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September 2016 | Volume 18

The Speechwriter
EUROPEAN
Newsletter of the UK Speechwriters' Guild incorporating
SPEECHWRITER
NETWORK

MASTERCLASS by Trevor Pinch and Colin Clark


Welcome
Welcome to the eighteenth When we write our speeches we’re focused on the content. But
edition of The Speechwriter what of the management of the audience? Trevor Pinch and
newsletter. Colin Clark wrote a book about market stall traders called The
The purpose of this Hard Sell. It investigated the techniques that traders use.
publication is to circulate
examples of excellent speeches to
…In a very short space of
time - perhaps no longer than 5
members. We do this by picking
or 7 minutes - the pitchers could
out openings, closings, one-liners transform mundane things like
and quotations and other topical pens, pottery, towels and toys into
extracts from newspapers and the enticing, exotic and, above all, highly
internet to identify techniques, desirable products.
stimulate your imagination and
The words ‘understatement’ and
provide models which you can ‘restraint’ do not appear to figure in
emulate. the pitcher’s lexicon of successful
description.

Pitchers go to extraordinary
lengths to show that they can relate
to the people who stand at their stall. rather help to convey information in
a concise, convincing and effective
Almost without exception, way.
pitchers included justifications as to
Contribute why all the people gathered at their Pitchers appeal to people and
We welcome book reviews, stalls should be interested in the things outside their sphere of
product being offered for sale. influence for independent and
speeches and articles for the
external support in order to lend
magazine. Every contribution Three-part lists seem especially further credence to their descriptive
published gets a £10 Amazon apposite devices for pitchers to claims.
token. Please send your employ when describing their goods
submissions to: because they have a tendency to Before you can sell something
sound comprehensive. cheap, you’ve first gotta make it
seem expensive.
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk
Pitchers use contrasts because
they are a highly efficient and very Pitching is not a matter of
The Speechwriter is edited by effective way of packaging the stimulus and response; nor is it ever
Brian Jenner features and benefits of the goods only sales rhetoric. It is an interactive
Design by Europa Studio being described. communication skill which depends
on pitchers being sensitive to what
Pitchers, like other skilful orators, they are saying, how they are saying
appreciate how to segment their it, and the types of reactions and
descriptions in such a way that they responses the audience are providing
do not jar on the listener’s ear but constantly during a sale.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS And partly, also, because a lack of


narrative awareness is damaging
science itself. Olson claims that
by Alan Barker many – perhaps most – published
research includes false positives or
substantially exaggerated claims; the
result, perhaps, of reviewers’ blind
Houston, We Have a seduction by narrative.
Narrative: Why Science
Needs Story What’s worse, scientists remain Randy Olson

innately hostile to narrative. Their


by Randy Olson,
storyphobia, Olson suggests, arises we can use this template to ‘find
University of Chicago Press £14.00 from a profound misunderstanding the narrative on a given topic’. (It’s
of the terms narrative, story and rhetorical invention in all but name.)
storytelling. True, stories can deceive,
fabricate and exaggerate; but they Nothing in ___________
can also be ‘accurate, honest, true makes sense except in the light of
and reliable’. Storytelling itself is as __________ .
value free as E=mc2.
(Fill in the blanks.)
He defines a story as ‘a series
of events that happen along the The Dobzhansky Template gives
way in the search for a solution to your presentation a single focus,
a problem.’ This definition allows keeps you on message with the
Olson to link narrative to both media and will even help you write
explanation and argumentation. He grant proposals.
claims, for example, that the IMRAD
structure of experimental papers – At the paragraph level, we have
Introduction (I), Methods, Results Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey,
And Discussion – ‘is the structure of as made famous by George Lucas.
a story.’ He compares ABT to a typical Olson tells us to treat this one with
argumentation structure: present care. Check out the hundreds of
what your opponents say, then what books on movie writing that rely on
you have to say, before reconciling it, and the resulting proliferation of
Scientists urgently need to the two. They’re the same! And identikit movies. Go to Hollywood
understand narrative, and Randy they share that structure with the for technical help, but don’t bend the
Olson has developed a set of tools to Hegelian Triad (thesis, antithesis, science to tell a better story.
help them. But the tools can easily synthesis). Little wonder that Olson
become empty formulae, so Olson can claim ‘in science, narrative is Use the models, says Olson,
offers a strategy to help scientists everywhere.’ perceptually rather than
develop narrative intuition. mechanically. Use them to spot
It’s just that, like dark matter, the structures inherent in your
That summary of Houston, We scientists can’t see it. Which means material, but resist imposing them
Have a Narrative, uses one of those they don’t use it well. unthinkingly. Use them well, and
tools. Olson calls it ‘ABT’: And, But, you’ll develop narrative intuition:
Therefore, and he borrowed it from To help them, Olson offers tools ‘the ability not just to know the
Trey Parker, one of the writers on on three levels: word, sentence, basic rules of narrative but to have
South Park. paragraph. absorbed and assimilated them so
thoroughly you can actually sense
Why does science need ABT is the shaping tool at the them.’ But – and this, too, is wise
narrative? Partly, says Olson, because sentence level. ABT can rescue advice – narrative intuition doesn’t
scientists tend to communicate scientists from the structures they come quickly.
by offering ‘piles of facts’ (not so often use: AAA (And, And, And)
quite my own experience of and DHY (Despite, However, Yet). Olson’s richly detailed and
working with scientists, but...). At the word level, Olson offers the practical book – despite its slightly
Partly, because science is failing to Dobzhansky Template. Named cheesy title – will benefit speakers in
engage a non-scientific audience. after a notable Russian geneticist, any field – and not just scientists.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

High Impact Speeches: There’s good advice about the


peripherals: answering the most
How to Write and Deliver important questions first (‘what is the
Words That Move Minds last train home from Snodsbury?’);
by Richard Heller which speaking engagements to
Prentice Hall £14.99 avoid (‘blacklist any organisation
which double-crossed you in the Richard Heller
past’); and – especially helpful, this –
writing a press release to support a instead, he gives us little more than
speech. an essay plan. It’s a serious lapse at
the heart of the book.
On the core skills, Heller shines
on argumentation, although he On style, Heller scores much more
suggests that ‘arguing is out of style.’ strongly. He understands how to
The Sophists may have drawn huge write speakable sentences. He knows
crowds to their extravagant display that you can get a ‘boo!’ or a ‘hooray!’
speeches, but these days, it seems, effect more effectively with a weird
‘people do not like strangers to argue word than with a plain one. And he
with them in their living room.’ Radio knows that any good speechwriter
and television reward politicians and must talk through every passage
public speakers ‘who are measured in their speaker’s voice. (Given his
rather than driven, who are plausible experience with Denis Healey and
rather than overwhelming, who others, he could have explored
cajole rather than argue.’ more deeply that most fraught of
relationships, between speechwriter
Consequently, Heller ditches the and speaker.)
word ‘argument’ in favour of what
(In October 2015 Richard Heller he calls ‘perswaysion’ – ‘the art of ‘It’s helpful,’ he suggests, ‘to think
came to prominence because he swaying an audience without letting of a speech as a conversation,’ which
offered a passage to Jeremy Corbyn for them know what you are doing can sometimes develop ‘a surge
his Labour Party speech. Supposedly to them.’ The key to perswaysion of rhythm and music and emotion
he’d been offering the same passage is finding the common ground which is akin to poetry.’ Apply two
to Labour leaders for many years. We between speaker and audience, tests, he says, to any passage. Would
decided to investigate his book.) and then ‘choosing a pathway your I use this in a conversation? Could I
audience is willing to follow’ that put this into a poem?
Richard Heller writes well. When could not lead them anywhere
Jeremy Corbyn used one of Heller’s except the speaker’s conclusion. In contrast with such brilliance,
‘zingers’ in his first conference speech the sections on rehearsal, delivery
as party leader last year, the scandal It’s all very Aristotelian. ‘No other and visual aids are, frankly,
was not the borrowing – Heller medium,’ Heller writes, ‘has so much perfunctory. The selection of
makes the passage, and others, freely capacity to build trust as public speeches at the end is, refreshingly,
available on his website – but rather speaking.’ Bill Clinton could make less predictable – apart from the
the all-too-obvious contrast between everyone in his audience feel that he Gettysburg Address. But, as so often
Heller’s gleaming style and the dross was addressing them individually. when a seasoned practitioner is
that surrounded it. ‘If you cannot be Bill Clinton,’ warns commissioned to produce a how-
Heller sternly, ‘do not give a live to guide, Heller’s book uneasily
Heller is a political animal. The speech. Do all your campaigning mixes valuable insights gained from
extract from his novel, The Network, from a studio.’ personal experience with off-the-peg
also on his website, offers acidly advice that we could pick up from
chucklesome insights into the life of Given this well articulated any manual. His good judgement,
a party speechwriter. The focus in discussion of ethos, it’s a real pity taste and wisdom are only partly
this book is less clear: Heller is trying that Heller fails to deliver on what he forged into a method. As a result, his
to cover speechwriting beyond calls ‘speech architecture’. He could book is likely to both fascinate and
politics, and to address both speakers have drawn on rhetorical models that frustrate the professionals at whom
and those who write speeches for shape speeches as performances, it’s aimed.
others. raising expectations, generating
suspense and resolving tensions;

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

STRATEGIC SPEECHWRITING: THE METHOD AND THE ART


by Mike Long

There are many ways to run a


speechwriting workshop. Mike Long,
with his background in physics
and computer coding, has his own
singular approach.

On Tuesday 21 June 2016, he


flew in from Washington DC to teach
for the UK Speechwriters’ Guild at
St Matthew’s Conference centre in
Westminster.

One of his early suggestions, I’d


never heard before. He said we need
to put together a spec sheet. A spec
sheet is separate from the script.
It details everything the speaker Mike Long
needs to know about the venue,
the purpose of the speech and
the timings of the event. He didn’t Or ‘We have high-demand, high- Another good tip was his
describe a specific laundry list - but interest menu items that customers mnemonic for constructing a speech
he established a principle, ‘fear rips can’t get anywhere else.’ introduction. It went as follows:
up performance’.
He told us about numbers. He Acknowledgements/ Rapport /
If you can give your speaker a run- asked everyone how many million Topics/ Sub-Topics
down of where the lectern is, how were in a billion. In a room of 11
many steps he has to go up, what people nobody was absolutely sure. The Acknowledgements are
time the person introducing him It proved the point that statistics the important people in the room
will stand up, when he’s expected to on their own were not enough. He you’ve got to recognise. The Rapport
start, when he’s expected to finish, advised that speechwriters need to is the way you get attention. Mike
and how much he’ll have to pay to know a little about mathematics. emphasised that this should be some
park his car, it will take away any When talking about climate change, personal connection with the city,
surprises. you’ve got to know what the figures the venue or the audience. Getting
are saying - and be able to interpret straight down to business is a bit like
Surprises can disrupt a speaker’s them. waving your invoice.
preparation - and if the speech goes
badly - it will be the speechwriter Mike argued that you can listen The Topics are the three
who is to blame. While I would write to charismatic individuals for hours. ‘subjective things you want people
venue and event details on a cover He quoted the example of listening to believe or feel’ – that’s essentially
sheet, the idea of going into such to Jay Leno for two hours. It felt like the body of your speech. And the
detail was new to me. twenty minutes. But most of the Sub-Topics are the headline facts or
people we’re writing for are amateur figures to illustrate the topics.
Write the middle first was another entertainers.
unexpected suggestion from Mike. Mike put it succinctly as, ‘Give
He advised that the body of the Mike drew a graph showing them a map and some crayons’.
speech should be made up of three how attention declines during a
sub-topics. The heading on those presentation. It’s about keeping them The darkest suggestion he made
three should be ‘subjective things awake and getting them not to hate was how to deal with a dire speech
you want people to believe or feel.’ you. Structure is the answer if you’re that is beyond redemption, but, as
For example, ‘We are poised to not a charismatic individual. He the speechwriter, you’ve go to do
become the leading quick-service summed it up as ‘signposts beat back something.
restaurant chain in Western Europe.’ boredom’.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

He told us to take the Robert to hoodwink the community. Mike There were eleven delegates in
Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, with once had a client who had Donald Mike’s workshop which was a record
its metaphor of the two roads. Insert Rumsfeld as a neighbour. This client for one of our London events. We’re
that at the beginning. wanted to see evidence of Mike’s hoping to persuade Mike to come
speechwriting skills. He asked to back next year to repeat the session.
Then, at the end, go back to the see the speech Mike had written for
allusion and add a variation on the Donald Rumsfeld years earlier. The
theme, Two roads diverged in a wood, neighbour was really impressed.
and / I took the one less travelled by, He said he could hear the voice of
/ And that has made all the difference.’ Donald Rumsfeld in the lines.
Mike Long’s Advice
for ending a speech
One of the people in the Mike was happy for him to believe
workshop who specialised in rhetoric that. In fact it was just a well-written The closing absolutely needs a
called it, ‘the ring composition’. speech. Still you don’t tell the client clear signal that WE’RE DONE.
The point is that, like adolescents that. When you present the text, you
consuming pop lyrics, our minds need to underline – this speech is for What you want them to
tend to project meaning on to texts, YOU! REMEMBER, clearly identified.
even when it’s not there.
As Mike put it, ‘You’re never going What you want them to DO.
Along the same lines he talked to impress wearing your pocket
about The Music Man - a famous watch of knowledge on the outside.’
American musical about using vanity

MY DEBT TO TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL


by Brian Jenner

surroundings. Far too petrified to club was part of an organisation


stand up in front of my peers. called Toastmasters International, a
worldwide organisation, dedicated
I spent hours listening to Union to teaching people the art of public
debates. I saw Michael Heseltine, speaking.
Paddy Ashdown, Enoch Powell and
many others in action. Offered once When I moved to London in 1994,
the chance to do a humorous speech, I joined the Grosvenor Square club,
I didn’t prepare and I was booed off. I which met in Marble Arch.
left the university in 1991, if anything,
more nervous of public speaking. What an odd club it was. Very
multicultural, with people from very
Top politicians go to Oxford. But I still wanted to be involved varied social backgrounds, exuding a
As a teenager, I wanted to be a in politics. And public speaking, I feel-good, self-help atmosphere. Lots
politician. I did the exams and, after thought, was an important skill to of clapping and handshakes. It was
a fashion, I got a place at Brasenose learn. the antithesis of the Oxford Union.
College. In my first weeks I joined the
Oxford Union. Michael Gove ran the My mother had joined a speaking The club did have some
induction. club. It met in Springhill Prison distinguished members: Lady Fiona
near Aylesbury - it was part of the Montagu, the wife of Lord Montagu
Huddled on the floor in the prisoners’ rehabilitation. I went with of Beaulieu, a former MP, Hugo
Gladstone Room, the young freshers her on one occasion. Summerson and a motivational
were invited to come up and speak. speaker called Phillip Khan-Panni,
Nobody moved. Eventually he I was intrigued. The club was run who went on to write a public
coaxed a few. I thought of something by an Oxford graduate (he’d been speaking guide for the FT. I was in
to say, but I was in awe of the imprisoned for fraud). The Gavel awe of their speaking abilities.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

The first time I stood up I was


paralysed with nerves. I had to sit
down mid-sentence. Two hours
later, I was still blushing with
embarrassment as I went into the
Tube station. But I was determined to
stick at it.

Toastmasters has evolved into


a complex series of rituals since its
foundation in California in 1924.
The meetings divide up into two
halves. During the first half, we have
a ‘table topics’ session. Members of
the audience are invited to come
to the podium to do an impromptu
speech based on a question from the
Brian Jenner
‘table topics master’.

At first the idea of standing up in ago I advised the Rt Hon Elizabeth clubs. The people who join aren’t
front of 30 people to speak off the Truss MP to go along. She’s not a necessarily outstanding. They’re
cuff was terrifying, but after a dozen brilliant public performer, but she did trying to overcome a deep fear. But
or so meetings, the mind develops the basic qualification at a London the clubs, which exist all over the UK,
strategies to deal with it. club and she went on to become a enable people to develop talents
Cabinet minister. outside the conventional workplace.
The second half of the meeting
is taken up with prepared speeches. The playwright Ben Jonson wrote, I took part in humorous speech
You get a seven minute slot to deliver ‘No glass renders a man’s form or contests and international speech
a speech from a manual. You can likeness so true as his speech.’ contests, I’ve been President of two
write and rehearse these ones before clubs and managed websites and
the meeting. During the hundreds of hours, marketing materials.
spread over 20 years, I’ve spent at
What’s so appealing about Toastmasters meetings, I’ve listened The organisation helped me
Toastmasters is that all the speeches to people reveal themselves. The first realise I was not suited to politics –
get evaluated. A more experienced speech, the ‘ice breaker’ provides at least in the conventional sense.
member of the club will stand up an opportunity to find out who the Instead I became a speechwriter.
and analyse your performance. It’s new member is. There is something Involvement in Toastmasters has
not done in any academic way. It’s fascinating about listening to people given me a realistic idea of my
about drawing out the positives and talk about their lives. talents. It has given me insights to
offering guidance for improvement. start a business running international
Some speeches have changed my conferences. It has given me
Despite its occasionally ‘culty’ feel, attitudes. Around 1997, I attended a the chance to learn skills which
Toastmasters drives home some very special ‘controversial’ evening. I heard have enabled me to become self-
important truths. Every speech is a Catholic give a speech about the employed.
timed and a series of lights indicate British behaviour in Northern Ireland.
to the speaker when their time is up. It made me see the Troubles from Your education is not complete
Going over time is a serious sin. a different perspective. A dentist unless you’ve witnessed a
gave a talk about how if you’ve not Toastmasters meeting.
During the prepared speaking touched one of your possessions for
part of the evening, the speakers are six months, it’s time to hand it over to You can find your local club by
introduced properly. I’ve attended someone else. I’ve tried to apply that searching here:
conferences and this aspect is in my life. http://toastmasters.org.uk/club-
neglected. finder/
Toastmasters is prosaic. It meets
The organisation has helped in downbeat hotels, upstairs rooms
some influential people. Many years in pubs and function rooms in

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

WHY GUILDS WORK

In 1291, in an effort to both a single island the size of a small lineages were heavily intertwined.
retain the skills of the glassmakers city neighbourhood, they triggered
and protect public safety, the city a surge of creativity, giving birth There were individual masters
government sent the glassmakers to an environment that possessed in the group that had more talent
into exile once again, only this time what economists call ‘information or expertise than the others, but in
their journey was a short one - a mile spillover’. general the genius of Murano was a
across the Venetian Lagoon to the collective affair: something created
island of Murano. The density of Murano meant by sharing as much by competitive
that new ideas were quick to flow pressures.
Unwittingly, the Venetian doges through the entire population.
had created an innovation hub: by The glassmakers were in part Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now
concentrating the glassmakers on competitors, but their family

WHY IS CHARLIE MUNGER SUCH A GREAT COMMUNICATOR?

befuddled, it doesn’t mean they’re running one of the most successful


not highly successful businesses. It investment companies in the world.
just means they’re probably trading He rejects a conventional point of
on social proof rather than any view. He talks about ‘sin and folly’
special insight or judgement. - terms which don’t tend to be in
common use by economists. He
Secondly, Michael Burry was champions simplicity and clarity
regarded as a lunatic. His willingness of thought. As it says in his curious
to dismiss all the hype and look book, Poor Charlie’s Almanack, He
coldly at what was in front of regales his audience with humorous
him, made him no friends. In fact anecdotes and poignant tales, rather
he comes to the conclusion it’s a than with a blizzard of facts and
symptom of Asperger’s. figures.

The Big Short, the book by Michael This shows that if the culture of Charlie Munger has developed
Lewis about the 2008 financial crisis, an organisation is to eschew clarity a way of thinking, derived from
tells the story of how Michael Burry, and fail to communicate, it’s not his way of looking at investments.
a geekish medical doctor turned unusual. It will be ingrained. It won’t He says one intellectual discipline
investor, worked out how the market spell the end of their business in the like psychology, mathematics or
was going to crash. He actually read short term and there’s not much a chemistry can teach you about the
the mind-numbingly dull 100 page single employee can do about it. world, but only by applying lessons
prospectuses produced for mortgage from multiple disciplines can you
bonds. The kind of brochures that Charlie Munger is Vice- build up a reliable picture of reality.
comms departments produce and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, He says, In most messy human
the lawyers pore over, but nobody the investment business led by problems, you have to be able to use
expects anyone else to read. They Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett has all the big ideas and not just a few of
were enough to signal to Mr Burry a reputation for speaking with them.
the decline in lending standards. clarity about financial matters, but
it’s Charlie Munger who articulates One of his most useful tools is to
This story has two valuable the vision. He publishes books and urge people to invert a problem. He
lessons. Firstly, what companies put makes speeches about the business gets this from a 19th century German
out tells you a lot of what’s going which are unconventional, didactic mathematician called Karl Jacobi,
on inside them. If they publish and compelling to read. who, when asked about the secret
meaningless websites, deliver of his mathematical discoveries, said
jargon-filled speeches and distribute He gets his authority from being ‘you must always invert’. Ask not,
glossy prospectuses that leave you one of the richest men in the world, what can we achieve? Ask, what

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

do we wish to avoid? Thus a bad did it twice. He did this because should be made as simple as
marriage, a miserable death or a psychological surveys say that possible, but no more simple.’
shameful bankruptcy are all things people are more willing to agree to
most people want to sidestep. How a request if you tell them why you’re The world is complicated, but
do you end up in these situations? asking. we can work to draw out the things
Make a list and avoid those paths. that really matter. Munger is clear
If you always tell people why, about where he sees his competitive
When Charlie Munger was asked they’ll understand it better, they’ll advantage.
to deliver an inspirational speech consider it more important and The habit of committing far more
to Harvard graduates in 1986, he they’ll be more likely to comply. The time to learning and thinking than to
didn’t give them a sugary list of rule saved a lot of wasted memos. doing is no accident.
the good things to pursue, he gave
Charlie Munger’s approach is
instructions on what a young person Lastly Charlie Munger is funny.
bold. He loves proverbial wisdom.
can do to guarantee misery in life. He tells one from P J O’Rourke to
Indulging in envy, resentment and Lines like: illustrate how ideology inhibits the
recreational drugs were top of his list. ability to act properly and old ideas
More important than the will to win
is the will to prepare. die hard and academics can be the
Munger uses insights and gives most deluded people of all.
them practical applications. Carl
He sees it as vital to get a little
Braun was an American businessman Enver Hoxha, was the Communist
smarter every day. The easiest way to
who built oil refineries. Good internal leader of Albania from 1944. In
do this is to read.
communication was an important 1948 Hoxha broke with Tito because
part of how they did their work. His Yugoslavia wasn’t being pro-Soviet
In my whole life, I have known no
rule for all the Braun Company’s enough. In 1961 he broke his
wise people who didn’t read all the
communications was called the five relationship with Krushchev, because
time - none, zero. You’d be amazed at
Ws - you had to tell who was going to the Soviet Union wasn’t being pro-
how much Warren reads - and at how
do what, where, when, and why. Soviet enough. In 1978 Hoxha broke
much I read. My children laugh at me.
They think I’m a book with a couple of off with the Red Chinese because they
If you wrote a letter telling weren’t being Communist enough. By
legs sticking out.
another person to do something in the time Hoxha died in 1985, Albania
the Braun company, and you didn’t wasn’t on speaking terms with any
Perhaps his biggest insight for a
tell them why, you could get fired. place but North Korea and maybe the
communications’ specialist is from
In fact, you would get fired if you English department at Yale.
a quotation by Einstein, ‘Everything

WHITEHALL WRITERS

The websites for the Guild and The idea is to farm out work to
the Network attract the occasional members who have the time to take
enquiries about commercial work, it on. Billing and fee negotiation will
but they’re not designed to. Since be handled by us. That means we can
we’ve organised 12 conferences over probably negotiate a higher fee than
seven years, we now have lots of when you negotiate for yourself.
expertise and knowledge about who
works where, and where the business We’re keen to widen the
is. offering beyond speechwriting, to
ghostwriting and copywriting.
Because there have been many
enquiries from members looking The plan in this case is launch
for freelance work, it seemed to be and see. The intention is to showcase
a good time to launch a website we become apparent that the theories writers through a blog. If you’d like to
can use to attract business. developed by Dr Max Atkinson are write something take a look.
very simple to grasp and put into
The purpose of Whitehall Writers practice. Yet many people who www.whitehallwriters.co.uk
is to evangelise for our way of doing occupy positions in public life are not
things. From our conferences, it’s aware of them.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

EUROPE, AMERICA AND SCOTLAND ON THE PRECIPICE. HOW DO WE


CRAFT A VISION FOR THE FUTURE?

It’s time to book!


The 13th European
Speechwriter Network
Leadership & Communication
conference will take place
at the Scottish Parliament in
Edinburgh on 20 & 21 October
2016.

By accident, rather than design,


this year’s autumn conference will
be at the epicentre of some major
political upheavals.

Few of us were expecting Brexit. Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body


After the shock of the ‘Leave’ vote,
we’re heading to Scotland, which
voted to remain part of the European on events, but in principle a Intercultural expert, Patricia Lane,
Union. We’ve invited Vincent Stuer, a speechwriter from Turkey’s Office of will be speaking on how to prepare
former speechwriter for José Manuel the Prime Minister will be speaking your speech for the translators. Jesuit
Barroso, President of the European to us about his work. priest, Peter Scally, will be describing
Commission, to speak about the new the correspondences between
landscape in Brussels. Vincent has But our conference isn’t all speechwriting and sermon writing.
also written a book on nationalism, political. Alex Marklew has worked as
so he’ll be able to offer a perspective a speechwriter for two Government The first day will be taken up
on why tribal and traditional voting departments, as well as the Vice- with the option of three training
patterns are being disrupted. Chancellor of the Open University. He workshops run by a former
will be giving a more didactic speech: Presidential speechwriter, a TED-
American politics is more baffling Saving Bambi: 10 tips for getting your talk expert and the authors of
than ever. Barton Swaim, from South speech cleared, as used in Britain’s the YouTube viral hit, Busting the
Carolina, became one of the world’s biggest bureaucracy. Mehrabian Myth.
most famous political wordsmiths Organiser Brian Jenner, said,
when he published his book, The ‘Unlike many other corporate and
Speechwriter - a highly amusing political activities, speechwriting
account of the humiliations he is creative. You mustn’t go stale.
experienced working for a State Our conferences are an antidote:
Governor, who was tipped to as a two days of like-minded company
future Vice-President. listening to the very best examples of
our craft.’
Barton will be sharing the lessons
he learnt from his sufferings and There will also be a tour of the
offering some insights into the US Scottish Parliament and a short
Presidential elections, which will take Charlie Ward is a playwright. address from the Chief Executive, Sir
place a couple of weeks after the He has worked for the UK’s only Paul Grice.
conference. agency offering speechwriting
services for weddings, birthdays and Tickets are available now at:
It’s still in the process of being anniversaries and he will be sharing www.europeanspeechwriters.org
agreed, and may be dependent insights from the experience.

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The Speechwriter September 2016 | Volume 18 10

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

INTERVIEW WITH ÖZNUR YÜKSEK


Öznur Yüksek has just completed a thesis on speechwriting. She travelled the world to find out more about the
secretive profession.

Is speechwriting an established articles and magazine features. Some


profession in Turkey? of them write poetry, stories, book
reviews and others write scripts,
Definitely not. The most difficult blogs and forewords. Thus the
part of my study has been finding intellectual and spiritual depths of
speechwriters in Turkey. I reached out speechwriters combine with their
to leading political parties and some language skills to offer a range of
national/international companies abilities.
in Turkey. Most of them told me
that they don’t have speechwriters. Who is the most famous
In the private sector, a member speechwriter in Turkey?
of the corporate communication
department mostly writes speeches. Mustafa Şahin. He established the
When did you first become
In the political field, advisors do speechwriting profession in politics
interested in speechwriting?
the job. And those people write in Turkey and he has been writing
speeches as well as other texts. So speeches for top political leaders for
From 2012-2014, I worked as
they do not describe themselves as more than a decade.
a press advisor to the previous
a speechwriters. I’ve also noticed
president of The Council of Higher
prejudices against the profession. For Did any of the speechwriters
Education in Turkey. It started when
that reason speechwriters hesitate to recommend any good techniques?
the president asked me to write a
publicise their occupation. Despite
speech for a graduation ceremony.
this, five speechwriters from Turkey Many. The most common
Since then, I’ve done research into
contributed to my thesis and one of techniques are the rule of three,
speechwriting. It’s one of the most
them (Mustafa Şahin) established metaphor, repetition, storytelling and
interesting jobs in the world. You
the speechwriting department in the rhetorical questions.
can hear speechwriters everywhere
office of the Turkish Prime Minister.
but you can’t see them. That’s just Did you identify any training
fantastic. programmes for speechwriters?
Where did your thesis take you?
What was your first degree? I can say both European
I have to accept that
Speechwriters Network and
speechwriting is an art that goes
My first degree was Public The Professional Speechwriter
beyond the rules. A speechwriter is
Relations and Advertising. Association are excellent ways to
an artist with a broad knowledge
bring the speechwriters together
of the world around him/her,
How many languages do you from all around the world and
combining history, culture, and
speak? encourage them to share their
politics, supported by imagination
experiences. The best kind of
Turkish and English. and intelligence, to design ideas in
training.
a context combining emotion and
What was the subject of your information. Do you think speechwriting has
thesis? a great future?
Did the speechwriters you meet
The title of my thesis is: Executive have anything in common? Yes. The flow of information is
Writing in Public Relations: An Applied getting more intensive. If a leader
Study on Speechwriting. It looks at They all have a great interest in wants to influence the public, his/
the process of speechwriting in all its language. Not just that, but also an her message has to be designed
parts. I interviewed 20 speechwriters interest in the world of thought. I carefully. Otherwise it can become
from 10 different countries (UK, USA, asked speechwriters if they have invisible among all other messages.
The Netherlands, Turkey, Nigeria, to write any other texts besides It creates an opportunity for all
Tanzania, Denmark, Germany, speeches. None of them replied ‘just speechwriters, but they have to do
Canada, Scotland) and tried to reveal speeches’. For instance, five of the something to further understanding
the differences and find common contributors are authors of books and raise public awareness of the
ground. and ten of them write newspaper profession.

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