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May 2012 | Volume 09

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

MASTERCLASS by James E Lukaszewski


Welcome
Welcome to the ninth edition
of The Speechwriter newsletter. I n the July 1997 an American
public relations expert called
James E Lukaszewski made a speech
The purpose of this publication is
in Cleveland, USA, titled: ‘Becoming a
to circulate examples of excellent
Verbal Visionary’.
speeches to members of the UK
Speechwriters’ Guild. We do this He said that the dominant force
by picking out openings, closings, in decision making is verbal power –
one-liners and quotations and talking. A verbal visionary is someone
other topical extracts from able to move people through speech
power.
newspapers and the internet to
identify techniques, stimulate One powerful habit of visionary
your imagination and provide communication is to say less but
models which you can emulate. make it more important; to write less
but make it sayable and listenable.
This newsletter appears
quarterly and is available to
So how do you become a verbal
visionary? Ask yourself:
anyone who is a Standard
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ What do you believe? Even Write it down. Say it out loud.
Guild or the European though what you believe rarely
Speechwriter Network. changes, write it down. Say it out Benjamin Franklin lived by what
loud. he referred to as 13 virtues. He kept
a little book with him for more than
Who are you? Say it out loud. 50 years. Each of the 13 virtues was
Write it down. printed on a separate page. Each day
he evaluated his performance; every
Contribute What are your personal limits? week he chose one virtue to focus
What are the things you can’t do and work on for that week.
We need your speeches. Most and won’t do? Set those limits. Write
of the examples in this edition are them down. He read it, worked on it, and lived
taken from the Americans. it. His 13 virtues were temperance,
What are your aspirations? Who, silence, order, resolution, frugality,
what, where do you want to be? industry, sincerity, justice,
We want to raise standards in
Write them down. moderation, cleanliness, tranquility
the UK. Please send examples of
chastity, and humility.
speeches to: What are your principles? What
are the parameters of your life? Write It might be useful for you to
them down.
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk consider using Franklin’s approach.
A verbal visionary lives and works his
What is your destiny? Do you or her principles, values, aspirations,
have an inner sense of where you are and vision every day.
going?

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS don’t need slides so much as a


subsidiary function, and he offers
help finding one.

He’s brilliant, too, on finding


the speech’s topic. “Try writing the
opposite of what you have written,”
he suggests. “If it makes sense, you
have a credible topic.” These chapters
alone are worth the price of the
book.

Given this evident good sense, it’s


a pity the chapter on language offers
so little detailed guidance. We’re
told to read Orwell (good advice
but hardly groundbreaking), and to
avoid clichés (his dislike of ‘proactive’
seems harsh). We’re offered a four-
page anecdote that may or may not
more, he says, if we shifted our
be about Henry Kissinger. We need
linguistic focus from judgement
more.
and insecurity to curiosity and
Collins ends by suggesting that appreciation. “I wrote this book,” he
“profound public speech has become writes, “to let you observe words in
the wild through a linguist’s eyes.”
The Art of Speeches more difficult than ever before.” But
Johnson – both an academic and a
and Presentations: he still believes in the moral force of
rhetoric. He’s amazed that so many verbal branding consultant – mixes
The Secrets of Making corporate leaders don’t seem to care poetics and relevance theory with
People Remember What about being dull and unclear. “They close analysis of six-word stories,
You Say should care, because to speak poorly film titles and political slogans.
in public is a bad thing to do in itself.” The combination is sometimes
By Philip Collins
He’s echoing Quintilian, who defined uneasy, but it means we get
Published by John Wiley and Sons remarkable insights. (I particularly
(206 pages) ISBN 9780470711842, rhetoric as ‘a good man speaking
well’. And he’s right. like cranberry morphemes.) In four
£14.99 sections – dealing with meaning,
sound, structure and social context
Microstyle – Johnson shows how microstyle
Tony Blair’s former speechwriter
By Christopher Johnson changes the relationship between
is on a mission. Many speakers worry
about how they will perform, he Published by Norton and Co, writer and reader.
says, “but they do not worry enough 2011 (246 pages) ISBN-13: 978-
about writing the speech in the first 0393077407, £14.99 The writer’s task is to grab the
place.” reader’s attention; readers, in turn,
Microstyle is the style of the contribute wit and context to fill
The point’s well made. Some micromessage: the headline, the micromessages with meaning.
write speeches; some write speeches slogan, the tweet. Big Style has
for others; and some present. governed formal writing since the Microstyle emerges from
Presenters – by definition – tend advent of printing. Microstyle is conversation and, at its best, evokes
to write nothing but slides. Collins really the old oral style of proverbs, it. Johnson is a prophet of what
wants to help all three groups find aphorisms and epigrams. But with Walter Ong called secondary orality.
better words. Tall order. electronic media and the attention His book is a serious contribution
economy, microstyle has found a to this new rhetoric, and it fulfils its
He’s at his best when he focuses new lease of life. promise as a field guide. You’ll see –
on the speech itself. He understands and use – language differently after
that classical rhetoric says little about Big Style generates style guides; reading it.
explanation, and seeks to redress the microstyle, says Johnson, needs
balance. Informative presentations a field guide. We’d love language Alan Barker

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

THE VERBLESS SPEECH by Max Atkinson

noticed that the language of public That we are the party for the
speaking has changed. tougher times not just the easier
times.
If it has, I’d welcome advice on I have changed where we stand.
whether you think it’s a change for Changing our economy with:
the better.
Better quality jobs.
In the following sequences from A living wage.
the speech, the few sentences with Making sure that businesses can get
verbs in them are singled out in the money they need to grow.
italics: This matters.
To me.
Nobody will be in any doubt that To Labour.
change is necessary for our country. To Britain.
Unemployment rising.
1 million young people out of work. And I am proud to lead a party
Living standards squeezed for all affiliated to three million working
but a few at the top. people through our link to the trade
Irresponsibility still being rewarded unions:

I n the internet age, we can often in huge pay rises and bank bonuses. The nurses who look after the sick.
can read a speech, free from any And there are problems that go The teaching assistants who teach
‘embargo’, before it’s actually been beyond one government. our kids.
given. The shopworkers, the engineers,
Long hours. the bus drivers.
One thing that struck me about Wages not going up. But I know we can do more.
it was that there were rather a lot Costs rising.
of sequences without any verbs, a Strains on families. We do it by making promises we
practice pioneered in some of Tony Worries about the future. know we can keep.
Blair’s early leader’s speeches to the An economy not working for Not image over substance.
Labour Party Conference. But I’m no working people. Not fake change.
more convinced by it now than I was But by offering a different direction
then. I have changed where we stand. for the country.
Equality of sacrifice and fairness of That is where I stand.
Reading Miliband’s forthcoming reward matter. That is where Labour stands.
speech also reminded me that To me. With you, on your side in these
verblessness is not something I To Labour. tough times.
recommend in my speechwriting To Britain. That’s what we’re fighting for in these
courses either. local elections.
For too many years, some of the
It also made me realise that most powerful in society thought
I’m not quite sure why I don’t and no-one could stand up to them even Do Speeches Still Matter?
wonder whether I should. if they were ripping people off.
Energy companies. Dr Max Atkinson, Chris Witt, Christian
Maybe it’s because all these Train companies. Eversbusch and many more will be
verbless phrases and isolated Banks. speaking at autumn conference
participles come across as Even media companies. of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild in
disembodied lists that make it sound I have changed where we stand. conjunction with Bournmeouth
like the speaker’s reading out the No company is too powerful to University Media School, 20/21
blobs/bullet points on a PowerPoint challenge. September 2012. For more details
slide. Standing with people in tough times go to:
is what counts.
Or maybe I’m just an old fogey To me. http://speechesmatter.eventbrite.
who’s too preoccupied with the To Labour. co.uk/
conventions of grammar to have To Britain.

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

OUTSTANDING SPEECHES

delivered he’s getting his share. Do you know when self-


employed people fail?
So many self-employed people
say I’m going to work with my They give up. I failed. I lost my
brother-in-law, he says he’s going money. Nobody bought them. I’ll
to split the money when we get it. never do it again.
Yeah?
9/10 burglars go back to burgling.
We’re not sure when we’re going What is it? Why weren’t they
to get paid but there’s a big company defeated?
that promised loads of work. Yeah?
Because they go away to prison
Just ask them to sign a little old for a few years of gentle reflection.
contract then. They meet other burglars who they
share stories with. They network.
The burglar absolutely no way. He
knows he works with crooks. How did you get pinched, Brian? I
had my mobile phone on me. Do you

W ho is really successful at
being self-employed?
I came up with a really naughty
But there’s another thing about
the burglar, deep in his heart, he’s
know the coppers can track them?
No.
driven by something else. He’s driven
thought. by, in his case, dishonesty. You leave So he comes out a better burglar,
your wallet on the bar, he might with better ideas and he’ll share
The person who really is the describe himself as a professional stories, and he will never make the
perfect model for self-employment is burglar, but he’ll still nick your wallet. same mistake again.
a burglar.
But he’s able to take Next time he might get pinched
Burglars don’t worry about opportunities. Here’s an opportunity. for finger prints. But he won’t be
finding the work. They go out and do It’s an opportunity, he takes it. In your caught by the old mobile phone
it. They go out and burgle. Off they heart you should want to be free and trouble again. He will succeed by
go and burgle. And they just go and self-employed. learning and learning.
do it.
Okay, you want to start a business Now before you rush out and buy
They’ve got mates. They’ve got making shelves and somebody wants this book thinking it’s advising you
friends. They’ve got people they you to make a cake. to be a burglar. It’s using those sort
know, they can call on. They form of thoughts that drives through the
these loose alliances. It doesn’t matter. It’s an whole book.
opportunity. Make the cake. Take the
There’s Jimmy the driver. And Billy money. Because in your heart you’re Because I’m passionate,
the safe man. They’ll get together being successfully self-employed. passionate about making you
and pull the big bank job. But succeed.
they don’t want to form a limited Our burglar succeeds because in
company called Crime Inc. No. They his heart, he’s a crook. When you’ve read Self-Made Me
get together for that job. When we you will have no excuse to come up
do that job, he’s the manager. You know, we need to get that to me and say it just didn’t work, I
little core of energy to make it work. picked the wrong business, I couldn’t
It’s great. But here’s another thing But here’s another thing about the get the money, there wasn’t any
about our burglar. burglar. business, I was in the wrong part of
the world.
He knows the people he’s chosen Sometimes he makes horrible
to work with are criminals. They can’t mistakes. Which results in him Speech made to camera by Geoff
be trusted. So when the job starts he getting caught and being sent to Burch to promote his new book Self-
makes sure he’s going to get paid. He prison. That’s his failure. Sent to Made Me
knows when those spoils are being prison.

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

others setting out to develop their


voices, tell us something about
ourselves, about how we live and
about what it is to be alive at this
time.

And the tougher the economic


climate, the more fearsome the
threats to our ordered and tolerant
society, the more important they are
and the more art doesn’t just reflect
society, but shape it too.

L et me leave you with three


thoughts. G ood morning,

The economic outlook is


Speech by Liz Forgan, Chair
Arts Council England, State of the
First, cooperation can deliver. glum. Life is serious. Naturally we all Arts 2012 at The Lowry, Salford, 14
Over the course of the 20th century, focus on jobs, revenue generation, February 2012
we saw what can be accomplished economic growth. So now, more than
when the global community pulls ever, the public debate about the arts
together, especially when the United is focused on the bottom line. We
States takes a leading role. Now is talk endlessly about art in terms of
another moment for U.S. economic regeneration, in terms of the creative
leadership. economy, of return on investment.

Second, in a world riven by an And that’s right and proper.


infinity of interconnections, the ideal The instrumental value of the arts
of cooperation is as urgent as when to wealth, to mental and physical
John F. Kennedy said, “Geography health, to education, to social
has made us neighbors, history has coherence, is real and enormously
made us friends, economics has important. But today is about
made us partners, and necessity has something else: today is about
made us allies”. The time has come the extraordinary and essential
for the nations of the world to stand role artists play in our society,
together again in the face of a major their genius, their needs, their

I
economic challenge, and with the contribution to what matters in all t is a great honour to join
U.S. as a lead partner. our lives. my right hon. Friend the
Prime Minister, the Leader of the
Third, the IMF was founded more I’ve never met an artist who Opposition and other colleagues in
than half a century ago for precisely set out to work with their pen, the House’s tribute to Her Majesty
this purpose. We are here to serve paintbrush or piano with the sole the Queen on the presentation of an
our members—including the United aim of contributing to the creative Humble Address.


States of America. economy. Artists work to explore,
to crash through our received ideas, On the night of Monday 4 April
Support us. Use us. Work with us. to show us personal and unique 1955, on the eve of his resignation
perspectives, to express anger, love, as Prime Minister, my kinsman Sir
Thank you fear and awe. Winston Churchill gave a dinner
at No. 10 Downing street for the
Cooperation and Great art isn’t about economics. Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Connectedness—an Address to It’s about the ambiguity and restraint It was attended by Churchill’s closest
the Associated Press by Christine of Gerhard Richter’s September; the political and military colleagues
Lagarde, Managing Director, lyrical insight of James McCarthy’s and friends, and by members of his
International Monetary Fund, 17 Days, the breath-stopping horror private office and his family.
Washington, 3 April 2012 of Jacobi’s Lear, the exploration of
personal landscapes of Akram Khan’s The Prime Minister, in proposing
Desh, the restless looking of David the Queen’s health, said this:
“I
Hockney, or Lucien Freud. These propose a health to Your Majesty
works, these artists, some exalted,

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

which I used to drink in the days The Queen is a source of powerful Those attributes, added to a perfectly
when I was a young Officer in the 4th influence for this country throughout wondrous dislike of pomposity and
Hussars in the reign of Your Majesty’s the world, as my right hon. Friend the vanity, and an absolute inability to
great, great grandmother, Queen Prime Minister said. She is the Queen pretend to be anything other than
Victoria”.

 of 16 countries, including Canada, herself, make the Queen what she
Australia and New Zealand, and the is: arguably the most respected and
He ended with the following Head of the Commonwealth, an admired-indeed, loved-public figure
words:
“And I drink to the wise and organisation that includes more than in the world.


kindly way of life of which Your a quarter of the earth’s population.
Majesty is the young and gleaming She thus brings a vital and often I conclude as I started, with
champion”. unrecognised addition to our efforts Churchill on the Queen. Broadcasting
and our influence overseas. We in this to the nation on 7 February 1952,
I am sure that this whole House House in particular should recognise on the death of King George VI, he
will agree that Her Majesty the this as an irreplaceable national asset ended with these words:

“I, whose
Queen has, throughout her long of the first importance.

 youth was passed in the august,
reign, indeed been a gleaming unchallenged and tranquil glories
champion for her country and for Every country needs someone of the Victorian Era, may well feel
the Commonwealth. Crowned in the who can represent the whole nation. a thrill in invoking, once more, the
same abbey church as William the It may seem primitive - and indeed prayer and the Anthem ‘God Save the
Conqueror, at the same age – 26 - it is - but if nationhood is to mean Queen’.”
And, 60 years on, so do we
as
the first Queen Elizabeth 400 years anything, it has to have a focus. all, Mr Speaker - with all our hearts.
earlier, she embodies all the best
qualities and the continuity that are In our case, for 60 years that focus Speech by Nicholas Soames,
so important to our country and its has been, and remains, the Queen. House of Commons, 7 March 2012
splendid, independent people.
Nations do have values, and they
This diamond jubilee will thus should be proud of them and willing
be an occasion for the nation to to express that pride. That is what
thank the Queen, who has served we are able to do with our monarchy
us so professionally, so loyally and and our Queen, and what we will do
so conscientiously through these this year.


extraordinary 60 years of some of the
most tumultuous social, economic The Queen, blessed with a
and technological change that happy marriage to a remarkable
Britain has ever seen.

 consort who has done so much to
support her does a job that demands
The Queen brings to our national tremendous physical and mental
life an experience and knowledge
of politics and events all around the
toughness and energy. Quite apart
from her still extensive public M y Lords and Members of
the House of Commons,
I am most grateful for your Loyal
world which is truly unrivalled by any engagements, her work follows her
other person in the land. Throughout wherever she goes, and always has Addresses and the generous words of
her long reign, she has displayed done. Her life has truly been one the Lord Speaker and Mr Speaker.
great, good judgment, tolerance and of selfless duty. Yet sadly, there is
absolute political neutrality at all probably no day when she will not This great institution has been at
times. read something about her or her the heart of the country and the lives
family in the media or see something of our people throughout its history.
When she ascended to the on television that is untrue, cruel or As Parliamentarians, you share with
throne, her first Prime Minister, just plain silly.
 your forebears a fundamental role in
Winston Churchill, was of an age to the laws and decisions of your own
have charged with the 21st Lancers We are indeed blessed to have in age.
at the battle of Omdurman in 1898, the Queen someone who is truly a
while her present Prime Minister was remarkable example of dedication, Parliament has survived as
not even born in 1952. Such is the efficiency and common sense, with an unshakeable cornerstone of
scale and breadth of the life that she a tremendously good judgment of our constitution and our way of
has so triumphantly lived through.

 people and-last, but by no means life. History links monarchs and
least - an excellent sense of humour. Parliament, a connecting thread from
one period to the next.

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

So, in an era when the regular, story and the virtues of resilience,
worthy rhythm of life is less eye- ingenuity and tolerance which
catching than doing something created it. I have been privileged
extraordinary, I am reassured that I to witness some of that history
am merely the second Sovereign to and, with the support of my family,
celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. rededicate myself to the service of
our great country and its people now
As today, it was my privilege to and in the years to come.
address you during my Silver and
Golden Jubilees. Many of you were The Queen’s address to both
present ten years ago and some of Houses of Parliament to mark her
Commonwealth has flourished and
you will recall the occasion in 1977. Diamond Jubilee, 20 March 2012
grown by successfully promoting and
Since my Accession, I have been
protecting that contact.
a regular visitor to the Palace of
Westminster and, at the last count,
At home, Prince Philip and I
have had the pleasurable duty of
will be visiting towns and cities up
treating with twelve Prime Ministers.
and down the land. It is my sincere
hope that the Diamond Jubilee
Over such a period, one can
will be an opportunity for people
observe that the experience of
to come together in a spirit of
venerable old age can be a mighty
neighbourliness and celebration of
guide but not a prerequisite
their own communities.
for success in public office. I
am therefore very pleased to
We also hope to celebrate the
be addressing many younger
professional and voluntary service
Parliamentarians and also those
given by millions of people across
bringing such a wide range of
the country who are working for
background and experience to your
the public good. They are a source
vital, national work.
of vital support to the welfare and
wellbeing of others, often unseen or
During these years as your
overlooked.
Queen, the support of my family
has, across the generations, been
And as we reflect upon public
beyond measure. Prince Philip is, I
service, let us again be mindful of the
believe, well-known for declining
compliments of any kind. But
throughout he has been a constant
remarkable sacrifice and courage of
our Armed Forces. Much may indeed
M y name is Brian Jenner and
I’ve brought a photograph
to show you today. It’s me, with the
have changed these past sixty years
strength and guide. He and I are very tool of my trade.
but the valour of those who risk their
proud and grateful that The Prince
lives for the defence and freedom of
of Wales and other members of our It cost me £600 and it stands in
us all remains undimmed.
family are travelling on my behalf my study.
in this Diamond Jubilee year to visit
The happy relationship I have
all the Commonwealth Realms and It’s a lectern.
enjoyed with Parliament has
a number of other Commonwealth
extended well beyond the more When I finish writing a speech, I
countries.
than three and a half thousand Bills I print it off, go to the lectern and read
have signed into law. I am therefore it out. The lectern doubles up as a
These overseas tours are a
very touched by the magnificent gift desk and I can make amendments in
reminder of our close affinity with
before me, generously subscribed by the margin as I go along.
the Commonwealth, encompassing
many of you. Should this beautiful
about one-third of the world’s
window cause just a little extra Woody Allen said that 90% of
population. My own association with
colour to shine down upon this being a success was turning up.
the Commonwealth has taught me
ancient place, I should gladly settle
that the most important contact
for that. I’d say that you’re 50% on the
between nations is usually contact
between its peoples. An organisation way to becoming a professional
We are reminded here of our speechwriter if you read out every
dedicated to certain values, the
past, of the continuity of our national speech you write.

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

You’d be surprised how many conservative and those who are When a best man wants to go to
people don’t. constantly preoccupied with the a wedding and tell obscene jokes.
possibilities of new combinations. That tells you something about his
I spend quite a lot of time psychological problems. I help him
searching for the text of speeches on I’m always puzzled by the number conceal them.
the internet. They publish the ones of people who accept reality as it
made by corporate CEO’s in banks, is. My local councillors worry about However, when a father of the
international organisations and pavements and parking. bride says he hasn’t got a clue
insurance companies. what to say, it’s my job to probe,
When I moved down to and encourage him to express
You soon realise that no-one Bournemouth in 2004, I thought feelings that he may have been too
could possibly have tried to read I’d moved to a backwater for senior shy to admit to, but will give great
them out before they’re delivered – citizens. Then I realised the area’s significance to the day.
they’re so verbose and dreary. potential.
Lastly, a speechwriter is a
I had quite a struggle before If it linked up together with FUNAMBULIST.
I decided it was my vocation to Poole and Christchurch, I see how it
become a speechwriter. We all could become a great city like San For many the prospect of giving a
have natural abilities. Things that Francisco on the South Coast. speech is like a wire walk. It fills them
come easily to us. Ideally we need with dread. The speechwriter has to
a job that uses all our talents to the It’s the job of the speechwriter, walk their walk for them. We can’t
maximum. with a brooding and creative deviate from the path they set.
temperament, to manipulate the
I’ve given it careful thought steady going, because we’re in the One of my heroes is Philippe
and I’ve come to the conclusion business of reconstructing the world Petit, the French funambulist. He
that I play five different roles as a with ideas. was inspired to begin his great
speechwriter. I wear five different project when he saw something in a
masks. The third skill you need is magazine in the dentists in 1968 – a
HUMORIST. picture of the Twin Towers which
The first is that of a JOURNALIST. were going to be built in New York.
I studied French at university. One
I trained as a journalist. I worked of my favourite quotations comes Then he decided he was going to
on The Guardian and The Daily from the French writer Rabelais. put a wire across the gap between
Telegraph. The most important skill of the towers and do the tightrope
a journalist is to be able to research Mieux est de ris que de larmes escrire walk.
a story. My clients don’t usually have Pour ce que rire est le propre de
the time to spend five hours looking l’homme. The story of how he did it,
deeply into a subject. which made a great book and film,
It’s better to write laughs than epitomises for me how an idea
A newspaper has the resources to tears because laughter is what being becomes a vision and a vision a
support a journalist. human is all about. reality.

I have reference books – and What’s the point of being boring? If you want an image to express
the equivalent of a cuttings library What’s the point of complaining? how the speechwriter supports the
– a large collection of jokes and speaker, we’re like the balancing pole
stories, which work well in speeches. If you want to persuade people to to the wire walker. We’re there to add
It means experience counts for do something new, it helps if you can stability and improve co-ordination.
something. make them laugh.
So I’m lucky. I don’t get to do
Most jobs require a little bit of The fourth skillset is just one job, I do five. Journalist,
madness, and a speechwriter needs PSYCHOTHERAPIST. fantasist, humorist, psychotherapist
to be a FANTASIST. and funambulist.
Speechwriting is a very intimate
The Italian sociologist Pareto process. You’ve got to get under The Five Roles of a Speechwriter:
said you could divide the world into your client’s skin. When we speak Brian Jenner’s Icebreaker for
two types, people who are routine, in public we reveal a lot more about Toastmasters International on
steady going, unimaginative and ourselves than we realise. Wednesday 11 April 2012

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

AN EXCERCISE IN WRITING DISCIPLINE


Extract from ‘Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength’ by Roy Baumeister and
John Tierney, published by Allen Lane.

‘The secret of my incredible and other classic detective stories. kind of task.
energy and efficiency in getting ‘Me, I wait for inspiration,’ he said, but Set aside time
work done is a simple one.’ wrote he did it methodically every morning. to do one
Robert Benchley. ‘Anyone can do any thing and one
amount of work provided it isn’t the He believed that a professional thing only.
work he is supposed to be doing at writer needed to set aside at least
the moment.’ four hours for his job. ‘He doesn’t Chandler’s regimen was
have to write, and if he doesn’t feel summarised thus: ‘Write or nothing.
Robert Benchley was an American like it, he shouldn’t try. He can look It’s the same principle as keeping
humorist. He identified how out of the window or stand on his order in a school. If you make
procrastinators typically avoid one head or writhe on the floor, but he the pupils behave, they will learn
task by doing something else, and is not to do any other positive thing, something just to keep from being
rarely do they sit there doing nothing not read, write letters, glance at bored. I find it works. Two very simple
at all. But there is a better way to magazines, or write cheques.’ rules a) you don’t have to write b)
exploit that tendency. you can’t do anything else. The rest
The Negative Alternative Tool is comes of itself.’
Raymond Chandler had his own a marvellously simple tool against
system for churning out The Big Sleep procrastination for just about any

THE UK BUSINESS SPEAKER OF THE YEAR 2012

hosted by Business Solent. The


last eight will give their seven-
minute presentations which will be
evaluated by the judges.

A s connoisseurs of fine to encourage the country’s leading The best will go through to the
speeches, we can consume business gurus to show off how they live audience vote and the audience
as many as we like on YouTube, but can inspire an audience to do great will decide the ultimate winner of the
it’s hard to beat the experience of things. competition.
listening to a brilliant speaker as part
of a live audience. Authors, academics, life coaches The winner will receive £2,000
and entrepreneurs with a gift for and get £1,500 of PR support from
In fact, the political system has public speaking are being urged a top London agency to back their
lost much of its vitality because of to come up with ‘an inspirational career as a professional speaker.
the demise of the public meeting business message for our times’. Second prize will be £1,000 cash and
– the forum where top politicians the third prize £500 cash.
could hone their lines and learn to The competition was piloted
pacify a hostile audience. by the UK Speechwriters’ Guild in If you fancy your chances as
September 2011 and aims to draw Britain’s answer to Anthony Robbins,
The UK Speechwriters’ Guild attention to the power and impact you need to send in a 60 second
is doing its bit to promote a great speakers can have. video audition together with a
renaissance in public oratory by written pitch and a short profile by
hosting the UK Business Speaker of Up to 24 finalists will be invited the 27 August 2012.
the Year competition. to Southampton on Thursday 27
September for auditions. The day For more details go to:
Southampton-based PEER 1 will end with a ‘Grand Final’ in The www.ukbusinessspeakers.co.uk
Hosting has offered £5,000 in prizes Hub Theatre in Southampton,

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 10

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

THE LAUNCH OF THE EUROPEAN SPEECHWRITER NETWORK

EUROPEAN To reflect this, we’re launching


the European Speechwriter Network.
While many pan-European
initiatives have to work hard to

SPEECHWRITER One of our members, Roger Lakin,


crafted this description for the
generate a spirit of co-operation,
the speechwriters from different

NETWORK website: ‘The European Speechwriter


Network is a new global, multilingual,
career-enhancing resource for a
countries seem to strike up a
spontaneous affinity with each other.

W hen we launched the UK


Speechwriters’ Guild in
2008, it was a surprise when the first
newly global, multilingual and
mobile profession. It will be a place
to sharpen your skills, promote
member to sign up was Dutch. your services and set professional
standards.’
While promoting the UK
conferences we’ve discovered there is The Network will co-ordinate
a German and a Dutch Speechwriters’ a speechwriter search service
Guild. It’s turns out that the art of for businesses and political
speechwriting in English is practised organisations, we’ll organise training
widely by non-native speakers. Many seminars and offer specialist
delegates have travelled across the translation services.
Channel to listen to our experts
speak and we have invited Dutch Membership is €72 per annum.
and Danish experts speak at our When you join you get a free copy
conferences. of Max Atkinson’s book, Lend Me
Your Ears, a subscription to The
Speechwriter, the reading list and a
checklist. The European Speechwriter
Network will bring together linguists
We hope this will be a stepping and writers who practise the craft in
stone towards putting on many different languages.
conferences about speechwriting
in European cities. We plan to host Visit the website:
events in Strasbourg and The Hague www.europeanspeechwriters.org
in the next twelve months.

COULD YOU WIN A DEMOSTHENES PEBBLE?

F rom now on The Speechwriter


will be the newsletter for the
European Speechwriter Network and
The Demosthenes Pebble will
be awarded to the best speech
script in English delivered anywhere
the UK Speechwriters’ Guild. in Europe over the previous three
months.
To mark this new development,
we’re launching a new quarterly Members can enter one speech
competition. each quarter. The winning speech
will be published in The Speechwriter.
The winning writer will be sent a £25
Amazon token.

To take part in the first


competition you need to submit your
script by 31 July 2012 to
info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk.

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 11

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

SAM MORT PROFILE

key messages at an important time in


East/West relations.

What’s the best TED talk you’ve


seen?

Sir Ken Robinson talking about


how schools destroy creativity.
The man is a genius; original and
clever and witty and confident and
articulate. His ideas are fresh and
bold, and I have learned a lot from
watching and listening to him.

What advice would you give a


graduate who wants to get into
speechwriting?

Sam Mort, a native of Scotland, I’m a big believer in the better Know that there’s no one way to
lived in the Middle East for eight you know your boss, the better you do this job. Understand that to be
years as a speechwriter. She now can write a speech for him/her. It’s successful, you must be flexible in
writes speeches for Anthony Lake, important to study how your boss your writing style and you must be
Executive Director of UNICEF, and talks and interacts with people and resilient. Having people read your
lives in New York. audiences; to study whose speeches speech and give you feedback can be
he/she likes listening to and which difficult at first, but it is an important
Can you remember the first authors/journalists are favourite way to improve.
speech you ever wrote? reading; and to invest time in the
brainstorm process… pick your Do you have a special format in
Yes; and you’ve made me smile boss’ brains about the direction and which you present your speeches?
remembering. My boss attended a message of the speech.
tribute to Sesame Street in which we Times New Roman, size 14,
honoured its creators for their role I’d also say that, with experience, 1.5 spacing; no cover sheet; page
in educating children. You better I’ve become better and bolder at numbers.
believe that I milked those muppet advising on what works and what
metaphors and played with Sesame doesn’t in a speech. The happiest What’s it like being a Brit in New
Street’s song lyrics; it was a fun one processes are when both speaker York?
to write and a great way to start this and speechwriter are listening to
career. each other and thinking together. It’s got a lot better since I found
Myers of Keswick – a fabulous British
Who is your favorite author? Can speeches for international supermarket with all my favourite
figures be compelling? Or is it nibbles!
It’s so difficult to isolate just one. mostly about elegantly avoiding
My all-time favourite is Emily Brontë; gaffes? I think a better question is,
Wuthering Heights is a tour de force. “What’s it like being a Scot, who grew
But, recently, I’ve enjoyed Chris Yes, of course they can and they up in the Highlands, in New York?”
Cleave’s Little Bee; Michael Faber’s The must be compelling, especially The answer is: suffocating! Tiny
Crimson Petal and the White; and Paul because they’re delivered by world apartments. Highrise buildings. I live
Torday’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. leaders. I think one of the best I’ve to get out of Manhattan’s concrete
heard in recent years was Obama’s jungle at the weekend, and walk
What’s the most important first foreign policy address in Cairo through Central Park after work to
thing you’ve learned about the to the Muslim world. That certainly get my fill of ‘green’.
relationship between speaker and wasn’t an exercise in elegance or
speechwriter? avoiding gaffes; he delivered several

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The Speechwriter May 2012 | Volume 09 12

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Of course, the range of Because of my work in UNICEF, I’m professional, you are very welcome
restaurants and theatres and currently focused on development to come along.
exhibitions is fantastic, but I like my issues, so I’m following people
mountains and my lochs…and that’s like the PM, David Cameron, and
what I miss most. Andrew Mitchell for messaging on
development aid. I’m interested in
How do you add life to formal Princess Catherine’s development
speeches? as a public speaker, especially on
humanitarian issues. And I think
I try to give it them an interesting Gordon Brown speaks very sincerely
frame so that the heavy content is and with a lot of sense when he
sandwiched in between a quirky campaigns for education for all.
factoid. Recently, in a speech on
open defecation for UNICEF, I opened Have you ever made a conscious
like this: study of rhetoric?
Piers Letcher – a senior
Forty years ago today, Apollo Twenty years ago, at university speechwriter at the United Nations
16, commanded by John Young, it was part of my English degree – attended the last seminar, and
landed on the moon. It was the but, to be honest, it’s not something said of it: “The ‘Nuts And Bolts of
fifth mission to land on the moon. I channel specifically nowadays. Speechwriting’ seminar successfully
By anyone’s standards, it was a Writing today feels more organic. I covered a lot of ground in a short
triumph of science, engineering, like to think that rhetorical flurries are space of time, and provided both
and technology. If humankind could part and parcel of what I do! practical advice and handy tips. With
do that, what could we not do? good participant interaction and
What’s the best piece of lots of helpful examples, this was an
The answer, of course, is that we advice you’ve ever been given on excellent workshop for speechwriters
have not afforded 1.1 billion people, speechwriting? of any level – from beginners to
here on earth, their most basic rights: experts looking to refresh their style.
clean water and safe sanitation. I On my first day as a speechwriter, Highly recommended.”

think that unlikely comparison my boss said: ‘You never hear people
is something that people will leave an event saying, “that speech Eshaan Akbar, who came to the
remember. was too short.”’ seminar to help him get started on
speechwriting, commented: “In
Avoiding jargon is also high on just three hours, I picked up some
my list; I try to talk to the audience
like they’re human beings no matter
THE NUTS of the most important lessons in
speechwriting - the kinds people
how technical the subject matter. AND BOLTS OF spend their entire careers trying to
And then there’s all the usual tips
and tricks: select use of humour;
SPEECHWRITING find!”

use of the second person to engage


F ollowing the success of their To find out more about what
the audience; a smattering of self- seminar on The Nuts and Bolts the seminar will cover and how to
deprecation to endear the speaker of Speechwriting at the February register, go to
to the audience; some audience UKSG conference in London, Martin http://www.creativityworks.net
participation, like a question; and Shovel and Martha Leyton will be or follow the links from http://
contextualizing figures with concepts running it again as part of the two- speechesmatter.eventbrite.co.uk/ or
with which the audience is familiar. day conference ‘Do Speeches Still email info@creativityworks.net for
Matter?’ in Bournemouth on 20/21 more information.
You’ve been out of the UK for a
September.
long time – which public figures do
you still look out for? The seminar is for anyone
involved in speechwriting who wants The Speechwriter is edited by
Working in communications and Brian Jenner
to brush up their skills, pick up new
media means that I follow many
europa|studio
TM

ideas and insights, and learn from Design by


public figures in many countries on a
one another. So whether you’re a
daily basis.
complete beginner or a seasoned

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