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September 2011 | Volume 07

The Speechwriter
Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

MASTERCLASS by Chip and Dan Heath


Welcome
Welcome to the seventh
edition of The Speechwriter
newsletter. The purpose of
this publication is to circulate
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 n their book Made to Stick,
Why Some Ideas Survive and
Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath ask
4) CREDIBILITY

We need to make people believe


anyone who is a Standard
why some ideas take off and some our ideas. Make reference to external
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ authorities.
don’t. They worked out the broad
Guild. characteristics of messages that
become viral. 5) EMOTIONS

1) SIMPLICITY How do we get people to care


about our idea? The content has to
Strip an idea down to its core. As engage strong feelings.
Contribute Dr Johnson said, “He is a benefactor
of mankind who contracts the great 6) STORIES
We need your speeches. Most
rules of life into short sentences.”
of the examples in this edition are Stories are like mental flight
taken from the Americans. 2) UNEXPECTEDNESS simulators they allow us to rehearse
problems and become better at
We want to raise standards in Open gaps in the knowledge of dealing with them. They need to
the UK. Please send examples of your audience. Get their interest and include vivid images and situations
surprise them. people can relate to.
speeches to:
3) CONCRETENESS The headings spell ‘SUCCES’.
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk Apply this checklist to your speech.
A bird in the hand is worth two If you cover all these bases you’re
in the bush. Marvel at how vivid and well on the way to creating a ‘sticky’
memorable this image is and try to message that will be remembered by
replicate. your audience.

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS Bernstein, TED and a pastor from the


Presbyterian church. T hey say that the author photo
can help to sell books. The
photo in the back of this book is of
She suggests that all two bespectacled, white-haired old
presentations should create men. The narrative is an exchange
repeatable soundbites and a STAR of letters between the two through
moment – Something They’re Always four seasons on the subject of what
Remember. The text never drags and makes good business writing.
the points are made in succinct and
fun ways. This sounds very
unprepossessing, but actually
I liked the bit about how the content is riveting. It’s like a
Enron executives were brilliant at correspondence between two dons,
PowerPoint presentations and the each of them telling stories at High
rather endearing chapter heading, Table. They have years of experience
“Don’t Use Presentations for Evil”. and they share their lessons lightly.
The title is a bit odd, perhaps a
The fact that the business more direct American-style “Be The
Resonate: Present Visual Duarte.com exists is great news for Best Business Writer” cover would
Stories That Transform speechwriters. As far as I can see, the explain what the content is, but that
Audiences agency based in California specialises wouldn’t be in the spirit of this very
in advising businesses on how to civilised book.
By Nancy Duarte
construct their presentations using
Published by John Wiley & Sons different technologies. The authors are not unworldly.
(248 pages) They have worked with corporations
ISBN 0470632011, £19.99 and household brands and their
examples of fine writing come from

T his is a lavish coffee table-style eclectic sources like pop music and
book, but where it differs from poetry. They are making the case
other coffee-table books is that it’s against ‘multidisciplinary stakeholder
packed with useful and adaptable partnership consultations’ and
techniques for improving your pleading for the expression of good
presentations. manners through gentle but effective
communication.
Nancy Duarte’s special theory is a
chart called a ‘sparkline’ which shows Like a Jane Fonda Workout
how a great speech is structured video, the letters are broken up with
and the path it needs to take. She exercises to improve your own verbal
created this template and then saw muscle. There is lots of good stuff on
that it worked for many memorable speechwriting and branding.
speeches and other works of art. It’s
worth taking a look at. I see this book is part of a
movement to win more respect
Another excellent innovation for corporate writers. Our value is
in this book is the references to the often overlooked and the company
Duarte.com website. You can watch of Simmons and Jauncey instills
confidence, reminding us of the
the speeches she talks about online. Room 121: A Masterclass important role we play in the success
The text drives you to the website
and the website sends you back to in Writing and of products and organisations.
the book. Communication in Brian Jenner
Another virtue of this text is Business
that it goes beyond the hackneyed By John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey, http://www.thespeechwriter.co.uk
examples of good communication to Published by Marshall Cavendish
include new material from Richard International (224 pages)
Feynman, Martha Graham, Leonard
ISBN 9814328596, £12.99

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA - WHAT WORKS IN SPEECHES by Dan Pink

will give your speech a shape. And can be doing at that moment isn’t
it will provide your audience some taking care of something at the office
guideposts about where you’ve been or being with their families – but
and where you’re going. sitting there listening to you. That’s
an extraordinary — and humbling —
2. Mix up the elements. Variety gift. Alas, not enough speakers think
can keep your audience engaged. of it this way. The goal is to for the
For instance, funny stories are great. audience to leave saying, “I’m sure
But a half-hour of nothing but zany glad I listened to that guy for an hour
D an Pink was the chief
speechwriter for Vice
President Al Gore from 1995-1997. He
tales can actually undermine your
point. Pelting people with factoids
rather than returned those phone
calls or answered those emails.”

for 40 minutes is usually a mistake.
wrote some tips for delivering world- 2. Forgetting the Lamott rule.
But removing them altogether is also
class presentations on the Tim Ferriss Anne Lamott wrote Bird by Bird, one
an error. Mix it up. Audiences are so
Blog http://www.fourhourworkweek. of my favorite writing guides. In the
accustomed to predictable speeches
com/blog/. Here is an extract. book, she describes how an editor
that surprise can be your ally. Indeed,
one of my favorite speech models of hers cut out a sizeable portion
What are the necessary of some chapter she had written.
doesn’t even have words. It’s Haydn’s
ingredients in a good speech? Outraged, she asked him why. He
Surprise Symphony (No. 94 in G
Major). It engages the listener by said: “Just because it happened to
I’ve said many times that the
offering variety and surprise within you doesn’t mean it’s interesting.”
three essential ingredients in any
an established structure. Great advice for speakers.
good speech are brevity, levity, and
repetition. But at a broader level, 3. Not doing their homework.
3. Once you’ve mapped out your
the most important aspect of any This may seem self-evident, but it’s
speech, remove 20 percent. In all
speech, as Garr Reynolds reminds us important to know whom you’re
my years of preparing and watching
in Presentation Zen, is being able to talking to. Yet too many speakers
political and business speeches, I’ve
answer two questions:

A. What’s your ignore this simple truth. They deliver
yet to hear anyone say, “Gee, I wish
point?
B. Why does it matter? the same speech to a group of nuns
that speech were longer.”
that they delivered three days ago
That’s the whole enchilada. If you
4. Here’s the key lesson: It’s not at a punk rock convention. You don’t
have a single point and can explain
about you. It’s about the audience. necessarily have to craft an entirely
to a particular audience why it
Think of it from their perspective. new speech from top to bottom
matters to them, you’re ahead of 90
Again, at the risk of being too critical every time you open your mouth. But
percent of the business and political
of all those who stride the stage or there are all kinds of ways to tailor
speechgivers out there today.
command the podium, too many and customize the message to the
speechmakers – either through people at hand. For example, when
How do you plan and structure
nervousness or ego – seem to I was working for Gore, we used
presentations?
forget that what really matters is the to love to include in his speeches
audience’s experience, not their own. what we called “How the hells?” For
There’s no single formula for
instance, say he was speaking in
making a point and showing why it
What are the most common Sheboygan, Wisconsin. We’d find
matters, but you typically won’t go
mistakes that presenters make and out the most popular coffee shop
wrong if you abide by four principles:
how do you fix them? in Sheboygan and its most popular
1. Give the speech a beginning, a pastry. Then somewhere in the
There are three that I see all the speech, we’d include a place for him
middle and an end.
time: to say matter-of-factly, “If you’re
You don’t have to take the talking about health care down at
1. Thinking a speech is a right Charley Café’s – and maybe eating
audience by the hand and walk them
rather than a privilege. When you one of those cherry-walnut scones
through each step. And you don’t
deliver a speech, you’ve got 10 or 100 – you might wonder whether our
have to proceed chronologically. But
or 10,000 people who have decided Medicare plan covers . . . “ People love
having that structure in your head
that the most important thing they that sort of touch. Homework pays.

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

OPENINGS LESSONS FROM A MOVIE: PROVIDING VALUE


BEYOND WORDS
D ear fellow speechwriters,
friends and colleagues. There
is a line from Shakespeare about the
darkest hour being just before dawn.
S peechwriters the
world over talked
about The King’s Speech
ideas? Then make sure the
answers to that question end
up in the speech.
“Let me tell you about the darkest
and its insights into the
hour in my career …”
relationship between a 3. Provide a script that’s
high profile speaker and easy to read
Andrew B. Wilson, freelance
the one person who was
speechwriter, in remarks titled
able to help him overcome a stutter. Set up the speech so that each
Stay Up and Fight: Advice from a
sentence is its own paragraph. It’s too
Corporate Speechwriter.
According to the film, speech easy for a speaker to get lost in a sea
therapist Lionel Logue went to great of words when the text is set up in
Y ou can always tell how highly
you are rated as a speaker by
how long before the event you are
lengths to support King George VI.
Before important broadcasts, he
dense clumps. To help your speaker
hold his or her head high, only use
created a “cosy” setting, opened the top half of each page.
asked to speak.
the windows, and performed like a
maestro, conducting his royal client 4. Leave time for your speaker to
International statesmen, of the
through the script. pause
calibre of Tony Blair and Paddy
Ashdown are often approached 18
Your speaker probably doesn’t Speakers and listeners both
months in advance.
need or expect you to take those benefit from pauses. The speaker can
steps. However, you can provide use a pause to gauge the interest
Former British Cabinet Ministers
value that goes far beyond the words level of the audience. Listeners enjoy
might need SIX months notice.
you write. them too, as they provide a break
and a chance to reflect on what is
You might be able to book a
Here are five things to do to help being said.
reasonably well-known national TV
celebrity with four week’s warning. your speaker succeed.
5. Understand that the last
1. Get a good sense of the lay of reason to include humour in a
On the other hand you can
the land. speech is to make the speaker funny
probably get a local public figure or
clergyman if you have the courtesy
Whenever possible, speak Most speakers aren’t skilled
to let them know a couple of days
with the event organiser to get a enough at handling humour to
before your event.
clear understanding of the speech get the audience rolling in the
window. Find out how long the aisles. Nor should they try. That’s
So..it was with enormous
speaker is supposed to talk as well what comedians work hard to do.
pleasure.. that I received your
as the time for activities such as the Audiences are more than happy
Chairman’s phone call at 6.30 this
introduction and Q&A session. Ask with the kind of humour that elicits
morning.’
who else is going to speak, in what a smile or a few chuckles. Quips,
Quoted in The Presentation order and for how long. Then make one-liners and personal anecdotes
Coach by Graham Davies sure your speaker is well briefed so warm up the atmosphere, allow the
there are no surprises. speaker to express some personality
and give the audience a chance
I f you’re here this evening
to experience a wonderful
company dinner with glittering
2. Knock down the barriers
between speaker and audience
respond through smiles, laughter or
even applause.
entertainment and devastatingly
witty speeches, you’ve come to the Build a profile of the audience Wendy Cherwinski will be
right place.....you’ve come on the and use the information to choose running a seminar Adding Value
wrong night, but you’ve come to the language, imagery and examples Beyond Words: The Many Roles
right place! that will help your speaker connect of the Speechwriter at the UK
with his or her listeners. Also, ask Speechwriters’ Guild conference
Mitch Murray yourself: what do these people need on Friday 16 September at
to hear to get behind the speaker’s Bournemouth University.

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

UK BUSINESS SPEAKER OF THE YEAR OLYMPIC


INSPIRATION
The Search For The
UK Business Speaker
Of The Year Starts Now
Sponsored By

Y ou came to see a race today.


See someone win. Happened

T he UK Speechwriters’ Guild
exists to promote better
public speaking.
A motivational speech is like a
good sermon. It engages the heart. It
makes you see the world in a slightly
to be me. But I want you to do more
than just watch a race.

different way. We all lose hope and I want you to take part in it.
Working with brand agency, RT get into ruts at times. A collective
Media, we’ve created a competition emotional experience can inspire us I want to compare faith to
that uses YouTube to draw attention to do great things on the sports field, running in a race. It’s hard. It requires
to those speakers who have deal with a difficult situation or take concentration of will, energy of soul.
important things to say. Would-be action to start a new business.”
competitors submit their videos You experience elation when the
which are made available for viewing The speakers have been winner breaks the tape - ‘specially if
by the public. instructed to deliver ‘an inspirational you’ve got a bet on it.
business message for our times’.
This year is the pilot. We’ve Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth But how long does that last? You
invited eight speakers to take has a state-of-the art theatre which go home. Maybe your dinner’s burnt.
part in the final. The plan is for the will host the contest. The speeches Maybe, maybe you haven’t got a job.
overall winner to be selected by will start at 7pm on Thursday 15 So who am I to say, “believe,” “have
a live audience. When better to September 2011. faith,” in the face of life’s realities?
host the final than when over 40
speechwriters are in Bournemouth The competition will be run on an I would like to give you
on the eve of the annual UKSG X-Factor format with the judges and something more permanent, but
conference? the audience having a vote towards I can only point the way. I have
who becomes the winner. no formula for winning the race.
Brian Jenner explained the Everyone runs in her own way, or his
thinking behind the contest. Max Atkinson, author of Lend own way.
Me Your Ears will be chairman of the
“One theorist of social change judges. And where does the power come
identified three things that from to see the race to its end?
motivated people: carrots, sticks and “Most of the world’s top business From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the
sermons. gurus are American, this is a great kingdom of God is within you. If, with
opportunity to find the British all your hearts ye truly seek me, ye
In politics they’re always talking equivalent of Tom Peters or Stephen shall ever surely find me.”
about taking away benefits from Covey.” said Ross Thornley, owner of
those who don’t want to work, or RT Media. If you commit yourself to the love
giving them free training in the of Christ. And THAT is how you run
hope of finding a new career. How You can buy your ticket at: the straight race.
about encouraging them to listen http://championspeaker.eventbrite.
to inspirational stories and find com/ Speech from Chariots of Fire, Ian
potential within themselves? Charleson as Eric Liddell

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

levels of gesture. From waving


your hands in the air like a mad
scientist to keeping them behind
your back like a Royal. This was a
curious exercise for me because I
occasionally do something similar for
wedding speeches when I’m stuck for
inspiration. There’s an insight here –
gesture can help to generate text.

Most of the exercises involved


working with a partner. We had
to find a beginning, a middle and
an end for our anecdote by oral
experimentation. Our partner would
fire imperatives at us to change the
tone of the story: Action! Description!
Leon Conrad Giles Abbot
Feeling!

150 minutes passed rapidly.


THE ART OF RHETORIC - A COURSE Without weighing us down with
figures of speech, they shared
some of the joy of using effective

O ne of the stated aims of the


UK Speechwriters’ Guild is to
‘repopularise rhetoric’. The trouble is
As soon as introductions
were over we were taking part in
interactive exercises. As if we were in
storytelling techniques. At the end of
the session every delegate stepped
up to the podium to deliver the
that this makes for a dry mantra. Few drama school, we were given a task bare bones of their story. Nerves
people could give a simple definition to bring us into ‘the moment’. We had had disappeared and everyone
of what rhetoric is and the whole to prowl round the room pointing at remembered their lines. I went home
concept reeks of Latin and obscure objects and calling them the wrong eager to polish up some of my other
grammatical rules. name. anecdotes to give them a wider
audience.
Tom Hodgkinson is the founder Giles urged us to think of a simple
of The Idler magazine and the author anecdote from our lives. A story Giles and Leon ( http://www.
of several books on living well. He we had told that week. He then academyoforatory.co.uk ) are
has extended the franchise further illustrated three styles of opening running another course on 20
and created The Idler Academy on a story: direct, indirect and gear September at the Idler Academy
Westbourne Park Road in London. change. 020 7221 5908, £40

Browsing his website, I noticed I think I grasped that direct


he offered a class in The Art of involved a formal beginning ‘once
Rhetoric. Even more surprising was upon a time’ – indirect involved a DEFINITION
that the course was being taught rambling introduction and ‘gear
by a company called The Academy change’ – was like the opening of “Hypnotizing chickens “
of Oratory. How could a company Paradise Lost – a dive into the ‘middle
can that sounds 2500 years out of of things’. It didn’t really matter, the The process of developing
date persuade corporates to engage point was made that there were PowerPoint slides and other
their services? That would indeed be different ways to start a story. media that will induce coma in the
a formidable exercise in rhetorical audience.
skills. The background of both trainers
has been voice coaching; breathing
I dropped in on the class. The exercises also featured in the lesson.
trainers, Giles Abbott and Leon The blend of different dimensions of
Conrad, exude the confidence of top speech-giving kept our attention and
actors. They both wear musketeer- gave the course a ‘holistic’ feel.
like beards and they both speak
beautifully. Leon explained there were five

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

QUESTIONS FOR DAVID MURRAY though neither of them has delivered


anything immortal. I hope to be
David Murray, keynote speaker at UKSG 2011, is editor of turned onto some great British
Vital Speeches of the Day and Vital Speeches International. speakers while I’m in Bournemouth.
Murray has covered speechwriting and executive
communication for nearly two decades. What does the American Dream
mean to you? And how does it
shape American speechwriting?
What is Vital Speeches of the The Cicero Speechwriting
Day? Awards recognize excellence in As it relates to rhetoric, the
speechwriting. They’ve been around American Dream is simply an
Vital Speeches has for 76 years for five years, and they were a natural assumption that things can get
now collected the best speeches outgrowth of the longtime function better, and that they probably
from the leading thinkers in the of Vital Speeches as an arbiter of will get better and that you, the
world. The original idea, back in 1935, excellence in rhetoric. American, have the power to
was that newspapers and radio so make them better. Wherever
finely filtered what we heard, that it Did you study rhetoric at you’re speaking, you have to find
would be a service to the nation— university? the “American dream” inside the
Vital Speeches was then a very much audience. Napoleon said that
America-centric enterprise—to I studied English. Straight out a leader is a dealer in hope. A
provide a look at whole speeches, of university, I went to work for a rhetorician is, too.
not just sound bites chosen by Chicago company that published a
biased media organizations. weekly Speechwriter’s Newsletter. Is the need for a specialist
They put on an annual Speechwriters’ speechwriter widely accepted in the
That musty old mission sounds Conference, too. Helping write the US or do most executives see it as
kind of modern, doesn’t it? newsletter and run the conference, part of the PR skillset?
I got to read a lot of speeches and
Have you featured any speeches to know a lot of speechwriters. I There used to be dedicated
by British speakers lately? liked the speechwriters better than speechwriters, but now it’s mostly
the speeches, which were mostly just a part of the PR skill set. That’s
Yes, Vital Speeches is now global corporate drivel and political pap. My fine for many speeches, but when a
in its scope, and we also publish appreciation for the rarity of a good truly artful speech is needed, I hope
a sister publication called Vital speech prepared me well, I think, to the communication VP is LinkedIn to
Speeches International, which almost be editor of Vital Speeches of the Day. some real writers who actually have
exclusively runs speeches from time to think and space to dream
outside the US. Have you ever worked as a outside the corporate box.
speechwriter?
British political speeches are How did the Ragan
often better—more substantive and I’ve consulted on speeches Communications’ Annual
more rhetorically powerful—than for others, and I’ve written many Speechwriters’ Conference in
American ones. In Bournemouth, speeches for myself. But never Washington come about? What was
I will be looking for examples of written one for hire, no. I’d like to, your involvement with it?
corporate speeches from the UK, as but then who would send it to Vital
I don’t see enough of those even to Speeches? And who would consider it That conference started in
have an opinion about them. for publication? Chicago in the late 1980s; I used
to help organize it in some of
How do speechwriters submit What are your favourite those early years, and wound up
speeches? examples of British rhetoric? programming it for most of a decade,
in the 2000s. It was a great event, and
Easy: Send a Word doc to me at Well, we’re big Churchill fans it still is.
vseditor@mcmurry.com. over here, and Tony Blair is widely
respected. I guess with this new But I have a little more fun at
I read every speech I get. Thatcher movie out, we’ll be Leadership Communication Days,
considering her rhetoric, too. I an event that Vital Speeches initiated
What are the Cicero Awards? don’t mind Cameron’s speeches, last year. It’s super small—we cap
And how did they come about? and we’ve published Clegg’s too, attendance at 25—and all we do

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The Speechwriter September 2011 | Volume 07 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

is tell one another the truth about so there’s not much time to listen to advertising is just to tell people what
this work for two straight days. At books. Books on tape drive me nuts, to think. What would be a functional
meetings, over meals, over drinks. because books inspire ideas, and I way for a homeless man to express
You leave with new ideas and new find myself drifting a hundred miles his need?
friends. away from the story, needing to
rewind the damned thing. I’m homeless. I need money.
(It’s in Washington, D.C. this year,
Oct. 27-28; we’d love to have a UK Who is the next best speaker That’s clear, but to give the
speechwriter there.) among Presidential hopefuls after communication focus he could say:
Obama?
http://www.vsotd.com/Page. I’m homeless, I need your money.
php?p=11 Lady Gaga.
But the sign would lack some
What’s your favourite line of urgency, so he could add.
poetry?
A WINNING SIGN I’m homeless, I need your money now.
No ideas but in things. William
Carlos Williams. That’s a bit raw, but it could
suffice, but it’s hardly imaginative or
What’s the best website created special. It doesn’t deal with casual
by a US freelance speechwriter in prejudices.
your opinion?
Steel goes through other
For my money, it’s The Eloquent strategies.
Woman, run by speechwriter and
communicator Denise Graveline. Non-smoker. On the wagon. Faint at

J
Full of ideas and great examples of on Steel in his book Truth, the sight of a needle.
speeches—refreshingly, all speeches Lies and Advertising tells an
delivered by women. anecdote that reveals the sort of That’s a bit vague. Then he goes
brain work a speechwriter does for a for the stylish line:
Check it out and see if you client.
disagree. Just give it.
Living in the San Francisco Bay
http://eloquentwoman.blogspot.com area, he explains that one of the most Finally he ends up with two
prevalent forms of communication signs he saw on the streets of San
Do you write your own speeches are signs held up by homeless people Francisco that show ingenuity and
verbatim as preparation, or do you to attract donations from passers- charm. One read:
assemble your ideas and then speak by. The most common sign was ‘Will
impromptu? Work for Food’ which Steel thinks is Why lie? I need a beer.
very powerful.
Verbatim. For me there are no And then on foot, he saw a man
ideas without words. Sometimes I It credits the passer-by with with the demeanor of a man without
then decide to go off notes—that’s intelligence, and then addresses a bed for the night, brandishing a
what I’ll do at your conference— a popular prejudice about the tatty cardboard sign:
and other times I actually deliver homeless not wanting to do any
them off the page. That’s hopelessly work. Mentioning food also counters Need fuel for Lear Jet.
old-fashioned, I know, but when the fear that the person is going
you really positively have to get Steel was so impressed, he
to spend the money on drugs or
something across exactly as stopped, gave him $5 and wished
gambling. It’s also direct and to the
intended—and you’re a writer— him a pleasant journey.
point – just four words.
how can you leave the verbiage to
chance? Steel then looks at other ways
you could express this message.
Do you listen to audiobooks? The Speechwriter is edited by Brian
His comments are part of a chapter
Jenner.
that examines the objection that
No. I work at home, and when I creativity is a needless distraction
europa|studio
TM

Design by
travel it’s usually on a motorcycle, from selling, and the task of

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