German speechwriter to speak in Oxford about the culture of German speechwriting

14 January 2014

Willi Vogler, a former speechwriter for the CEO of Lufthansa, will visit Oxford in April to speak about the work of the Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache.

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild will have their eighth conference at Trinity College in Oxford, but this will be the first time that the Guild has invited a German to speak.

Both nations are doing their best to establish the professional credentials of this new specialist job title.

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The UK Speechwriters’ Guild Trade Secrets

10 January 2014

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild published its first book in December 2013: Trade Secrets, Jokes, stories and quotations for desperate speechwriters in 2014.

“This is a pilot project which the Guild intends to become an annual publication, featuring the best lines nominated by its members during the year.” said the founder Brian Jenner.

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What’s the hook?

12 November 2013

Chris West from Verbal Identity spoke at a conference I attended earlier this year and opened his presentation by saying he’d been discussing what to say with one of his former colleagues. He told us how the colleague had given him a great NLP tip on presenting. He then didn’t tell us what the tip was.

Only later did the ingenuity of the aside come across because a member of the audience asked him during questions about the tip. And Chris said, always leave an unanswered question, it keeps their attention.

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Women in Public Life: Speeches and Speechwriting

6 November 2013

The press has recently reported the prevalence of ‘glossophobia’: the fear of public speaking.

This fear is a barrier many people have to overcome before contemplating a career in politics.

On the Wednesday 20 November, four leading women in British public life will speak about how they beat their fear of public speaking, and how they go about crafting messages as part of their work.

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Winning Arguments by Jay Heinrichs

31 July 2013

Jay Heinrichs is my kind of intellectual. After 26 years in publishing, he headed for the wilds of New Hampshire and devoted himself to writing.

He resolutely avoids academia; in a scathing article, he castigates Harvard for systematically downgrading rhetoric as a subject of serious study over the last 200 years.

According to his Businessweek profile, he starts every day at 4.30 with a strenuous workout and updates his websites before kissing his wife goodbye at 6.30 and walking or skiing to work in his log cabin office. He’s regularly hired by global corporations and sells ‘Talk Me Into It’ dog t-shirts on his ‘junk site’ for $18.99.

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The Speakers for the Brussels Conference

6 July 2013

On 19 & 20 September, we’re moving the annual UK Speechwriters’ Guild conference from Bournemouth to Brussels.

We’ve now finalised the line-up of speakers for this event in the Résidence Palace.

The speakers will include Luuk van Middelaar, speechwriter to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, who will be speaking about the ideas that went into his new book The Passage to Europe.

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I’d Like to Teach Europe to Speak in Public

17 June 2013

One of my earliest TV memories is of the Coke ad, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’.

I can’t sing myself, but I like hippy optimism.

They say you should cut goals down to size.

Teaching the world to sing is too much, but how about teaching Europeans to speak in public?

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Mrs Thatcher’s Speechwriter

12 April 2013

A few years ago I read Ronald Millar’s memoirs – he was one of Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriters and the author of the line, ‘The lady’s not for turning’, which was inspired by the title of a play, The Lady’s Not for Burning by Christopher Fry.

He was a playwright who was asked if he would be interested in doing some speechwriting at a dinner party.

Millar says that, ‘the need is to grip, entertain, persuade and, when necessary, move a body of people who receive and react to what they are hearing collectively.’

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Writers – Come Out From Behind Your Screen

19 March 2013

So what are the benefits of meeting other writers? Once I would have found it difficult to make a very long list. That was until I was invited to the Ragan Executive Communications conference in Washington DC in 2008.

As a freelance speechwriter in the UK I considered myself a rare breed, permanently on the brink of extinction.

I paid my own fare and turned up in Washington DC. I found myself in a hotel with over 200 speechwriters. Chatting to them, I discovered they were all struggling with the same problems.

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Washington communications expert to keynote at European Speechwriter Network conference

7 March 2013

The European Speechwriter Network will hold their sixth conference at the Institute for Government in London from 15-17 May 2013.

The speakers include Washington communications expert, Denise Graveline, who runs The Eloquent Woman blog.

She will be speaking on ‘Opportunities for Women in Public Speaking.’

Former speechwriter to Paddy Ashdown, and author of Lend Me Your Ears, Dr Max Atkinson, will speak about the difference between a speech and a press release.

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