Meeting Notes

Scriptwriting Workshop, Steve Hirschberg, Radio news reporter of WVXU-FM

Members of the Cincinnati Tri State Chapter of NIRI met on March 23 for a scriptwriting workshop. Radio news reporter Steve Hirschberg of WVXU-FM was the featured speaker, providing tips to help investor relations professionals write better conference call scripts.

Writing for the ear is different from writing for the eye, Hirschberg explained, noting that speakers can easily stumble over words, phrases and even numbers if the text isn't properly prepared. To demonstrate, Hirschberg read aloud from real-world NIRI members' conference call scripts. After discussing text techniques to help the speaker add emphasis, dynamics and tonal variety, Hirschberg lead the participants through an exercise in which they used these techniques.

Among Hirschberg's recommendations:

  • Write conversationally, using contractions where appropriate rather than stilted, formal language

  • Bold-face or capitalize words in text to show the speaker where to add emphasis

  • Build in plenty of pauses; signal pauses with line breaks or dashes

  • Spell out numbers and dollars; for example, instead of writing $136.7 million, write 136-point-seven million dollars

  • Don't use acronyms

After the exercise, the group had a lively discussion on the scriptwriting process and the preparation that goes into quarterly calls.

Prior to the workshop, the Tri State Chapter of NIRI conducted a brief business meeting in which officers provided an update on a local investors day project and discussed ways to increase chapter involvement.

The next Tri State Chapter meeting will be May 11, when the topic will be hedge funds. The speaker will be Rupal Doshi, managing director of The Blackstone Group. For more information, please contact Program Chair Wayne Buckhout at wayne@irbyctc.com or Chapter President Susan R. Robinson at Susan.R.Robinson@fds.com.