Is it a bird, a plane, or....a speechwriter?

Barbie Tootle. With a name like that she has to be fun. And true to form, Barbie's TEDx Talk on speechwriting is a romp through the subject. Like a wordsmith should, she makes her point early. Barbie wants people to know that speechwriting is more than an art; it involves some magic too. And, to show she's serious, she opens a briefcase, pulls out a silver cape and puts it on with panache.

Barbie also takes on people who think writing words for others is "sort of sleazy". "If I do my job can't tell the difference between what [my clients] say and what I craft for them... I disappear as if by magic."

Whether or not you wear a cape, aim to put some magic into your speeches. Here are three ways to do it, according to Barbie.

• Respect your audience - Make a connection that shows you've done some homework and you know who your listeners are.

• Write for the ear - People love word play, so use alliteration and other devices that sound interesting.

• Be unpredictable - Take a lesson from the college president who gave the following advice to students at commencement: "Always call home; always show gratitude for a kindness; and always open the bag before you leave the drive thru window." People easily follow and remember things stated in a group of three; and, when the last item in the list is unexpected, it can also create gentle humour.