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February 2014 | Volume 14

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

MASTERCLASS by Dick Mullender


Welcome
Welcome to the fourteenth Dick Mullender was the Lead Trainer at the National Crisis &
edition of The Speechwriter Hostage Negotiation Unit for the UK Police in Scotland Yard.
newsletter. The purpose of He has written a book Communication Secrets of a Hostage
this publication is to circulate Negotiator.
examples of excellent speeches to
members of the UK Speechwriters’
Guild. We do this by picking out
openings, closings, one-liners
and quotations and other topical
extracts from newspapers and the
internet to identify techniques,
stimulate your imagination and
provide models which you can
emulate.

This newsletter appears


quarterly and is available to

I
anyone who is a Standard don’t persuade a person dumbest things I could do?’ And then
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ because I use my words, I don’t do them.
Guild or the European persuade a person because I use
Speechwriter Network. theirs. To present, write and share
language - first work out the
Everyone is different. You have to thoughts of the audience.
get inside their head and work them
out. Contrary to popular belief asking
questions is not the best way to get
Contribute The moment I understand your information - it’s just one way.
values, I can impose my values on
We welcome book reviews, you. By not interrupting, comparing
speeches and articles for the or finishing sentences, we are
Body language is a waste of time. sending a subconscious signal to the
magazine. Every contribution
The words that come out of your speaker that what they are saying is
published gets a £10 Amazon mouth are more revealing. You reveal important.
token. Please send your secrets every time you open your
submissions to: mouth. The tone of voice a person uses to
tell a story, recount a grievance or tell
I don’t believe in empathy. another that they love them, reveals
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk
You can’t know what it’s like to be the true meaning behind the words.
someone else. Use the words they
use. Dick Mullender will be running
a session at the Speechwriters &
‘If you’re working abroad, ask Business Communicators Conference
your interpreter - what are the five in Oxford on 3 & 4 April 2013.

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS The Rhetorica ad Herrenium lists 65.


Quintilian deals with about 96 (some
Word Hero covers about the same
number. Max Atkinson, in Lend Me
The Elements of figures look confusingly similar to Your Ears, concentrates on just three.
others). In their heyday, however, the The best strategy in becoming
Eloquence number rocketed. Susenbrotus, in his better figure-users may be to collect
by Mark Forsyth popular manual of 1540, offered 132; them, like specimens. We could
Icon Books, 2013, £12.99 thirty years later, Henry Peacham’s start with Atkinson’s core triad:
The Garden of Eloquence (that antithesis, tricolon and the rhetorical
metaphor again) included no fewer question (of which Forsyth lists no
by Alan Barker
than 184. fewer than 16 variants, although
he discusses only about seven). It’s
In Renaissance society, the figures easy enough to spot metaphor, irony
were promoted by the Humanists as and isocolon (all those bullet lists in
essential tools of social advancement. parallel construction); listen to a few
Tudor schoolboys were drilled in speeches and presentations, and
them relentlessly; would-be courtiers you’ll soon find chiasmus, and even
used them, rather as jazzers use licks, anaphora (“the king of rhetorical
to fill the spaces of their conversation figures,” claims Forsyth). Point them
with ready-made wit. The figures out and users will be intrigued, not
helped you cut a figure. That’s why to say flattered; suggest that they use
Shakespeare used them: the figures them consciously, and they’ll soon
are inherently dramatic. develop the taste to use them well.

We moderns tend to neglect Forsyth has written an


them. entertaining field guide. Thorough,
he isn’t (which is, I suppose,
Forsyth offers three plausible hyperbaton). He resolutely avoids
reasons: we prefer to teach any talk of classification: no tropes
information and technical skill rather or schemes here (scesis onomaton).
than linguistic craft; we distrust He provides the shortest of reading
rhetoric; and we labour under a lists, and no index (which makes
confused notion of authenticity the asking price of £12.99 look a bit

M ark Forsyth’s The Elements


of Eloquence differs from his
previous bestsellers in two respects.
inherited from the Romantics, which
makes the figures seem hopelessly
artificial. But we continue to use
steep). But then, unlike Heinrichs or
Atkinson, he has no overt didactic
aim. As a result, he treats the subject
First, it’s 50 pages shorter than either them, haphazardly. more fully than Atkinson and more
The Etymologicon or The Horologicon, elegantly than Heinrichs. If you really
which works to its advantage. Every memorable line – in a pop want to up your game in figure-
Secondly, it does more than song, a speech or an advertising spotting (anthimeria, m’lud), you
catalogue a set of obscure linguistic jingle – uses one or other of the probably need all three.
facts entertainingly. This book might figures. The figure is what makes
actually be useful. the line memorable. And we use
them in our own conversations. The The Speech: The Story
The title is something of a better acquainted we become with
misnomer. Forsyth himself admits the figures, the more likely we shall
Behind Martin Luther
that the figures of speech aren’t really be to use them well – which is what King’s Dream
the core components of eloquence, Forsyth wants us to do. “These figures By Gary Younge
but only “one tiny, tiny aspect of grow like wildflowers,” writes Forsyth, Guardian Books, 2013, £6.99
rhetoric.” The descriptive metaphor, “but they can be cultivated too.”
historically, has been not so much by Rodger Evans
chemical as botanical: the figures Offer us too many, however,
are ‘the flowers of rhetoric’, vivid and we become befuddled. (The
ornaments that attract the attention
and seduce the listener.
impenetrable Greek names don’t
help.) Forsyth discusses about 38,
though he mentions more without
T he story of how Dr King’s
immortal oration came to be is
one of fortitude, intrigue and Marlon
They have a certain notoriety. For explaining them. This puts him on a Brando brandishing a cattle prod.
a start, how many figures are there? par with Jay Heinrichs, whose recent The Wild One’s role is but a walk-on

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

part in a twinkling cast that includes Lincoln Memorial. Perhaps not on the
JFK, Harry Belafonte, Rosa Parks, podium, that would be something
James Baldwin, Bob Dylan, Stevie else, but close enough to share a
Wonder, Barack Obama, Shakespeare coke with Paul Newman and hear the
and God (c/o the Old Testament). Yet gospel singer Mahalia Jackson twice
there’s no doubting the most stellar exhorting her friend: “Tell them about
presence. the dream, Martin”.

“Though he was extremely well Here’s the crux. When advance


known before he stepped up to the copies of That Speech were circulated
lectern,” said his aid Clarence Jones, to colleagues and the press, the
“he stepped down on the other side of Dream segment didn’t feature. “It’s
history”. King’s was the final address trite, it’s cliché,” one adviser told him.
at the March for Jobs and Freedom in Whether he always intended to
Washington DC on August 28 1963. discount that view or spontaneity
By the year’s end Time magazine took hold is impossible to say.
anointed him Man of the Year and What’s clear is that nobody today
12 months later the Nobel Peace refers to The Bad Cheque Speech
Prize carried his name. At the time (another metaphor deployed on
of his murder in 1968, however, his movement. Younge’s research is the way to the mountain top)
star could be found in the gutter meticulous, his narrative compelling or The International Association
– literally so; he was in Memphis and the analysis not without for The Advancement of Creative
supporting striking garbage workers. detachment. If there’s a flaw in the Dissatisfaction Speech (a line he
His anti-poverty campaigning and speech, he suggests, it lies in the wisely chose to skip).
outspokenness against militarism absence of detail – the Promised
led to him being shunned by Land can be glimpsed but the King transports us, then as now,
mainstream America. directions are sketchy. But evidently with imagery, rhythm and intensity.
he believes in King’s dream. As And when he reaches that third
How then MLK’s reputation Baldwin wrote: “…perhaps we could and final “Free at last!”, well, you
and this particular speech came make the kingdom real, perhaps the half expect that white marble giant
to be revisited, co-opted, misread, beloved community would not forever of the sixteenth President of the
sanitised, and, 50 years on, sanctified remain that dream one dreamed in United States to leap up and lead the
should be a fascinating tale. It is. agony.” ovation.
The author, a Guardian journalist
relocated to the US, has immersed And that belief is what enables Rodger Evans works for the Scottish
himself in the back pages – as well him to place the reader centre stage Parliament
as what King termed “the fierce before 210,000 demonstrators, black
urgency of now” – of the civil rights and white, in the shadow of the

TELL A STORY

J effrey Zeig
in A Teaching
Seminar with Milton
3 Anecdotes foster
independence: the individual
needs to make sense out of
6 Anecdotes model flexibility

H. Erickson, lists
some of the values
the message and then come
to a self-initiated conclusion 7 Anecdotes can create
confusion and promote
of using anecdotes or a self-initiated action hypnotic responsiveness
in therapy as
follows:
4 Anecdotes can be used to
bypass natural resistance to
8 Anecdotes tag the memory -
1 Anecdotes are non-
threatening
change “they make the presented idea
more memorable.”

2 Anecdotes are engaging 5 Anecdotes can be used to


control the relationship

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

THOUGHTS FROM THE JOKESMITH: ON legislature. She began this way:


‘While I do enjoy the occasional egg, I
USING HUMOUR prefer it with my breakfast meal.’ That
was a joke. The Queen of England
told a joke, and the wonder of it, like
Samuel Johnson’s talking dog, was
not that it was done well, but that it
was done at all.

Consider: The Head of State had


been humiliated. She knew everyone
was waiting to see her reaction:
Threats and reprisals? Tears and
a shortened agenda? Off with ‘is
blinkin’ ‘ead? No! The Queen settled
the matter with a little joke. She
dealt with the issue up front, put it
behind her with humour and good
grace, and moved on. She showed
that the Queen of England is human
For many years Ed McManus edited a quarterly comedy and sensitive. She displayed what a
newsletter for business and professional speakers called The leader is all about: dignity, strength,
and courage in the face of ill will.
Jokesmith. He looks back on his career.
If a little well-placed humour can

I t is a complicated, diverse,
politically correct, world. Also,
there are ethical considerations,
asked him to tell that joke again.
The student wanted to tell the joke
to his friends, but wanted to stay
work for the Pentagon, Henry VIII, the
Pope, Abraham Lincoln and Queen
Elizabeth II – it can work for you
security issues, and people who sit away from anything that smacked also. And, if you happen to use the
there waiting to take offence. Some of disclosing classified information. occasional joke that isn’t funny – well,
speakers worry that humour in a Who would have thought of that at least no one is going to laugh at
presentation is like tap dancing in a one? The good news is that I got you.
minefield: risky. another subscriber.
I’ll close with my favorite
I understand. I have written for Some speakers worry that speechwriters’ joke: a certain
some key people since I started The humour might diminish the dignity speechwriter worked diligently
Jokesmith in 1984. I identify with of their office. Some very dignified to give his principal a memorable
Will Sommers, court fool to Henry people used humour in their talks. speech for a very important
VIII. Henry fancied himself quite I think of JFK, Churchill, Pope audience. The speechwriter could
the wit. He demanded that Will be John XXIII, Ronald Reagan, Queen not attend the event and afterward
funny – but, if the joke went wrong, Elizabeth II, and Abraham Lincoln. asked his principal how it all went
poor Will would have a bad day. Lincoln skirted the ethical issue. He down.
However, it never happened. Will quoted from comic authors of his
was a professional. He brought to time without crediting the writer. The principal replied: ‘It was a
the selection of his humour the same Once, a reporter tried to trap the mixed reaction. You opened strong,
common sense, good judgment, president by asking if he composed built to a powerful mid-section,
consideration, and awareness of the funny lines that he used. Lincoln but after that it got repetitious and,
his audience that he brought to laughed. ‘Of course not,’ he said, ‘I’m a frankly, a bit tedious.’
surviving all the other challenges performer, not a playwright.’
of his world. He kept his head, and The speechwriter thought for a
retired old and honoured. Once, years ago, Queen Elizabeth moment, and then said, ‘Sir, I gave
II toured New Zealand. An extremist you two copies of that speech.’
A Pentagon official once told tried to get her attention in a rude
me that he conducted a top-secret and dangerous way. He threw an Ed McManus
briefing and used a story from The egg. It splattered the Queen in a very The Jokesmith
Jokesmith to lighten the mood. After unseemly way. The next morning, Her Email: Jokesmith1@aol.com
his talk, a student approached and Majesty addressed the New Zealand

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

LIKEABILITY - THE MOST IMPORTANT THE VISUALISER


TRAIT IN A SPEAKER by Brian Jenner
I recently attended the first
conference organised by the

B lake Snyder
wrote a book
on screenwriting called
acknowledging them as
a devious way of creating
rapport.
Professional Copywriters’ Association.

For the first time I saw a Visualiser


Save the Cat. In it he in action. It allowed chalk and talk
bemoaned the loss of Comedians often tell the using a projector. It was a Lumens
the ‘Save the Cat’ scene. audience how great they PS760, which retails at about £1,700.
He said they’ve stopped are. Guy Browning has a line,
putting it in films. It’s ‘It’s very rare that I talk to an
the scene where we audience as good-looking
meet the hero, and the and intelligent as this one.
hero does something Hands up who is sitting next
- like saving a cat - that to someone good-looking
defines who he is and and intelligent?’ This has
makes us, the audience, the benefit of flattering the
like him. It’s the scene that makes audience, and getting them involved.
you root for the character.
Sporting success is something
One of the easiest things for a that people feel deep emotions
politician or a business leader doing about. So it’s smart to associate
routine speeches is to forget how yourself with any recent national
important it is to be liked. A good victories. The advertising guru, Dave Trott,
speechwriter will put a ‘Save the Cat’ used it to draw small cartoons and it
line in the first couple of paragraphs Daniel Pink described how he worked extremely well.
of every speech. used local knowledge to endear
Al Gore to audiences. ‘…say he Brian Jenner
The psychologist, Robert Cialdini, was speaking in Sheboygan,
lists physical attractiveness, similarity, Wisconsin. We’d find out the most
compliments and association as key popular coffee shop in Sheboygan
traits that make people likeable. and its most popular pastry. Then ALEXANDER
somewhere in the speech, we’d FLEMING
We know from TV that we like to include a place for him to say matter-
watch beautiful people. Hence Boris of-factly, ‘If you’re talking about
Johnson was told to lose weight
for his Mayoral campaign by his
health care down at Charley Café’s
– and maybe eating one of those
I n his series
Pain, Pus
and Poison,
advisor, Lynton Crosby. We prefer our cherry-walnut scones – you might
Michael Mosley
politicians without paunches. wonder whether our Medicare plan
discussed the
covers.’ People love that sort of touch.
discovery of
Margaret Thatcher used her Homework pays.’
penicillin by
experiences as a housewife to say
Sir Alexander
‘I’m just like you’ and to persuade You want to avoid delivering
Fleming.
people a national economy is just like bad news. Cialdini talks about a
a household budget. UKIP leader, weatherman who got death threats
While Fleming made the
Nigel Farage, used his pint of beer as because the rain wouldn’t stop. Isaac
discovery that penicillin mould could
a symbol of how he’s more like the Asimov pinpointed the reasons why
kill bacteria, his idea was not taken
ordinary man, than another one of likeability reaches so deep.
up for over a decade later.
those lying politicians.
‘All things being equal, you root
Mosley blamed this on the fact
The former Chief Rabbi would pay for your own sex, your own culture,
that Fleming was a terrible public
warm compliments to the institution your own locality…and what you
speaker and so did not communicate
and key characters hosting him want to prove is that you are better
his discovery effectively.
before starting his speech. George than the other person. Whomever
W Bush used a technique of pointing you root for represents you and
to someone in the audience and when he wins, you win.’

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE: SPEECHES AND SPEECHWRITING


Lady Fiona Montagu made this speech at Portcullis House as part of Parliament Week on 20 November 2013

wealthy folk and organisations One is always pathetically grateful


requires many skills and a deeply for even mild applause. Some smart
devious, or should I say pragmatic, philosopher once said ‘the clapping
set of tools. And none of these of but one person is of considerable
really work if you do not have the significance’. I cling to that pearl of
assurance to be fluent, and hopefully wisdom.
funny, in your strategy and delivery.
I remember when Jonathan my
Thus, very swiftly after son was small, about seven years old.
my marriage vows, I found a I gave a birthday dinner in Palace
Toastmasters Club that met within House and one of the guests was
walking distance of our London flat! Tommy Steele. I wanted Jonathan to
I am deeply lazy, so this was perfect; entertain us, before dinner, on the
it was meant to be. The glorious piano. He was very shy, but Tommy
thing about Toastmasters is that you persuaded him to tinkle the ivories.
are thrown in with people whose LOUD applause! Jonathan was away!
speaking skills are mixed; many are Eventually Tommy went up to him
far from perfect, so there is no need and said ‘As an entertainer, you
to feel wretched and foolish as you also have to know when to STOP’.

G ood evening everyone,

I believe in the
stand there squirming, for the first
few times, mind BLANK, hoping for
an early death.
Applause can be so intoxicating
and gratifying – even if not entirely
warranted.
power of speech, and colourful
communication; it’s a deeply I also attempt, globally and Most people’s speaking skills are
personal skill. A skill that has the locally, via The Club of Budapest, so poor that if you give a speech
power to make things happen, create to generally make the world a that is barely halfway OK the
a vision, change people’s lives for the better place. We build bridges audience will smother you with
better, both locally and globally. We of understanding, co-operation underserved praise. This is a good
have all been given a stage, in this and goodwill, hopefully inspiring, feeling and wipes away the terror
lifetime, to be of service to humanity on our troubled planet, many and humiliation of those early days at
... OR NOT people to grow in the fabric of Toastmasters.
their consciousness; to accept
When I married Lord Montagu the interconnectedness and There is a marvellous and
almost 40 years ago Beaulieu in interdependence of all creatures in terrifying section of the Toastmasters’
Hampshire became MY stage. Not the embrace of living nature. I have class which is called table topics. With
only do I have to handle parts of spoken in various countries along zero preparation you have to hop up
the visitor business effectively and these lines and, while I am not that and speak for a few minutes on any
graciously, like publicity, hosting eloquent, I have no fear of hopping subject thrown at you. Here you learn
and promotion, often seven days a up to a lectern and addressing to hone skills of deep deviousness ie
week – I am never knowingly NOT absolutely any audience. For this I swing the topic onto something you
promoting the Old Homestead. thank Toastmasters. do know about, or did today and can
However my particular passion is therefore chat on about... Of course
education, so ... with that hat on I I also learned that the thing to this is cheating, but what the hell, at
need to be an effective fundraiser remember is that the audience is on least you’re not tongue-tied !
for our education schemes in your side! They want you to succeed,
this glorious corner of England. give a dazzling speech, entertain not I learned the POWER ... of an
Fundraising is the bane of my life bore them ridged! They are NOT the effective pause ... I learned not to
... I am sure some of you here this Enemy. Their time is precious, don’t dress so outrageously that no one
evening chime with my feelings in waste it with nervous, painful, stilted present focused on the golden
that direction. drivel! And if you are easy with words that fell from my lips. I learned,
telling jokes that is fine, and if you are when assessing others’ speeches, to
To extract cash or favours from not, avoid them at all costs! commend, recommend, commend,

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

so that vulnerability is soothed, and I remember the first time I just maybe, you WILL make a
bravery restored. I learned to listen watched Brian Jenner speak. He was significant difference is some one’s
attentively to other speakers and HOPELESS, REASSURINGLY hopeless! life. I am an optimist - a pragmatic
refer to points that they made. I And now he is a total STAR up on that Utopian, or a Utopian pragmatist.
learned to dare to be different; but stage. However, he was always funny I believe in life you can be an
not too self indulgently rattle on – in a Woody Allen kind of way – and optimist or a pessimist, and it is quite
and on. Others, far more interesting this is a priceless gift. likely you may end up at the same
and accomplished than I, need their destination, but if you have been an
moment in the sun. So mes amis, courage! Grip the optimist you will most certainly have
nettle of public speaking; embrace had A BETTER RIDE.
I have never achieved the path of effective, memorable
speechmaking without notes but speechmaking It can be a roller
heck, who’s perfect? coaster ride, but FUN and maybe,

RHETORBORES heterogeneity across households


and differences in institutions and
Household Heterogeneity and the Transmission Mechanism shocks can affect the functioning
of the transmission mechanism
of monetary policy. It is also of
income, indicators of
relevance for financial stability.
financial pressure, etc.
By covering 62,000
Of key interest to central bankers
households, it is
is the question as to how shocks –
representative of 15
including unexpected changes in
euro area countries,
incomes, interest rates and asset
and I understand that
prices – are transmitted in the overall
plans to conduct the
economy. The survey can bring
HFCS in the next wave
new insights into how individual
are well advanced
households are affected by economic
in the two, and soon
shocks, with due consideration
three, remaining
of their demographic and socio-
euro area countries.
economic characteristics, as well as
We hope the new
of the current phase of their life cycle,
dataset will encourage
their income, assets or liabilities, etc.
Dinner speech by Peter Praet, research on household
Member of the Executive Board heterogeneity and household
of the ECB, ECB Conference finance, in particular from a cross- COURAGE
on Household Finance and country perspective.

I
Consumption, Frankfurt am Main, f this life be
17 October 2013. The central theme of this
not a real
conference – already the third on the
fight, in which
D istinguished members of
academia, dear colleagues:
topic that the ECB has organised over
the past five years – is that individual
households are heterogeneous
something is
eternally gained
for the universe
Thank you for contributing to in many respects and that it is
by success, it
the ECB Conference on Household important to measure and analyse
is no better
Finance and Consumption. this heterogeneity because it can
than a game of
have important implications for
private theatricals from which one
As you know, the Eurosystem aggregate figures.
may withdraw at will. But it feels
has recently released the Household
like a real fight – as if there were
Finance and Consumption Survey Some of these implications are
something really wild in the universe
(HFCS) to researchers, a new dataset of interest not only to the research
which we, with all our idealities and
which gives detailed, household-level community, but also to policy-
faithfulnesses, are needed to redeem.
information on the cross-sectional makers at central banks. This is
distribution of assets, liabilities, because the interplay between the
William James

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS?


William Cohen analyses the Wolf of Wall Street

Our parents teach us to beware


of sales people. It’s wrong to buy too
many things. Belfort argues that it’s
only limited people who don’t like
spending money. It’s good to have
nice things.

Yes, you might be conned, but


isn’t being conned the first step into
understanding that we only learn by
testing out other people’s promises.
The most effective sales people
manipulate our own greed and use it
against us.

Does that make motivational


speaking and selling despicable?

M artin Scorsese’s new film


Wolf of Wall Street has
been described as three hours
the toolbox. He uses humour, he tells
stories, he has a sense of drama, he
has a vision and he motivates his
If you buy a newfangled kitchen
gadget, it might end up in the back
of the cupboard, but it might prove
of uninterrupted corruption and colleagues to take specific actions incredibly useful. Often we can’t
debauchery. What are the features of (pick up the phone), but it’s all for tell, but we’re more keen to avoid
that debauchery? You see characters illegal ends. mistakes than make new discoveries.
taking drugs, going to lap dancing
clubs and listening to motivational The real Jordan Belfort, after Some British film critics see
speeches. going to jail, now works as a nothing to like about the Leonardo
motivational speaker and sales DiCaprio character whatsoever. Well
How did motivational speaking trainer. He’s a changed man, eager to there is the boundless energy, and
get in there? insist that he believes only in ethical the philosophy that life isn’t perhaps
persuasion. about being clean and respectable,
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan but getting dirty and finding out
Belfort, a naive young trader who Why do such characters make us where the real value lies.
gets to Wall Street and learns some feel so uncomfortable?
of the sophisticated sales techniques Perhaps the most uncomfortable
in a smart firm. Then his firm goes Belfort overcomes some of the bit about American capitalism is that
bust. He loses his job and ends up objections in his presentations. He it’s a religion. It’s a faith that you’ve
at a grubby outfit selling penny talks about how his parents wanted got to live. The Americans have more
shares, where he applies his blue- him to be a dentist, but he eschewed respect for upstarts who make a
chip techniques to gull to blue-collar that to become a salesman. His mess and then redeem themselves.
workers. parents viewed being a salesman The British prefer a society where
as being a slime bucket. He argues everyone knows their place.
He’s so successful, he sets up on that’s why his parents never had any
his own and trains the staff to use his money. A good motivational speaker
techniques to expand the racket on urges people to take action to
a huge scale. He generates limitless Belfort’s enthusiasm is infectious. change their lives using promises of
money for big houses, cars, a yacht, He’s honest and funny. He mocks success. Most people aren’t prepared
a helicopter and copious amounts of poor sales people and tells stories to invest the energy and endure
drugs. He achieves because he has about how some are ducks waddling the pain and disappointment that’s
the great American gift: persuasion. around leading weak, disempowered involved in getting to that place.
lives and others are eagles soaring to That’s probably why we find these
Watching it as a speechwriter, amazing heights. speakers attractive and repulsive in
you notice he’s got all the tools in equal measure.

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The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

TRADE SECRETS

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild has published its first book:


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 compiler Brian Jenner.

‘Most people, when they stand up in public to speak deliver too much
information, in a dry way, often illustrated by poor PowerPoint slides. At
the Guild, we champion persuasion, which involves having a conversation
with an audience and motivating them to change something. As one
quotation from a former Israeli Prime Minister put it:

After being 60 years in politics, I lost my taste for management. I believe to


inspire is more important than to manage.’

The book is based on the same principle as the late Bob Monkhouse’s
famous joke books.

‘You need to store up your best lines, and then be able to find them on the
right occasion. Audiences appreciate even a little humour. Something like,
‘My last talk was to the British Haemorrhoid Association. I got a standing
ovation’’.

‘Some people think that one-liners are a tired way to entertain audiences.
It depends. The skill of a speechwriter is to take an old joke and repackage
it. By giving it a new coat of paint, you’re updating it for a contemporary
audience. Making audiences laugh is a fiendishly difficult thing to do, but
if you can adapt familiar rhythms, you’ll find the audience will grasp the
joke. I’ve been amazed watching top dramas like The Sopranos and Six Feet
Under how they weave old jokes into their scripts.’

‘This is a great way to promote the Guild to outside organisations. We’ve


sent copies to Boris Johnson, the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Patten, and
Government communications people. We can add a little colour to those
dry corners of public debate.’

‘The rule for the 2015 publication will be that any member of the Guild
can submit a line that either they’ve put in a speech and worked with an
audience, or one that they’ve heard someone deliver successfully at an
event. All contributions will be acknowledged and maybe we can market
next year’s book as a stocking filler.’

Design and typesetting was done by Rob Havill of Europa Studio and the
book was published through Lulu.com.

Every paid-up member of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild and European


Speechwriter Network should have received their copy over the Christmas
period.

W W W. U K S P E E C H W R I T E R S G U I L D . C O . U K • INFO@UKSPEECHWRITERSGUILD.CO.UK
The Speechwriter February 2014 | Volume 14 10

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

INTERVIEW WITH JAN SONNEVELD


Speechwriter at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

What font do you use for your talk ‘The Lady Vanishes’ at the
scripts? speechwriting conference in London,
What was the first speech you last May.
ever wrote? Cambria and Verdana
size 10-12. What’s your favourite reference
I think the first thing that qualified
book?
as a speech was in a debate class, How does it feel to be Dutch?
while studying journalism. The very How do you view yourselves vis-à- There’s a very good book called
first ‘professional’ one was a speech vis France, Germany and Britain? A new world; The Netherlands in the
on road works, in July 2010. At the 19th century, which I often browse
time, I worked in communications, My college history professor for stories. On speechwriting I love
wrote short stories for literary stated that the Dutch have their On Speaking Well by Peggy Noonan
magazines and was tangled up in a origins as ‘marsh-Germans on the and White House Ghosts by Robert
failed attempt to finish a novel. North Sea shore’. Later on, the Schlesinger. On writing in general I
Dutch have been at war with all recommend a strange, meditative
What are you hoping three countries you named, but also gem by Annie Dillard, called The
to experience at the Ragan fought alongside them as allies. Deep Writing Life.
Communications conference in down we think we’re a great people,
Washington? but we also love to hate ourselves. Is it easy to write a blog in a
And we’re jealous: of the French for foreign language? When did you
First, every speechwriting the country and the cuisine, of the first start learning English? What
conference is like a support Germans for their groundedness and good things have come from
group. I need to hear and learn ‘gründlichkeit’ and of the British for writing your blog?
from other speechwriters about their history and style. So how does
their good and bad experiences. it feel to be Dutch? ‘Fickle’ is probably To me, writing is the best way
Second, I’m interested to hear my best attempt at an answer. of thinking. Every year I write about
about speechwriting culture in the 10 speeches in English, so I need
United States. Third, it’s a very nice Would you consider a political to keep up my English language
opportunity to hear Jon Favreau career of your own? skills by reading and writing. The
speak about his experiences and his blog is a great way to do that, to
vision on the trade. No. I’m comfortable supporting ‘digest’ thoughts and ideas on the
and advising others with thoughts, trade and to get in touch with fellow
Have you given many speeches ideas and words. speechwriters. I’m still wondering,
of your own? though, how the blog combines with
Which British writers do you the speechwriter’s traditional ‘passion
Not much, apart from debate admire? for anonymity’. From the age of 10,
class in college and practising
W.H. Auden, Julian Barnes, G.K. I had weekly English classes for ten
some of my speeches aloud. And I
Chesterton, Graham Greene, C.S. years.
sometimes lead services in a small
church, helping me to lose stage Lewis, Ian McEwan.
Can you give us any tips how to
fright.
What makes you jealous of other make memorable speeches about
speechwriters in a team? the environment?
Do you see a connection
between speechwriting and Creativity, being well-read, a large Always try to turn dry facts into
psychoanalysis? vocabulary and storytelling abilities. a personal story, however hard it
may be. But doesn’t that go for every
I know from experience
Have you written for female topic?
that in both speechwriting and
psychoanalysis it can be difficult and politicians? Is there any difference?
scary to get to the core of the issue. I wouldn’t know, to tell you the The Speechwriter is edited by Brian
But once you get there, it’s truly truth. Both the minister and state Jenner
liberating. secretary are women, so I don’t write
for men that often. Strangely, I hardly europa|studio
TM

Design by
realized this until Denise Graveline’s

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