Cardiff Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference 2022

20 - 21 October 2022
Cardiff, Wales
  • Start: Thu 10.00am
  • End: Fri 4.30pm
  • Venue: The Norwegian Church Arts Centre
  • Address: Harbour Drive, Cardiff CF10 4PT
Buy Tickets

Rhetoric is the art of influence, friendship, and eloquence, of ready wit and irrefutable logic. – Jay Heinrichs

In the context of turbulent political events, the 21st UK Speechwriters’ Guild/European Speechwriter Network Leadership & Communication conference will be held at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff, which is next to the Senned, the Welsh Parliament.

Our conferences are open to people who write speeches in their organisations.

We welcome advanced speechwriters, beginners and those interested in developing skills for the future.

You’ll meet colleagues who face the same challenges.

The European Speechwriter Network, working with the UK Speechwriters’ Guild, has pioneered a format where we listen to top speechwriters, leaders and interpreters talk about their work.

We learn what techniques they use, how they craft stories and how they build relationships. We host our conferences in a university environment, enabling speechwriters to exchange ideas, make contacts and build a reputation.

Who should attend?

Previous conferences in Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin have attracted speechwriters from four Prime Ministers’ offices, the European Commission, NATO, Airbus, BMW, IBM, the CBI, Orange, Deloitte, the United Nations, the European Investment Bank, Coca Cola as well as the Dutch, Danish and British civil service.

This conference is for anyone wanting to improve their ability to write and deliver speeches.

While the conference is predominantly in English, the techniques will be transferable to other languages.

It’s also for people wishing to improve their company’s ability to communicate ideas.

The benefits

  • Acquire techniques used in the White House, European institutions and and in numerous government and multinational offices around Europe
  • Get insights into rhetoric from top writers
  • Listen to outstanding public speakers
  • Have your own work analysed in interactive sessions with top trainers
  • Meet fellow professionals from the Europe and the rest of the world




Wednesday 19 October (Evening)

From 6.30pm – Informal pre-conference drinks followed by a meal.

– Pre-conference Training

Thursday 20 October – Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops

10am – 4.30pm – Jim Holtje: The art and science of 21st century speechwriting
Click here to download a more detailed description

10.00am – 4.30pm – Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton: Storytelling for Leaders
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop

10.00am – 4.30pm – Matt Greenough: Creative Speechwriting for a Global Audience
Click here to download a more detailed description

4.45pm – Tour of the Senned (the Parliament building of Wales) (tbc)

6.30pm – Informal dinner


Friday 21 October – Full Conference

10am – 4.30pm

Speakers: TBA

5.00pm Informal drinks and a meal in Cardiff Bay.

What you will learn and leave with

  • A better understanding of what makes an effective speech
  • Insights on how to work with multilingual audiences
  • Tips for managing your speakers
  • Strategies for dealing with interpreters
  • New contacts, ideas and perspectives on the trade


Jim Holtje

Jim is a CEO speechwriter, published author, and adjunct professor with extensive professional experience at multinationals and tech companies, including IBM, Siemens, MasterCard, and McGraw-Hill in the U.S. and overseas.





Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton


Martha Leyton and Martin Shovel are speechwriters and communications coaches, who run a UK communications consultancy called CreativityWorks.

They write speeches for chief executives, politicians, trade union leaders, academics and lawyers. They also train speechwriters and other communications professionals.

Martin’s writing has appeared in many places, including the Guardian’s Mind Your Language blog and the Macmillan Dictionary blog, and he is also a prolific cartoonist and Twitter commentator (@martinshovel). He and Martha have also made several animated films, including the viral YouTube hit, Busting the Mehrabian Myth.

Matt Greenough

Matt was the Senior Special Adviser in the Welsh Government until 2018. He wrote the keynote speeches for the First Minister of Wales, and has written for Ministers, MEPs, Members of Parliament and Assembly Members. He provides speechwriting training through the Civil Service College in Westminster. He won the European Speechwriter Network ‘Battle of the Speeches’ competition in 2020.






Dr James McCabe

James is a pioneer of classical story design, which he promotes through his company The Story Doctor.  He’s worked closely with scores of well-known names such as Siemens, Allianz, Sony and others.

He’s also worked as a script doctor for the film industry and collaborated with Hollywood star coach Robert McKee. He followed his Oxford literary doctorate with several decades of international engagement across borders, industries and functional silos from leadership and reputation to strategy, brand and culture.

James’ presentation will reveal how in the modern media environment empathy, suspense and surprise trump authority, argument and proof.


Max Atkinson

Max was Paddy Ashdown’s speechwriter for many years from his rise from the backbencher to leader of the Liberal Democrats. He ran workshops for Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters and has been a prolific author on the subject of speechwriting and public speaking.

His books include, Our Masters Voices, Lend Me Your Ears and Speechmaking and Presentation Made Easy.

He became famous because he trained a woman who had never spoken in public before to make a speech at a party political conference. She proved a big hit. The training was featured in a television documentary called World in Action.


Ben Ray

Ben is a speechwriter and communicator who currently works as a writer in the European Parliament, shaping the institution’s voice towards citizens. He has run workshops and taken part in discussion panels across the EU institutions and communications network in Brussels. He is also an accomplished award-winning poet and reviewer, with three full collections and work in numerous literary journals like The Poetry Review and Poetry Wales. He has performed his writing, mentored individuals and led poetry workshops across the UK, in venues from literature festivals and theatres to schools and libraries.




Alison Reid

Alison has more than ten years’ experience in speechwriting and communications in higher education and government. She has collaborated with a member of the House of Lords, in the UK parliament, writing political speeches on education, employment and housing. She has particular interests in intercultural communication and spoken language, and has a Master’s degree in non-fiction creative writing.




Guy Doza

Guy has a degree from Royal Holloway’s Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric. His research was focused on the application of classical rhetoric in modern speechwriting. He runs training courses for political writers in parliament. He has worked with a number of ministerial offices and trained Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP speechwriters.

As well as his political work he has also written for a range of private clients ranging from executives at BP to academics at leading universities.



More speakers to be announced in the coming days…while we do our best to make sure all speakers on the programme will appear on the day, we cannot be responsible for any unforeseen cancellations.



If you prefer for us to send you an invoice instead of paying through Eventbrite, please send an email and we will send you one.


Cancellation Policy

Bookings will not be accepted unless accompanied by payment and cancellations must be received no later than one month (28 days) before the conference if a full refund is to be given.

Cancellations received within 2 to 4 weeks of the first date of conference will be refunded 50%. If you can’t make it at the last minute, you can transfer your attendance to a future conference.


The venue is in Cardiff Bay. Inexpensive accommodation is available in central Cardiff and there is an excellent bus service that arrives very close to the Norwegian church.



There are a limited number of places available at a discount to people in full-time education who are considering a career in speechwriting. Details on application.


Join our Network

Paid-up membership of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild or European Speechwriter Network entitles you to a €50 + VAT discount on the conference fee.

You can follow the European Speechwriter Network on Twitter @EUSpeechwriters

You can apply to join our Linkedin group, European Speechwriter Network

Buy Tickets