heartwarming wedding speech overnight (and sound like you spent weeks on it)

Some of the most important storytelling moments for me are at weddings.

Let’s face it. We have witnessed the ramblers.

We have witnessed the deeply personal stories that stay with you.

This brings me to this March. My friend Christian is getting married in Rio de Janeiro. He and I pretty much came with the furniture when the Nasdaq Marketsite opened for broadcasting in 1999.

  • Those of us who get up at 2:30 and 3:00 am to do morning television are a special breed.

  • Those early morning hours require a special kind of person.

  • Those early morning hours bind us in a way others day parts do not.

By 4am, I was working on scripts to get on the air. He was on his way in to put up ticker symbols of the stocks I would be referencing. Christian would always call to ask what I wanted for breakfast.

Times Square, pre-Starbucks and Jorge’s empanada stall, was a food desert on a good day.

Much less at 4am.

He would bring me egg sandwiches, a can of Red Bull, and coffee the way I like it (half a cup of milk. one Splenda). I would run up a tab with him like an egg and cheese sandwich bookie. A few weeks later, he would gently remind me that I owed him money.

I could never think straight at those hours.

Nonetheless, after a few romantic missteps, he has met the love of his life. Brazil has always had a special place in his heart and he’s now marrying a woman native to it.

I used to be able to spend hours drafting speeches. But running a business and organizing the pieces of travel mean I have less time to devote to my writing. Nonetheless I want to give this speech and still make it sound like I spent weeks.

Cue an AI-powered app called “Verble,” designed to put would-be wedding guest out of his or her speech making misery.

Step 1. The app prompts you to set the scene:

There is a drop down menu that allows you to choose

  • Based on ‘what you want to do’ (give a speech)

  • Based on whom you are addressing (friends at a wedding, some I know, some I don’t)

  • Based on how much time I have: 3 minutes tops

  • Based on tone: Entertaining.

Step 2 The app asked me 8 questions about Christian

Memories we had together working those early morning hours. What’s the kindest thing about him? Questions I would ask as a public speaking coach.

I put the answers in the ‘blender.’

Step 3 The app created possible titles for the speech and themed them

It prompted me to create a draft.

Step 4. It wrote out 3 possible speech parts for me

Step 5. It prompted me, “Which of the 3 to improve?”

Should it include a rhetorical question? An analogy? I chose a trend or tipping point

 

Step 6. It drafted a conclusion

by asking me, what tipping point I would choose. I said, “When you find a gem, you show up for them.” The app neatly tied that quality together with the pandemic and his soon to be wife.

 

 

Step 7 If the draft passes muster, I email it to myself

Conclusion: Its hard to stare at a blank page and start to write.

I live in New York City.

Not in a convent in the South of France (although some days it’s what I need).

Verble doesn’t produce the brand of storytelling I am known for, BUT, it does ask the right questions and laid out the bones of a speech in the making. I can embellish in real time or I can expand what I heard, saw, touched, felt on the plane.

For a less seasoned writer, I can see how this there is still an opportunity for me to work with a client. Interview them and draw out the more descriptive elements. This so the audience can activate ‘mirror neurons’ and start to imagine what the storyteller heard, smelled, tasted and felt in the moment.  

Now on to this week’s newsletter

One leadership tip

Narayan Pant’s 4-step self-transformation method for leaders eager to ignite change (and it starts within you)

One public speaking tip

Bianca Barratt’s insight on boundaries: Master the art of collaborative respect (it’s about teaching, not restricting)

One adventure tip

Evora, Portugal for my next VIP Day


 

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