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August 2010 | Volume 04

The Speechwriter
Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

MASTERCLASS
Welcome
Welcome to the fourth edition Therapy Techniques from Irvin Yalom
of The Speechwriter newsletter.
The purpose of this publication is
to circulate examples of excellent
S peechwriting isn’t just about
crafting words. It’s also about
the relationship with the speaker.
make a personal revelation of your
own that is appropriate to show the
speaker what you mean. Confidences
speeches to members of the UK How do you draw the information beget confidences.
Speechwriters’ Guild. We do this out?
by picking out openings, closings, 3) The theory of therapy is
one-liners and quotations and Psychotherapy that human beings recreate
offers a useful model for their problems in every group
other topical extracts from
speechwriters because they interact with. Foibles
newspapers and the internet to the relationship between will out. The speechwriter
identify techniques, stimulate patient and therapist filters obsessions or irrelevant
your imagination and provide is similar to that of the preoccupations and digs for
models which you can emulate. speechwriter and speaker. colourful phrases and insights.
It’s the job of the therapist to make The speech has a correct form, and
This newsletter appears the ‘unconscious, conscious’: it’s the it’s the role of the speechwriter to
quarterly and is available to job of the speechwriter to draft a respect that form, while bringing out
script that presents the speaker as the character of the speaker at the
anyone who is a Standard
their best self. Dr Irvin Yalom is an same time.
Member of the UK Speechwriters’ expert in group therapy. He applies
Guild. the following principles in his Yalom tells the most wonderful
therapy, which are useful techniques stories. The accounts of how
for a speechwriter. patients acquire insight into their
own problems are often funny and
1) Be in the here and now. moving. Stories show how every
detail in our lives can reveal an
When interviewing the speaker, unexpected meaning or significance.
Contribute make the focus of the interaction
relate to what is going on in the Healing in therapy consists of
We need your speeches. Most world at that moment. A dry restoring or refining the patient’s
of the examples in this edition are recitation of the facts makes for ability to communicate who they
taken from the Americans. boring therapy and a tedious speech. are to the outside world, so they
When you write the speech, the can create better strategies to
We want to raise standards in same rule applies, be sure to relate it get what they need and want.
to what is going on at that moment Speechwriters help individuals fulfil
the UK. Please send examples of
in the room at the time it will be their responsibilities effectively and
speeches to: delivered. make the message as persuasive as
possible. All of Dr Irvin Yalom’s books
8 info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk 2) Reveal something about are worth reading as insights into
yourself. how individuals use language to
reveal and conceal, and how ideas
If you want the speaker to tell influence how we express ourselves
a story that illustrates the point, and manage our lives.

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS It also covers pretty much all the


principles that you’re ever likely to
Munger says we have to know
lots about science, lots about
apply as a speechwriter. It’s easy arithmetic, lots about business,
going, anecdotal (I like the one when lots about history and lots about
Mother Theresa spoke in front of a psychology. Studying these subjects
lectern that was taller than she was! gives you different perspectives,
She bombed.) It also draws from which give you the flexibility to
unexpected sources like songwriting. think about problems in a sensible
My only suggestion would be for a and pragmatic way. Woe unto you
chapter on ‘social speeches’ as it’s a if you get wrapped up in powerful
style that is important for a politician ideologies. They poison your
to cultivate, and requires quite judgement. He puts a high premium
different techniques. on getting rich slow, and avoiding
misery.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack:
The Wit and Wisdom of
Charles T Munger
Published by Donning Co Pub (532
pages) ISBN 157864366X $49
www.poorcharliesalmanack.com

Speaking to Lead: How P oor Richard’s Almanack was


a yearly almanack published
by Benjamin Franklin, who adopted
to Make Speeches That the pseudonym of “Poor Richard” or
“Richard Saunders”. The publication
Make a Difference appeared continually from 1732
For a speechwriter, there’s lots
Published by Biteback (264 pages) to 1758. It was a bestseller for a
of Munger’s speeches, and lots of
ISBN 1849540136 £14.99 pamphlet published in the American
colourful stories illustrating his ideas.
colonies.
It’s a great way to stimulate the mind

J ohn Shosky is familiar to many


as the speechwriting columnist
in Total Politics magazine every
Almanacks were very popular
books in colonial America, with
and find analogies for putting across
complex ideas.
people in the colonies using them
month. He is also going to be the
for the mixture of seasonal weather
keynote speaker at this year’s UK
forecasts, practical household hints,
Speechwriters’ Guild Conference.
puzzles, and other amusements they
offered.
There are many books on
speechwriting, but they go out of
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s
date. For example, Richard Dowis’s
sidekick, has produced his own tome,
Lost Art of a Great Speech is good,
packed with the sort of intellectual
but John Shosky has written
bric-à-brac a typical autodidact
something just as comprehensive,
collects in his life.
but with up-to-the minute examples
(the most recent being 18 April 2010 Munger is in favour of a
at President Kaczynski’s funeral!). multidisciplinary approach to all
Dowis’s book also only draws from problems. He quotes an example that
American speeches, while Shosky your average professor of poetry is
bestrides the British and American usually very unworldly. Why? Because
political scene. he probably doesn’t take other
‘models’ of the world particularly
I liked the book because it has
seriously.
examples I haven’t seen before.

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

different versions of the same


speech:

• The version used by the speaker


at the podium: large fonts, easy-
to-read

• The advance version handed to


the media under an embargo
– shorter, core messages
highlighted, contact details
for further enquiries, some
paragraphs of background to
frame the story

• The version prepared for


the audience on the day to
take home: accessible and
professional layout, no spelling
errors

CHARLES CRAWFORD • Some key short soundbites for


social networking outlets

Who’s the Audience? • The version prepared for


the government website:
slightly more formal version,

A speech is all about two


things. The speaker, and the
audience.
The speaker will want to send
signals to political opponents in
other political parties - and to
reformatted for ease of web-
browsing

political enemies within his/her own • A version to be sent to other


It’s normally obvious who the party. Maybe a European or wider media or expert/academic
speaker is, and the occasion at which international political dimension too. outlets at home and overseas,
the speech is needed. But who is the for possible use as an article
audience? Third, the general public.
Nowadays the countless TV and radio • An authorised version for the
At an after-dinner speech the outlets and newspapers compete archives
speaker’s job is to enhance the with bloggers, Twitterers and
already warm glow among the Facebookers. How to reach those • Finally, an unedited transcript
replete diners. The audience in the audiences with key messages? may be made and retained, in
room is the target. case of controversy as to what
Fourth, business or academic/ exactly was said about a key
It’s a lot more complicated when intellectual experts. A short piece by point.
drafting a speech for a Government an acknowledged expert pointing
Minister. Think of the different out howling errors in the speech will Making time for all this - and
audiences a speech is addressing. do the speaker quick damage. coordinating how it happens - needs
to be a key part of the government
First and foremost, people in the Finally, the audience of history. speechwriter’s dark art.
room on the day. The speaker needs How will this speech look in ten or
to engage, to win applause. A good fifty years’ time?
After leaving the FCO at the end of
speech’s impact will be lost if the
audience starts booing. The booing A government speechwriter has 2007 Charles Crawford set up his own
will be the message, not the speech to keep all these different audiences website charlescrawford.biz. He will
itself. in mind. be speaking at the UK Speechwriters’
Guild Conference 2010.
Second, other political audiences. Which means preparing several

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 4

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Extract from The Presentation Coach, by Graham Davies

I n a century where executives


frequently receive more than
100 e-mails a day, information
useless without the power to
communicate. There are certainly
more communication tools available
“The words
on a screen can never be totally
compelling. A presentation is real
communication, with life and breath
than ever before, ranging from
PowerPoint to the marker pen.
However, the best tool remains you.
are merely
and flesh and blood. It is the human
element that makes the difference.
Only a live presenter can provide
The main problem you face now is a
lack of time: time to prepare and time
to deliver.
ammunition
information with inspiration and
impact. The words are merely
ammunition …you must be the
A presentation is not about
building a lifetime relationship. You
…you must
weapon.

But there are too many


should treat it like an affair that is
short but memorable. It should have
some great highlights, but be over
be the
presentations. Most of them are
too long, whereas the human
attention span has never been so
quickly.

The prayer of the 21st Century


weapon.”
short. I strongly believe that very audience is:
few presentations should ever be
longer than 20 minutes, no matter “Let me hear something new that
how brilliant the presenter. In fact, makes listening worth the effort.
some of the most popular business Please don’t let him make me yawn.”
presentations in the world are
given at TED conferences (see www. The mantra of the 21st Century
TED.com). They have assembled presenter should be:
dozens of the world leading thinkers
in virtually every discipline to “Say it. Support it. Shut it.”
share their ideas, inventions and
interpretations. The main reason that Graham Davies is a presentation
the presentations are so compelling trainer. His forthcoming book The
is that they strictly enforce a time Presentation Coach, Bare Knuckle
limit of eighteen minutes.
Brilliance for Every Presenter, is
Knowledge and intellect are published by Capstone in August.

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 5

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

INSPIRATION M y Lord Mayor, ladies and


gentlemen.

Openings It is humbling to speak here


tonight conscious of the long line of
distinguished Chancellors who have
preceded me.
A s a kid, I spent my summers
with my grandparents on
their ranch in Texas. I helped fix
I have a vivid memory of
what happened, and it was not
what I expected. I expected to be
I have been looking back at some
of their speeches for inspiration,
windmills, vaccinate cattle, and do applauded for my cleverness and and was particularly struck by what
other chores. We also watched soap arithmetic skills. “Jeff, you’re so smart. Austen Chamberlain said here at the
operas every afternoon, especially You had to have made some tricky Mansion House:
Days of our Lives. My grandparents estimates, figure out the number
belonged to a Caravan Club, a group of minutes in a year and do some “Lord Mayor, the lot of the
of Airstream trailer owners who travel division.” That’s not what happened. Chancellor of the Exchequer is not
together around the U.S. and Canada. Instead, my grandmother burst altogether a happy one.
And every few summers, we’d join into tears. I sat in the backseat and
the caravan. We’d hitch up the did not know what to do. While He has few friends, and the few
Airstream trailer to my grandfather’s my grandmother sat crying, my he has are those of whom he should
car, and off we’d go, in a line with 300 grandfather, who had been driving most beware, for their approach
other Airstream adventurers. I loved in silence, pulled over onto the is the most insidious, and their
and worshipped my grandparents shoulder of the highway. He got indignation if he refused their claims
and I really looked forward to these out of the car and came around and is the most marked and the most
trips. On one particular trip, I was opened my door and waited for violent.”
about 10 years old. I was rolling me to follow. Was I in trouble? My
around in the big bench seat in the grandfather was a highly intelligent, Then I realised that he was
back of the car. My grandfather was quiet man. He had never said a harsh the Chancellor in the last Liberal
driving. And my grandmother had word to me, and maybe this was to Conservative coalition.
the passenger seat. She smoked be the first time? Or maybe he would
throughout these trips, and I hated ask that I get back in the car and Of course some have made
the smell. apologize to my grandmother. I had comparisons with another former
no experience in this realm with my Chancellor, Lord Randolph Churchill,
At that age, I’d take any excuse grandparents and no way to gauge who took office in 1886 when he was
to make estimates and do minor what the consequences might be. 37 years old.
arithmetic. I’d calculate our gas We stopped beside the trailer. My
mileage - figure out useless statistics grandfather looked at me, and after But he offered his resignation to
on things like grocery spending. a bit of silence, he gently and calmly his Prime Minister just four months
I’d been hearing an ad campaign said, “Jeff, one day you’ll understand into the job. To his shock and
about smoking. I can’t remember that it’s harder to be kind than clever.” surprise it was accepted.
the details, but basically the ad said,
every puff of a cigarette takes some What I want to talk to you about That’s not a mistake I’m planning
number of minutes off of your life: I today is the difference between to repeat.
think it might have been two minutes gifts and choices. Cleverness is a
per puff. At any rate, I decided to gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are So rather than quoting Randolph
do the math for my grandmother. I easy - they’re given after all. Choices Churchill, I’d like to begin with the
estimated the number of cigarettes can be hard. You can seduce yourself words of his rather more successful
per days, estimated the number of with your gifts if you’re not careful, son Winston.
puffs per cigarette and so on. When I and if you do, it’ll probably be to the
was satisfied that I’d come up with a detriment of your choices. For it was here at the Mansion
reasonable number, I poked my head House that he delivered one of his
into the front of the car, tapped my Commencement speech to most famous lines:
grandmother on the shoulder, and Princeton’s Class of 2010 by Jeff
proudly proclaimed, “At two minutes Bezos Amazon CEO delivered on
per puff, you’ve taken nine years off May 30, 2010.
your life!”

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 6

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

“Now this is not the end. It is not


even the beginning of the end. But it
is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
T here is an Indian proverb
about a merchant on a train
with two baskets – one open, the
Speech by Tom Peryer at the
Dinner for the Installation of the
new Master of the Worshipful
other covered. In the open basket Company of Parish Clerks, 15
He was talking to a country weary there are crabs from the sea shore. July 2010, Merchant Taylors Hall,
from three long years of war. Threadneedle Street, London
But the passengers cannot
But his words could be said of the
current situation as we approach the
see what is in the covered basket.
The only clue to its contents is a Endings
third anniversary of the beginning of few feathers poking out from the
the financial crisis. weaving, and a soft cooing sound.

Speech by George Osborne,


Chancellor of the Exchequer,
On enquiry, the merchant
confirms that the covered basket
T he big things I have been
talking about matter a lot, but
seemingly smaller things matter, too.
Mansion House, 16 June 2010 contains doves. Be curious, be gracious, be hopeful;
love your neighbour, take a nap

Substance He explains the cover is necessary


because whenever they have a
outside on a summer afternoon, read
a detective novel now and then, go
chance to escape to freedom, they to the movies, vote in each and every
fly away. election, never be embarrassed to

O ver the next few years we will


put in place a framework for
financial stability to parallel that for
The crabs though, he explains
with a frown, ensure no one can
put your hand over your heart and
join in when the band strikes up
the National Anthem, write thank-
monetary stability. We need both. As aspire beyond the pack. Once one you notes on actual paper – you
we have seen, one without the other starts climbing out, the rest pull them know, the dead-tree kind. And
is not enough. Just as the role of a back – hence no need for a lid or a above all, remember, in hours of joy
central bank in monetary policy is to cover. I often feel that Kiwis – here at and darkness, that we have been
take the punch bowl away just as the home at least, are the crabs with the promised that the peace of God will
party gets going, its role in financial impulse to pull everyone back into guard our hearts and minds until, at
stability should be to turn down the the basket. the last, we find our journey done
music when the dancing gets a little and our eternal home.
too wild. Speech by Alan Freeth, CEO,
TelstraClear, Wellington, New Speech by Jon Meacham, Editor,
Speech by Mervyn King, Governor Zealand, April 20 2010 Newsweek, Baccalaureate Address
of the Bank of England, Mansion at The University of the South,
House, 16 June 2010
A lthough I have indeed come
enthusiastically and willing,
Sewanee, Tennessee, May 15 2010

T his coalition throws up difficult


problems of parliamentary
etiquette, and I am the first to have
you, as parish clerks, know that not
everyone goes enthusiastically and
willingly to church, especially the
We can and must rebuild our
economy. We can and must do it in
a way that looks to the long term,
to tackle them. Should I refer to young. I once knew a woman who that attracts and cultivates enterprise
my Liberal Democrat colleague as every Sunday had to argue with and industry. We can and must work
“My Hon. Friend,” but that is a term her son to get him to go to church together to make this happen. This is
reserved for members of our own – not an uncommon occurrence. a relationship that I believe can and
parties? How about “my honourable One Sunday the son was proving will work, and I hope you do, too.
partner”? The word “partner”, particularly stubborn and refused to
however, nowadays implies an even leave his bed. ‘Why don’t you want to We don’t know all the answers,
greater degree of intimacy than go to church?’ pleaded his mother. but we can work together to get
friendship, which is clearly what the them. To quote Winston Churchill,
Daily Mail fears, so I will stick to “my ‘Because its boring, because I who took a while to decide if he was
honourable ally.” don’t believe half of what is said a Liberal or a Conservative, ‘I’m an
there and because I have no friends optimist. It doesn’t seem too much
The Loyal Address by Rt Hon Peter there. Why should I go?’ he replied. use being anything else.’
Lilley, Queen’s Speech Debate, 25
May 2010 ‘Because it is your duty to go’ said Helen Alexander - CBI President to
his mother’ and besides you are the the Newspaper Makers, 8 March
vicar!’ 2010

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 7

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Reusables SPEECHWRITER PROFILE

Matthew Maxwell Scott is in-house speechwriter for


A rthur Miller said that his play,
“Death of a Salesman”... came
from images...
the CBI, and a Conservative councillor in Wandsworth.

too, but that’s just a euphemism


“The image of the ageing... and so
for a long speech, normally 30 to
many of your friends already gone...
40 minutes. I tend to warn event
and strangers in the seats of the
organisers that any longer is unwise
mighty... who do not know you, nor
if they value their personal safety.
your triumphs... or your incredible
value. Above all....perhaps the image
How do you manage the
of a need greater than hunger or sex
speechwriter-speaker relationship?
or thirst...the need to leave a thumb
Any tips?
print somewhere on the world...
the need for immortality and by I try to be open, and encourage
admitting it....the knowing that one any feedback, positive or otherwise,
has carefully inscribed one’s name on so the professional relationship can
a cake of ice on a hot July day.” develop. Flattery also helps.
What is the role and purpose of
We tell ourselves stories in order the CBI? What’s the biggest speech you
to live...We interpret what we see, have ever delivered yourself?
select the most workable of the It’s ‘The Voice of Business,’
multiple choices. We live entirely, speaking for some 240,000 One I gave in the final of the
especially if we are writers, by the businesses that together employ primary to become a candidate for
imposition of a narrative line upon around a third of the private sector the Greater London Assembly. It
disparate images, by the “ideas” with workforce. Its mission is “to help went well, but the favourite thumped
which we have learned to freeze the create and sustain the conditions me on the first round of voting and
shifting phantasmagoria which is our in which businesses in the UK can that was that.
actual experience. compete and prosper for the benefit
of all.” How do you make a subject like
Joan Didion, The White Album climate change interesting?
What is a typical audience for a
A rabbi and his wife were
cleaning up the house. The
Rabbi came across a box he didn’t
CBI event? From a business perspective, this
isn’t always easy. Al Gore and George
Senior people from CBI member Monbiot can use polar bear-themed
recognise. His wife told him to leave companies, plus MPs, public officials, hyperbole or sketchy threats about
it alone, it was personal. One day representatives from other lobby our children’s wellbeing to hold an
she was out and his curiosity got the groups and the media. audience’s attention. I have to make
better of him. He opened the box action on climate change sound like
and inside he found three eggs and How many speeches do you long-term business sense, because
£2,000. When his wife came home, write each week? it’s only then that things actually
he admitted that he opened the happen. Product innovation is a
box, and he asked her to explain the Around two or three speeches or good way in as long as it doesn’t veer
contents to him. She told him that presentations, but our latest views into a Tomorrow’s World nonsense of
every time he had a bad sermon, on the state of the economy and the tin-foil suits and food in tablet form.
she would put an egg in the box. He government go into a rolling stump
interrupted: “In 20 years, only three speech that evolves all the time and Were there any experiences in
bad sermons, that’s not bad.” His wife can be tailored to a specific audience. your youth that pointed to your
continued, “and every time I got a future career as a speechwriter?
dozen eggs, I would sell them for £1.” What is the average length?
I enjoyed writing and I spoke a lot.
Around 20 minutes is standard. Eventually, the two worlds collided.
There’s the occasional ‘lecture’

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The Speechwriter August 2010 | Volume 04 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Who is your favourite public How do you stimulate your own


speaker? creativity?

I used to quite enjoy the work Patiently.


of Phillip Howard, the chap with a
megaphone at Oxford Circus who What is your best joke?
implored passers-by to be winners,
not sinners, but they gave him an An emergency curry joke:
ASBO and he’s not there anymore. In
his absence, I’d say William Hague or Q. What’s the difference between
Jeffrey Archer. dhal and tarka dhal?

How do you make sure the A. Tarka’s a little ‘otter.


delivery matches the quality of the
content you write?

I try and hear speakers’ voices The 2nd Bournemouth Leadership and
in my head when I’m writing so I’m
less likely to write something that Communication Conference
will sound alien coming from them.
Watching them deliver speeches
17 September 2010, Bournemouth UK
helps this and is good discipline,
even if there’s the risk that they fluff a
perfectly good joke and a little bit of
you – and everyone else - dies.

If in doubt, keep the message


and the language simple and the
sentences short.

Can you define what the ‘Big


Society’ is all about in less than 20
words?

It’s people power: individuals and


communities getting the services T he UK Speechwriters’ Guild
has selected a group of wise,
entertaining and controversial
Who should attend?

Politicians, speechwriters, lobbyists,


they need without some Whitehall
panjandrum standing in the way. speakers to offer expert insights, civil servants, charity professionals,
stimulate thought and share PRs, academics, public speakers,
You’re getting married later this experience on the subject of trainers, communication experts
year. Have you written your groom how to improve the clarity of and freelance writers.
speech yet? communication in public life.
For more information:
No, but I’ve been warned that In a year when the style of political www.ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk/
expectations are high. I’ve got a good debate in the UK changed forever, conference/
finishing line – other than the one learn how to adapt to the new
toasting the bridesmaids – but I can’t challenges and master the new E: info@ukspeechwritersguild.co.uk
tell you what it is because that might skills. T: 01202 551257
spoil the moment.

What’s your most useful


reference book?
The Speechwriter is edited by Brian Jenner.
Brewer’s is good, but I find Google
europa|studio
TM

and Wikipedia do a lot of my work Design by


these days.

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