Winning Arguments by Jay Heinrichs

31 July 2013

Jay Heinrichs is my kind of intellectual. After 26 years in publishing, he headed for the wilds of New Hampshire and devoted himself to writing.

He resolutely avoids academia; in a scathing article, he castigates Harvard for systematically downgrading rhetoric as a subject of serious study over the last 200 years.

According to his Businessweek profile, he starts every day at 4.30 with a strenuous workout and updates his websites before kissing his wife goodbye at 6.30 and walking or skiing to work in his log cabin office. He’s regularly hired by global corporations and sells ‘Talk Me Into It’ dog t-shirts on his ‘junk site’ for $18.99.

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The Speakers for the Brussels Conference

6 July 2013

On 19 & 20 September, we’re moving the annual UK Speechwriters’ Guild conference from Bournemouth to Brussels.

We’ve now finalised the line-up of speakers for this event in the Résidence Palace.

The speakers will include Luuk van Middelaar, speechwriter to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, who will be speaking about the ideas that went into his new book The Passage to Europe.

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I’d Like to Teach Europe to Speak in Public

17 June 2013

One of my earliest TV memories is of the Coke ad, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’.

I can’t sing myself, but I like hippy optimism.

They say you should cut goals down to size.

Teaching the world to sing is too much, but how about teaching Europeans to speak in public?

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Mrs Thatcher’s Speechwriter

12 April 2013

A few years ago I read Ronald Millar’s memoirs – he was one of Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriters and the author of the line, ‘The lady’s not for turning’, which was inspired by the title of a play, The Lady’s Not for Burning by Christopher Fry.

He was a playwright who was asked if he would be interested in doing some speechwriting at a dinner party.

Millar says that, ‘the need is to grip, entertain, persuade and, when necessary, move a body of people who receive and react to what they are hearing collectively.’

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Writers – Come Out From Behind Your Screen

19 March 2013

So what are the benefits of meeting other writers? Once I would have found it difficult to make a very long list. That was until I was invited to the Ragan Executive Communications conference in Washington DC in 2008.

As a freelance speechwriter in the UK I considered myself a rare breed, permanently on the brink of extinction.

I paid my own fare and turned up in Washington DC. I found myself in a hotel with over 200 speechwriters. Chatting to them, I discovered they were all struggling with the same problems.

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Washington communications expert to keynote at European Speechwriter Network conference

7 March 2013

The European Speechwriter Network will hold their sixth conference at the Institute for Government in London from 15-17 May 2013.

The speakers include Washington communications expert, Denise Graveline, who runs The Eloquent Woman blog.

She will be speaking on ‘Opportunities for Women in Public Speaking.’

Former speechwriter to Paddy Ashdown, and author of Lend Me Your Ears, Dr Max Atkinson, will speak about the difference between a speech and a press release.

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Political Business Entrepreneurs

5 February 2013

Last Sunday I saw a very strange thing: two business speakers who were really inspirational politicians.

I attended the Design Your Career conference in Bournemouth on Sunday 3 February and I heard the stories of two creative entrepreneurs: Kresse Wesling and Wayne Hemingway.

Kresse Wesling turned up casual. She wore jeans and a jacket and had one of her handbags by her side. She stood up and explained how, from when she had been a small girl, she loved going to the dump. This had grown into an obsession. While most tourists visit the cafés and museums on a foreign holiday, Kresse would visit the landfill sites and root in the dustbins. She saw opportunity.

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UK Speechwriters’ Guild launches European Speechwriter Network

18 January 2013

The founders of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild have officially launched the European Speechwriter Network.

The new website can be found at

Brian Jenner, the administrator, said: “Since the accession of the Baltic states and the Eastern European states, English has cemented its place as the lingua franca of the EU. The European Speechwriter Network will bring together those specialists who write speeches in English for their bosses, even if English is not their native language.”

In a visit to Brussels last week Brian Jenner met with speechwriters to discuss an inaugural conference in Brussels in September 2013.

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A Henry Boettinger Masterclass

3 December 2012

Henry M Boettinger worked for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. He wrote a book Moving Mountains or The Art of Letting Others See Things Your Way published in 1969. It’s regarded as an obscure classic on the art of giving presentations. Here are some soundbites from the book:

Everyone subjected to a presentation brings with him several unseen retainers. Kipling called them his ‘six honest serving men’: Who, What, Where, Why, How and When?

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Three Cheers for TED

13 November 2012
TED Talks Infographic
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