My preferred method of getting a comment from someone to include in an article for an employee publication is to actually talk to the person and get the comment straight from him/her. (I know, what a concept!) As with writing a speech for another person, it’s hard to capture the person’s manner of speaking unless you talk to each other.
There seems to be a trend lately among several of my clients where they ask me to “craft” (make up) quotes for various Big Executives. I suppose the reasoning is saving time for these busy guys — and it always seems to be guys — but I think a bigger time-saver would be to have a short conversation where they tell me, “Here’s what I want to talk about.”
Instead, what can happen is this: I write a comment for Big Exec in which he sounds human and enthusiastic. By e-mail or discussion with my contact, he asks for something that sounds more like him. Not having the chance to speak to him, I don’t know what he sounds like so I ask for more direction. My contact suggests a comment that sounds stiff and corporate. He approves it.
I do fight for more natural-sounding comments, but in a case like this I have to let it go. I can just see the employee eyeballs rolling, though.