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September 2012 | Volume 10

The Speechwriter
Newsletter of the UK Speechwriters' Guild incorporating

MASTERCLASS by Henry M Boettinger

Welcome to the tenth edition
of The Speechwriter newsletter. H enry M Boettinger worked
for the American Telephone
and Telegraph Company. He wrote
The purpose of this publication is
a book Moving Mountains or The
to circulate examples of excellent
Art of Letting Others See Things Your
speeches to members of the UK Way published in 1969. It’s regarded
Speechwriters’ Guild. We do this as an obscure classic on the art of
by picking out openings, closings, giving presentations. Here are some
one-liners and quotations and soundbites from the book:
other topical extracts from
Everyone subjected to a
newspapers and the internet to
presentation brings with him
identify techniques, stimulate several unseen retainers. Kipling
your imagination and provide called them his ‘six honest serving
models which you can emulate. men’: Who, What, Where, Why,
How and When?
This newsletter appears
quarterly and is available to Start where THEY are, not where
YOU are.
anyone who is a Standard
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ Presentation of ideas is
Guild or the European conversation carried on at
Speechwriter Network. high voltage — at once more
dangerous and more powerful. Uncomfortable chairs are tough
opponents; they always win in
Good presentations are like rivers; the end, when the presentation is
bad ones like canals. too long.

Contribute How to get and hold attention or Create a clash between the
creating sleeplessness . background environment and the
Every quarter we award
the Demosthenes Pebble (£25 My nine-year-old daughter was
Amazon token) for an outstanding once assigned the task of making Every renowned figure in
a report on the Aztecs. Her history…understood the power
speech. Please send your
teacher told her to ‘do research on of drama. Churchill’s speeches
speeches to: it first’. Since she was only nine, - uttered word for word by
she lettered in a fine title on the a phlegmatic predecessor -
8 cover sheet: History of the Aztecs. could not have inspired and
Were she 29, and an expert on the rallied an entire free world. Sir
subject, she would concoct a title Winston was a consummate,
like, Some Preliminary Notes on and not altogether unconscious,
Aztec Grain Cultivated in the Period showman.
1316-1319AD and take 500 pages
to do it.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS conversations’ of Oprah and Jerry

Springer, American culture has,
he says, consistently favoured
Alan Barker reviews performed conversation over the
two essential books pleasures of ‘the conversible world’.
for speechwriters.
He will be running a Miller sets his argument in
seminar on how to a broad historical context, from
make your speech ‘speakerproof’ Mesopotamia to Eminem. But his
at the UK Speechwriters’ heart’s in the 18th century, when
Guild autumn conference in conversation was cultivated as a
Bournemouth. social accomplishment to manage
passion and avert civil discord.
Like his heroes Hume, Addison and
Johnson, Miller regards conversation
as a rhetorical skill, requiring humour,
the ability to listen, and politeness.
Combined, they create raillery,
“good-humoured, intelligent wit and What’s the rhetorical connection?
banter”. Aristotle says that rhetoric concerns
“things about which we deliberate
Raillery, for Miller, virtually defines but for which we have no systematic
good conversation: it’s “a solvent rules”. Decision science concerns the
of cultural and social differences”. same matters. It explains how we
But it’s threatened, he suggests, choose when faced with uncertainty.
by ‘authenticity’, promoted by the
post-war counterculture, which has Kahneman invokes the fiction
disabled conversation in three ways. of two ‘systems’: System 1 (intuitive,
It prioritises self-expression over associative and fast); and System 2
politeness; it values everybody’s (rational, logical and slow). System
views equally, making critical 1 prefers plausibility to probability;
comment uncool; and it celebrates it constructs narratives to generate
inarticulacy. “The heroes of the coherent meaning from inadequate
Conversation: a history counterculture,” claims Miller, “are information. (Sound rhetorically
of a declining art grunters, mumblers, ranters and familiar?) System 2 is lazy: without
cursers.” conscious attention and effort, it
simply ratifies System 1’s decisions.
by Stephen Miller
Yale University Press, 2006 £20.00 Miller wants to rescue
conversation. But he’s not optimistic. Almost all of Kahneman’s
ISBN: 978 0 300 12365 4 examples have rhetorical
“People need to be persuaded that
the benefits of politeness exceed implications. For example, your
“An American cannot converse,” audience’s System 1 will accept a
the costs.” Especially, perhaps, in a
said Tocqueville, “but he can certainly message more easily if it’s repeated.
culture that values authenticity over
orate.” If they’re grasping pencils between
their teeth, they’re forced to smile –
Public speakers, we’re increasingly making them feel happier and even
told, should be more authentic – and Thinking, Fast and Slow more receptive. (Go on: try it.)
public speeches more conversational. by Daniel Kahneman
So a history of conversation – Penguin, 2012 £8.99 For all his brilliance, Kahneman’s
especially from America, where ISBN 0141033576 pessimism can be infectious. “Our
the flame of European rhetoric thoughts and actions,” he writes, “are
currently shines brightest – must be Daniel Kahneman is a behavioural routinely guided by System 1 and
interesting. economist, studying how social, are generally on the mark”; but he’s
cognitive and emotional factors overwhelmingly concerned more
Americans, says Stephen Miller affect our decisions. In Thinking, with intuition’s flaws than its marvels.
in this intriguing book, prefer their Fast and Slow, he aims to stimulate Look in the index: you’ll find no entry
conversations public. From Oliver “watercooler conversations” about for imagination.
Wendell Holmes to the ‘ersatz our cognitive biases.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild


a crucial speech on two audiences

before our client eventually delivered
it to the target audience. In the first
dry run our speech went down a
treat – the audience loved it, and
their response to it convinced us that
our well-wrought speech was going
to work.

So imagine the shock when in the

second dry run our speech fell flat
on its face. This audience “just didn’t
get it”, and things looked even more
sticky when we learned that this
second audience was much more
similar to the target audience than
the first had been.

Magnanimously, our client

apologised for having given us “the

I n a recent interview, the writer

Will Self confesses, “I don’t
really write for readers. I think that’s
at the time, and yet is now widely
regarded as a one of the greatest of
all speeches. Apparently, the speech
wrong exam question”, and together
we got on with the job of revising the
speech in light of the feedback. We
the defining characteristic of being that made the headlines was the one had to cut right back on the inspiring
serious as a writer…And if people like that preceded Lincoln’s – a two-hour stories and illuminating metaphors,
it, great, and if they don’t like it, well, marathon, which was given by the and ramp up the technical details,
that’s that – what can you do?” most admired orator of the day, statistical data, and, yes…. include
Edward Everett. some power point slides. As a result,
A novelist has the freedom to when our client gave the final
concentrate their efforts on the But eyewitness reports of the speech, it hit the audience’s sweet
structural and aesthetic content crowd’s response are divided, often spot.
of their writing – they can please along partisan lines. In a letter
themselves. By contrast, every Everett himself sent to Lincoln the Of course, the successful
word a speechwriter produces has following day, he wrote, “I should professional speechwriter shares
to please a specific audience, on a be glad if I could flatter myself that the novelist’s love of language, but,
particular occasion. From the outset, I came as near to the central idea of unlike the novelist, the speechwriter
the speechwriter is under pressure the occasion, in two hours, as you did can never fully abandon him
because they know full well they in two minutes.” or herself to its aesthetic allure
won’t get a second bite of the cherry. without courting disaster. However
The crucial point is that, unlike beautifully written your speech may
It is not unheard of for a novel novels and many other forms of be, if it doesn’t push the buttons of
to sell badly at first and then go on writing, a speech has no wriggle the audience it was written for, it’s a
to become a success. Speeches, on room – an audience judges it in the flop.
the other hand, either rise to the moment, as it is delivered. If a speech
occasion or withdraw in ignominy is going to have any chance winning Martin Shovel blogs at
with their tail between their legs – over its audience, the speechwriter and
the margin of error is narrow, and the needs to know that audience inside tweets @MartinShovel
audience unforgiving. out. Unfortunately, achieving this is
rarely easy or straightforward – and
Some think the Gettysburg there are many traps along the way.
Address is the exception that proves
this rule. According to folklore, Last year we had what we
the speech barely caused a ripple thought was the luxury of testing

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild


and amendments made in pencil, “We shall not fail or falter; we

dark ink and occasionally, for impact shall not weaken or tire. Neither the
or convenience, in red ink. The sudden shock of battle, nor the long-
changes are rarely wholesale. More drawn trials of vigilance and exertion
often than not they are careful, well- will wear us down. Give us the tools,
chosen excisions or additions that and we will finish the job.”
illuminate a turn of phrase, or correct
a factual reference. The visitor can This was a powerful plea that
compare how Churchill’s typescript struck a balance between the
looks on the page and then compare humility of a nation almost on its
it with how the same words were knees, and likely to succumb without
paced and enunciated when spoken. support, and the pride of a people
Blocks of text typed out in a rough that had already sacrificed much in
system of scansion clearly guide staving off a defeat that would have
the delivery of broadcasts or public implications for generations. It is
speeches. important to understand the context
of this speech beyond the immediate

C hurchill: The Power of Words

– at The Morgan Library &
Museum, New York, until September
The centrepiece of the show
is a darkened semi-circular booth
and obvious tumult of World War II.
This was a moment in the history of
positioned at the back of the the British Empire when everything
23rd 2012 – offers a fascinating modest room in which the majority was in peril. At the point Churchill
glimpse into the construction and of the exhibition is housed. Inside made his plea to the U.S., the Allied
delivery of speeches by one of the the booth, you sit and listen to a forces were as good as defeated and
great statesmen of the 20th century. selection of the speeches featured appeasement to Hitler’s Germany
It is also an interesting if coincidental in the exhibition, and watch as the seemed inevitable. At the highest
review of the close relationship words unfold on screen in a way levels, many U.S. politicians were set
between Winston Churchill and the that echoes how Churchill built his against becoming involved in a war
United States, and the impact this texts. It is at this point that you are that already appeared lost. Public
had on his personal and political reminded not just of the poetry opinion in the U.S. was also heavily
lives. and impact of his writing, but of his against joining such a seemingly
tremendous control of pace, pitch distant conflict.
For writers, there are exhibits that and pause in delivery.
show the architecture of Churchill’s But this difficult political
approach and the implements used It is within the booth that you relationship was in contrast to the
to draft the speeches that had such hear what is perhaps the defining benefits Churchill had gained from
a dramatic effect on the outcome of speech of the exhibition. Broadcast his significant personal connections
World War II. A significant proportion from London on February 9th 1941, to the U.S. His mother, Jennie Jerome,
of the words on show here served to Give us the tools marked a pivotal was born in Brooklyn. His maternal
strengthen the bond between the point in the wartime relationship grandfather, Leonard Jerome, was
British Empire – at the moment of between the British Empire and the one-time proprietor and editor of
its most profound weakness – and U.S. The bargain offered here was The New York Times. His first visit
the emerging industrial and political that if President Roosevelt responded to the U.S., at age 21, was to New
powerhouse of the U.S.. Artifacts positively to Churchill’s appeal for York as a guest of Bourke Cockran,
displayed include a dipping ink support in the resolution of World a prominent Irish American with
pen from the White House, and a War II, Churchill would commit the interests in the law and whose future
Remington ‘noiseless’ typewriter used British people, and British and Allied would see him operate at the highest
by Churchill’s secretarial team so as forces, to redouble their own efforts levels of American politics. He was
not to interrupt his narrative flow (in hardship and sacrifice) in seeking also a noted and impressive public
when dictating drafts. an end to the conflict. Having quoted speaker. In 1946, Churchill credited
from Henry Longfellow’s O Ship of Cockran with giving him many of
Most of the speeches shown here State, Churchill asks that President the words he used in his speeches,
in their physical form are draft or Roosevelt and the people of the U.S. describing him as a great Irish
amended final versions, with marks give Britain their faith and blessing: American orator. Indeed, he said at

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

one point that Cockran taught him of conflict. Just before U.S. troops
“how to use every note of the human entered Afghanistan he spoke to the
voice like an organ.” Cockran was American people, saying: “We will not
renowned for his epic phrasing and waiver, we will not tire, we will not
thundering voice. falter, and we will not fail.” This was
a direct reference back to Churchill’s
That said, Churchill’s approach 1941 radio address. It is perhaps of
was not founded entirely outside passing interest that Bush spoke
of his immediate family. His these words within sight of a bust of
father, a noted parliamentarian, Churchill that used to reside in the
was celebrated for his speaking Oval Office.
appearances in the House of
Commons. Indeed, it was said Most recently, President Barack
that when it looked like Randolph Obama closed a speech he made to
Churchill was about to stand, word the British Parliament in 2011 with an
would spread, and the chamber affirmation of the continued benefits
would fill with MPs keen to see how of the transatlantic relationship.
he would perform. reflections on the responsibilities To do this, he quoted the words
of power. Employing a tricolon of Churchill spoke to the crowds on V-E
But it remains the case that sobering intensity, he said: Day, May 8th 1945. As the speech
Winston’s personal connection to neared its end, the president said:
and connections within the U.S. “The times are too grave, the “In the long years to come not only
were clearly fundamental to his style. challenge too urgent, the stakes will the people of this island but
This special relationship might also too high…” And then followed: “As [Obama omitted ‘of’] the world,
explain what lies at the heart of the Winston Churchill said on taking wherever the bird of freedom chirps
reciprocal affection that has been office… if we are open to a quarrel in [Obama added ‘the’] human
shown for Churchillian rhetoric, not between the present and the past, heart [the President turned ‘hearts’
just by his contemporaries during we shall be in danger of losing the into a singular], look back to what
and immediately after the war, but future.” we’ve done, and they will say ‘do not
also by the U.S. political leaders that despair, do not yield [Obama omitted
followed. As President, JFK made Churchill ‘to violence and tyranny’]… march
an Honorary Citizen of the United straightforward.” This closing phrase
Despite Dwight D. Eisenhower’s States in 1963, and this act created clearly achieved the president’s ends,
occasional frustrations with Churchill, an opportunity for the President to for he left out six words from the end
the former U.S. President turned to outdo Churchill’s rhetorical skills. In of that sentence. Churchill’s original
Churchill’s mastery of plain language making the award, which Churchill prepared people for conflicts and
in his own political maneuverings. was not able to receive in person, sacrifices as yet unknown when it
In his memoirs, Eisenhower talks Kennedy spoke about how the man continued: “March straightforward
about quoting Churchill in defence he so admired “mobilized the English and die if need be unconquered.”
of measures he had implemented to language and sent it into battle.”
combat inflation: With an even greater flourish, he For the benefit and future
developed the thought, describing reference of students of rhetoric,
“This attitude caused me to how “the incandescent quality of his and those who take inspiration from
recall a laconic comment of Winston words illuminated the courage of his reading the thoughts of writers on
Churchill when someone asked him countrymen.” With his tongue firmly writing, Churchill had the foresight
during World War II what the allies in his cheek, and in a barely disguised (some might even say the arrogance
were fighting for: ‘If we stop,’ he allusion to Churchill’s fondness for of youth) to commit his own
replied, ‘you will find out.’” Pol Roger champagne, JFK went on thoughts on the subject to paper in
to say that though the great man was an unpublished article entitled The
John F. Kennedy also called accustomed to the hardships which Scaffolding of Rhetoric. Written in
upon Churchill’s example. At the war had brought, Churchill had “no 1897, the piece gave clear guidance
Democratic National Convention in distaste for pleasure.” on how to move an audience from
Los Angeles in 1961, he combined unresponsive silence to grudging
some of Churchill’s most effective George W. Bush also chose approval, and eventually to complete
rhetorical techniques and made a Churchillian rhetoric to help inform agreement.
direct reference to one of Churchill’s his public address on the advent

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Churchill’s scaffolding was built IN PRAISE OF QUOTATIONS by Brian Jenner

from a number of elements. First,
he believed it was important to
have good diction. Second, short
words – the older the better – are O ne of the characteristics
of a great speech is that
you remember what was said. A
best. This particular piece of advice is
best illustrated by an example from useful exercise for a speechwriter
The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill, is to trawl your own memory. What
compiled by Dominique Enright: speeches can you remember from
your own life? What made them so
“There is a story that an American memorable?
general once asked Churchill to look
over the draft of an address he had I’ve found that the speeches I
written. It was returned with the can remember were attached to an
comment ‘Too many passives and acronym, a phrase or a quotation.
too many zeds.’ The general asked
him what he meant and was told: When I was 13, I heard a speech
‘Too many Latinate polysyllabics at my school which was made by
like “systematize”, “prioritize”, and the Principal of St Hilda’s College,
Nowadays when I listen, with a
“finalize”. And then the passives. our next door neighbour. She used
critical ear to speeches, I’ve become
What if I had said, instead of “we shall the postcode, ‘O*X*4 1*D*Z’, and
convinced a good quotation is one
fight on the beaches”, “Hostilities will repeated it over and over again.
of the simplest and most powerful
be engaged with our adversary on I think the general idea was co-
was to lift a speech. Quotations are
the coastal perimeter?’” operation between institutions. She
coriander in the salad. They add
pronounced the letters as a mantra,
vitality and depth.
Churchill also wrote that it is and they stuck.
crucial to understand the rhythm, In rhetoric, there is a term
cadence and sound of a speech – and One of the few things I can
diatyposis, which means
the way this propels an argument or remember David Cameron saying is
recommending useful precepts.
strengthens and affirms a key point. ’N*H*S’ - which worked probably for
A classic example is the speech
And there is what he describes as the the same reasons.
of Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet.
accumulation of argument, where Proverbs are easy to remember -
facts point in a common direction In the lower sixth, the Chaplain
they’re concentrated thought.
and the last words fall “amid a gave a speech titled ‘sicut lilium, inter
thunder of assent.” spinas’ which was the school motto
Quoting is a straightforward way
- like the lily among thorns, taken
to amplify a message. You’re using an
Throughout this modest, from the Sermon the Mount. He went
external authority to make your point
methodically set out show at The on to talk about legitimate pride in
and the fact that you need a build
Morgan, you are reminded of the institutions. The fact that the phrase
up and context, means the line will
importance of the physicality of was in Latin helped make it sticky.
stand out.
writing, and the way in which the
scaffolding of language is built, piece A year later I remember my
Before Neville Chamberlain left
by piece, with effort and craft, to headmaster using the quotation
for Munich for talks with Hitler in
arrive at something which inspires, that is attributed to many different
September 1938 he spoke at Heston
moves and motivates. In the case of sources, ‘Sow a thought and you reap
aerodrome using just over 50 words,
Winston Churchill, and in the context an action; sow an act and you reap
quoting proverbial wisdom and
of the ending of World War II, words a habit; sow a habit and you reap a
Shakespeare. It’s a superb example
and orator can have rarely enjoyed character; sow a character and you
of economy of expression to express
such a symbiotic relationship, or reap a destiny.’ The rhythm of that
the seriousness of his task: “When I
achieved a more important goal. quotation helped to embed it in my
was a little boy, I was told if at first
you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.
Patrick Baglee is a thinker and This is what I am doing. When I come
writer for brands and businesses. Considering I left school 25
back, I hope I may be able to say as
This article first appeared on the years ago, these speakers were
Hotspur says in Henry IV: ‘Out of the
website: either very impressive or I was very
nettle, danger, we pluck this flower,
impressionable. safety.”

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

One of my favourite writers is

the psychotherapist Irvin Yalom. He
writes books popularising the ideas The new Demosthenes Pebble competition for this
of psychotherapy. Almost every book quarter attracted three entries. We’re reproducing
uses the same half-dozen quotations them all to show the variety. The winner of the first
to illustrate his principles. One from prize is Rodger Evans. He receives a £25 Amazon token.
Nietzsche, for example: ‘To become We hope you’ll keep sending in your entries. The closing
wise you must learn to listen to the date for the next competition is 1 December 2012.
wild dogs barking in your cellar.’

SPEECH by Phillip Khan Panni

This makes it very easy to

communicate Yalom’s ideas in
conversation to other people
because you remember the key
phrases and you can use them as a
starting point to expand on what
D o you buy green bananas? I
have a friend aged mid-70s
and he says he never buys green
Sometimes I tease people about
the way they answer that question.
One day I asked a man, “What work
he believes. Organisations like
bananas these days. He says at his do you do?” And he said, “I’m an
Alcoholics Anonymous use mantras,
age he cannot afford to plan so far engineer.”
which they repeat at meetings, to
ahead. But if you buy green bananas,
help their members change their
it proves that you expect to be still I said, “Oh you drive trains?”
behaviour and give them strength.
alive when they are ripe enough to Because the Americans call train
eat. drivers engineers.
It’s perhaps appropriate to end
this article with a shower of wise
Green bananas are a symbol of He said, “No, I’m a civil engineer.”
sayings to summarise the ideas in
expectations, and that is the basis for
this article.
doing business and for relationships So I said, “Oh, you’re a polite train
of any kind. So let’s see driver!”
‘The aphorism is the perfect
fishhook, for it catches the most
• how relationships start and then OK, I was teasing him. But I was
fish’ according to Nietzsche. Samuel
• let me offer you one word that allowed to do that because it was in
Johnson said: ‘He is a benefactor of
will tell you all you need to know a training session, and I was helping
mankind who contracts the great
about creating and meeting him to understand what happens
rules of life into short sentences,
expectations in business. when you describe yourself as a label.
that may be easily impressed on the
The word “engineer” is just a label,
memory, and so recur habitually to
WHAT DO YOU DO? and when you say “I am an engineer”
the mind.’ Dorothy Sayers put it more
you are saying, “I am a label”, and the
crudely: ‘I always have a quotation
Think about what happens when other person will make up his own
for everything—it saves original
you meet someone new in a business mind about who you are and what
setting. You ask each other, “What do you do.
you do?” What happens in the next
30 seconds could influence whether The other thing to notice about a
a new relationship will develop or first meeting is how well you listen to

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

each other. In my experience, most • I asked them if that would thought they would be wasting a
people don’t listen to what you are persuade them to stay and day on a course they did not want.
saying. They just wait for your mouth follow my training programme, My solution was to demonstrate how
to stop moving so they can tell you and they said yes. effective that could be.
their own story.
In fact, they seemed quite excited E is for Evidence. We buy on
OSLO STORY by the challenge. For the next half emotion and justify with reason.
hour I asked them questions about So provide the evidence that will
But let me tell you a story. their topic and I wrote their answers reinforce the emotional decision
on a Mind Map on the white board. to accept your Solution. My mind-
I was in Oslo, doing a training I then delivered a speech from that mapped speech was the evidence.
programme on Advanced Mind Map. Engineers love evidence.
Presentation Skills. It’s a programme
I have run for many years, and it They were fascinated by the D is for Delivery. It’s not enough
usually goes very smoothly. But this Mind Map, because they has never to gain agreement. You still have
day was different. The answers I was seen one before, but they were even to deliver. You have to command
getting did not feel right, so after 20 more interested in the fact that I was the platform and connect with the
minutes I stopped and asked them quickly able to put together and audience. You may have a powerful
what was wrong. deliver a speech on a subject that I message and a brilliant text. But it’s
previously knew very little about. the way you deliver it that will make
They told me that they were all the difference.
senior engineers who had been sent A-M-U-S-E-D
on the course against their will. The SPEECH IS A SALES PITCH
original delegates had all dropped Why did I succeed? Because I
out because there were political AMUSED them. That is the word I When you have AMUSED your
problems in the company and they promised you at the start, the one audience or your business prospects,
did not want to be out of the office word that tells you all you need to you will succeed. It is the same
for a full day. So these engineers were know about creating and meeting whether you are making a speech or
told to take their places. expectations. The six letters of the a business presentation.
word AMUSED explain the process of
I asked them why they did not persuasion. Because a speech is a sales pitch.
want to be on the course, and they
said, “We are engineers. We do not A is for Attention. I listened to It is a sales pitch for your ideas.
need to learn how to talk about our what they wanted and offered them And to make it succeed you must
work. Our work speaks for itself.” a challenge. That got their Attention. have a central idea that is relevant
to your audience. It must be an idea
Obviously, with that attitude, they M is for Matching their that raises expectations, and then
would not learn anything from me. expectations. If you can exceed their meets those expectations.
I knew they were ready to walk out, expectations, as I did, that is even
and they were watching to see what I better. But you must at least match SUMMARY
would do about it. their expectations. So start by asking
questions to find out what they want. It works best when your listeners
MIND-MAPPED SPEECH They needed a reason to believe they are AMUSED. Because you have
could learn something from me. I to get their Attention, Match their
I had to do something different or gave them that reason. expectations, help them to a new
the training course was dead. And I understanding, offer them a Solution
was a long way from home! U is for Understanding. When you to their problem, with the necessary
understand what they want and they Evidence, and Deliver that Solution.
• So I asked them if they would understand how you can help them,
like to see a live example of how you will connect on a deeper level When you have done all that, they
my methods could work, and than reason alone. will want to accept your proposition,
they said yes. they will want to do business with
S is for your Solution. Your best you, they will want to buy your green
• I asked them if they would like to chance of success is to identify bananas.
see me deliver a speech on their a problem and work towards a
own subject, and they said yes. solution. Their problem was that they

The Speechwriter September 2012 | Volume 10 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

SPEECH by the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie

Schultz van Haegen, at the opening of the 5th International Architecture Biannual,
Rotterdam, April 19th, 2012 (written by Jan Sonneveld).

L adies and Gentlemen, the

Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom
once said:
So this year, the International
Architecture Biannual is focused on a
very Dutch theme: Making City. As a Cabinet Minister, I regularly
notice that governments have
‘I love the city with a passion. The city is not simply a collection an inclination to give only one
of people that live close together. conclusive answer to any question
That’s why I sometimes can’t posed.
stand it.’ In the city, people search each
other out in order to move forward This approach belongs to a time
It’s a feeling that we certainly all together. when governments stood above
recognise. people.
To come up with solutions to
The city is a place that can attract problems. Yet this era is long gone.
us and repel us at the same time.
To earn money. Governments no longer have a
Yet its power to attract is always monopoly on the truth.
greater. And especially to live happily.
They are now a part of a network.
People from rural areas have been The city is thus the engine driving
drawn to life in the city for many social and economic progress. A network of citizens and
years. entrepreneurs.
And it is in the city that not only
It is a worldwide trend that can the questions, but also the solutions A network of residents and
clearly be seen in China. to big problems come together. travellers.

Each month more than a million We know that the world’s These networks are increasingly
Chinese move from the country to population will continue to grow. determining the answers given to the
the city. bigger questions.
So urban areas will continue to
Since January of this year, a expand. The world has changed and
majority of the Chinese live in cities. government has to change along
We must continually ask ourselves with it.
The city holds a promise of a how we can best organise countries
better life for them. and cities. Since the Dutch government
began actively engaging in spatial
Greater prosperity, greater All the big social problems of the planning in the 1930s, this country
happiness. coming decades will lead to spatial has changed beyond recognition.
consequences in the end.
For them, the city equals The population has doubled
opportunity. How much space will we need to and the cities have grown with this
grow our food? increase.
In the Netherlands as well, cities
are growing. Or to live, travel and recreate? This growth was managed by a
central government under the motto:
This country has traditionally In other words: how should we one size fits all.
been a land of urban areas. design a city?
Government managed from on
Since the seventeenth century, This Architecture Biannual gives high.
most Dutch people have lived in a many answers to this question.
city. This era has passed.
As it should.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Although the Netherlands is a Let them compete. In this district we initially thought
relatively small country, it is a country we should work starting from the
made up of a patchwork of different Competing will keep them strong challenge of mobility:
urban regions. and self-aware.
how can we keep the Zuidas
Each of these regions has its own It will also increase the district accessible?
specific problems. competitive strength of our regions
within the entire urban system of In the Atelier, three spatial
One region is bursting at the Western Europe. planning programmes initiated a
seams, while another is experiencing discussion with stakeholders and
a decrease in population. Besides, the national government experts to further scrutinise the
has another role to play. development of the Zuidas business
So the solutions are not the same district.
for every region. No longer from above on high,
but now in the very midst of citizens The solution was found in a new
One size does not fit all anymore. and businesspeople. perspective on the region as a whole.

That is why I propose a different As a part of a real network society. We go beyond road, rail and
policy in spatial planning. office.
This approach is necessary to
The strength of individual regions keep up with the times. We look into residential living,
is my point of focus. learning and innovation.
That is why I am enthusiastic
I am placing the responsibility for about this Biannual. For work, development and
the development of each region at recreation.
the lowest level possible, with other Because here we can see
levels of government. wonderful examples of innovative The ZuidAs business district that
thinking and working. we are now developing further is
I do this because I believe the urban development in optimum
development of regions will benefit Examples such as the Atelier form.
from having greater freedom. Making Projects.
You can see the details at the
And benefit from a focus on the This atelier was set up by the exhibition of this Biennale.
strength of regions and local revenue Biannual and the Ministry together.
For a year it conducted design THE QUEEN’S
This Cabinet is will continue research in seven national projects.
to manage regional development SPEECHWRITER
in a selected number of regions. The Atelier gave us new alliances
These urban regions are the most
important ones for our economy.
and networks to work with.

Governments, businesspeople
T he Queen’s speechwriter
was drafting a speech about
a visit to Birmingham and the first
They include, of course, and cultural institutions. line read: ‘I am very glad to be back
Amsterdam, Rotterdam and in Birmingham’. The Queen read
Eindhoven. It helped the government the sentence, picked up a pen and
with testing its new role in spatial crossed out the ‘very’.
But they also include the regions planning.
around Maastricht, Arnhem/ Mentioned in Our Queen, by
Nijmegen, Twente and Groningen. We apply the insights that the Robert Hardman
Atelier gives us immediately.
In this policy, local differences are
not smoothed over. We do this in areas such as the
development of the Amsterdam
Because I very much believe in Zuidas – a business district in
the power of competition between Amsterdam.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

SPEECH by Duncan McNeil, MSP, written by Rodger Evans

Made at the “Out for Sport” conference on Thursday 28 June at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
This was an event organised by the Equality Network to highlight the findings of a report on
homophobia and transphobia in sport.

T hank you, Tim.

Oh don’t look so worried,

community sport and – reading this
report – it struck me how many of
the themes overlap.
So how can we challenge that
folks, they’ve only given me five
minutes. We are looking at people, Organisations like Show Racism
participation and places – all the p-s The Red Card Scotland and Nil by
Football may be “a funny old if you please. Mouth have led the way in the
game”, as Saint and Greavsie were combat of ignorance and soft-
fond of telling us in the 1980s, but And accessibility very much mindedness.
hate is no laughing matter. features within that, as do the health
and other benefits that sports clubs Not that we can be complacent.
Homophobia and trans-phobia in can bring both to individuals and
sport, as in society, must be appalling communities. Politicians like to talk the talk,
for those who experience bullying don’t we?
and so-called banter. Of course nobody in the LGBT
community should be denied those But we have to move beyond
And it’s dispiriting for all of us benefits. I say “of course” but it seems the comfort of warm words in a
who want a Scotland rid of prejudice, we must spell it out. Such is the press release, and a nice photo
bigotry and discrimination. essence of the report. opportunity.

I’m grateful to the Equality Some examples– 3,300 sporting The report recommends three
Network for inviting me to say a bodies and individuals signed up to areas for action: strong leadership,
few words today and I want to the UK Government’s Sports Charter overcoming barriers to inclusion, and
congratulate the authors of Out for to Tackle Homophobia and Trans- understanding of the issues.
Sport for their good work. phobia in Sport.
I’m sure Shona Robison will
That’s Margaret Smith, Scott How many in Scotland? Go on. address each of the strands later.
Cuthbertson and Nathan Gale. Take a guess.
I want to focus here on leadership
Regrettably, I can’t stay the Three… and to highlight what’s possible.
whole day – parliamentary business
calls – but I’m sure the discussion A quote from page 17 of the Because with the abolition of
will be positive and the Minister for report that caught my eye: “Sport Section 28 back in 2000 we – and I
Commonwealth Games and Sport seems the last place in society mean that in the widest sense – set
will be worth hearing later. where it’s okay to be bigoted and a standard to which we continue to
homophobic.” aspire.
I’m here to speak on behalf of the
Health and Sport Committee but I And a contribution to a recent My colleague, Wendy Alexander,
find myself in a curious position as television debate by Graham Spiers then Communities Minister, said
we haven’t done any specific work on – the sports journalist and, like me, “discrimination needed to be
this area. a fan of the football club formerly faced down…let the Parliament of
known as Rangers. Scotland repeal the section, to keep
That said, equalities are our pledge to serve all our people
embedded in the work of the He said the fact that no without discrimination.”
Parliament and I am confident my professional footballer in Scotland
words are neither partisan nor out of today felt able to “come out” was Leadership comes in many guises
step with the mood in this room. “a minor tragedy”; an indictment though and if I can make one plea
of a macho culture that could be today – football-wise and for other
The Committee is just about to “backward, unreconstructed and sports – it’s that we don’t overlook
undertake an inquiry into support for oppressive”. the supporters.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

For as Jock Stein said: “Football is IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU

nothing without fans”.

And it’s worth noting that an

academic study in 2010 found that
80% of football fans were “relaxed”
A few years ago,
I went to a
memorial service for a
nearly half-an-hour,
recounting various tales
of how much the dearly
about players’ sexuality. revered book editor and departed had relied on
a very good guy. One by his excellent judgement.
However accurate that is, we one, authors with whom
should be working with the likes the editor had worked It’s not about you is
of the Scottish Football Supporters came up to the pulpit in a simple rule to follow
Network, Supporters Direct Scotland, the church to speak of if you can concentrate
and other fan-based groups and the deceased’s mind and on the question or the
trusts. character. One eulogy occasion at hand and ask
went: ‘John’, he once said yourself; ‘What is required
We’d do well to enlist their help to to me, his eyes moist here?’
tackle the problem. Pun intended. with tears, ‘you are the best writer
since Hemingway!’ Another, ‘May’ he Though you are certain that you
The message of this report is said, trembling from head to foot are the centre of the universe, you
clear: there is no place for prejudice, with joy, ‘you are the best writer since might acknowledge, in one or two
bigotry or hate in sport. And there Virginia Woolf.’ And so on. instances, that you ought to travel to
can be no place for it in Scottish another planet.
society. We must serve all our people I recall another memorial
without discrimination. service where a man talked for Roger Rosenblatt, Rules for Aging


Do you have a tip for writing for
multilingual audiences?

Short words, simple sentences.

Plenty of pauses.

What’s the best book on

speechwriting you’ve ever read?

I’m sorry to confess – with

apologies to any authors – that
I haven’t read any books on
speechwriting. I was thrown into the
deep end in 1995 and told to get on
Who is your favourite speaker? The first major speech I was with it. I did lots of primary research
asked to contribute to was Nelson (listening to and reading famous
Hans Rosling and Kenneth Mandela’s opening speech to speeches) but never had the time to
Robinson would have to take equal the UN’s Telecom 95 Opening read a book…
first place – combining passion and Ceremony on 3 October 1995 – but
humour, self-deprecation and style I only contributed some of the key How did you get into travel
(both can be seen most famously on messages about the importance of writing?
TED talks). That said, Barack Obama is communications, rather than the
probably the best political speaker of whole speech. Like most things in life, by
our times (when the moment is right) accident. I was writing music reviews
and Hillary Clinton is one of the best The first complete speeches I and reviewing computer software
speakers I’ve seen recently. wrote would have been for Pekka and hardware, and was asked by
Tarjanne, the Secretary-General of my agent whether I could take on
Can you remember the first the ITU at the time. a ‘Europe by Rail’ project for an
speech you ever wrote? Australian publisher. Once that was

The Speechwriter September 2012 | Volume 10 13

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

done, I pitched to write other books/

Draft texts are presented as
bulleted lists, with rarely more than
VoiceGig – the World
one or two sentences per bullet, in Speeches
What’s your favourite joke? and indented sub-lists if actual lists

I’m very fond of the Holmes and

Watson camping joke:
(or lists of three or four) are needed.
The actual reading copy is 14 point
Tahoma – though increasingly
V oiceGig is a new global show-
case for speeches. Anyone
can upload, access or comment on
the speeches are delivered off an speeches on the website - free. There
Holmes and Watson were autocue or iPad, so font size is less are speeches
camping out in the wilds. In the relevant. on all topics,
night, Holmes wakes up Watson up from today’s
and says: “Watson, look up at the What makes for a good structure business
stars, and tell me what you see.” in a speech? and political
Watson replies: “Millions of stars.” All sorts of structures are viable; to the great
what seems more important to historic examples from Churchill,
“And what does that mean?” me is that the ‘proposition’ is clear Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. In
throughout – what is the speech less than a year VoiceGig has gained
“There are suns like ours, beyond affirming (or denying)? Beyond that, some 14,000 followers on Facebook
number.” a strong beginning is always good, and a further 7000 followers to
and of course it’s important to make different accounts on Twitter, such as
“And what else?” sure that it’s clear when the speech is VoiceGigWomen and VoiceGigSocial.
actually over. Also, see how stories/
“Then maybe we are not alone in micro-stories can be worked in, as “We plan to be the Go-To
the universe?” they ‘humanize’ a speech and make portal for any search that relates
it easier for the audience to relate to to a speeches or speechmaking
“And what else?” the speaker. on the internet.” says Simon
Gibson, VoiceGig founder. “We are
“I don’t know.” “Every last touch of colour also making huge use of social
and plain English was removed, media to build communities
“Watson, you idiot, someone’s
every image and metaphor cut, around special interests – such
stolen our tent!”
every list of three expanded into as VoiceGigAcademics or
verbosity, every reference to the VoiceGigFinance. And we’re growing
I also like the snail joke:
time, location, date, people…The our services too: the basic site will
soul was ruthlessly removed, and always be free but increasingly we
A snail goes to the police station
replaced with more bullets with will introduce access to fee paying
and reports being mugged by a gang
stats and meaningless intangible services such as speech writing or
of slugs.
pomposity.” This was some speaker training. We are hoping
“Calm down sir, and just tell us feedback sent in by a speechwriter that professional speech writers
exactly what happened.” working in the City – what everywhere will support us.”
consolation/advice can you offer?
“I don’t know; it was all over so “President Kennedy once
quickly.” We have all been there! In terms remarked that “the only reason
of consolation, it’s important to to give a speech is to change the
How many speeches do you remember two things: firstly, that world”. We believe the skills to give
write a week? most people don’t even know that a better speech can help change a
speechwriters exist, and won’t person’s world professionally - and
Until 2010 it was usually one a therefore look beyond the person understanding a speech better will
week, but this year I’ve written an delivering the speech (and even if help people across society make
average of three – which is pretty they do, they’re likely to blame the better decisions.”
much unmanageable, long-term, review process and not the writer,
but I do get some help, in terms of in my experience); and secondly Go to:
technical input. that tomorrow is another day, and
another opportunity to try again. You The Speechwriter is edited by
How do you present your texts can’t win every battle, but it doesn’t Brian Jenner
(font, spacing, etc)? mean you should self-censor or give

up trying. Design by