Garr Reynolds comes to London

12 November 2012

On Wednesday 7 November 2012, I attended the Presentation Zen conference at the London Hilton Paddington.

It was excellent. Garr Reynolds is a charismatic presenter and he kept us going for the whole day.

However, there was one moment when, as a speechwriter, my heart sank. It was when Garr described an article published in Psychology Today. The title of the article is The 8 Key Elements of Highly Effective Speech…and why your words barely matter.

Garr put up a list of the eight key elements of effective speech – according to Psychology Today –  in order of their importance.

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Rich Watts becomes PEER 1 Hosting UK Business Speaker of the Year 2012

4 October 2012

Rich Watts, an account director from Leepeckgroup, won the £2000 prize for PEER 1 Hosting UK Business Speaker of the Year 2012 competition.

The final, hosted by the leader of Southampton City Council, Cllr Richard Williams, pitched nine speakers against each other at the hub theatre in Southampton on Thursday 27 September.

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Cash plus PR for the 2012 UK Business Speaker of the Year

1 August 2012

Aspiring speakers are invited to compete for the prestigious title of UK Business Speaker of the Year.

The top three competitors will share £5,000 in prizes, with career-enhancing PR for the winner.

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild has teamed up with Southampton-based PEER 1 Hosting ( to create a new competition for public speakers.

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TEDx Houses of Parliament: California Dreaming comes to Whitehall

27 June 2012

I have a theory that there is a clear fault line in British public life.

On the one side is those people who are drawn to our traditional institutions. They like to belong, and they tend to be suspicious of action, initiative and ideas.

On the other side is the people who don’t care much for our traditional institutions. They are attracted to progressive American thinkers, psychology, science and business.

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Write a Speech for the Prime Minister – Bursaries for Budding Speechwriters

6 June 2012

Could you write a speech for the PM?

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild is offering five bursaries* to attend their annual conference at the Bournemouth University Media School on Friday 21 September 2012.

This year’s conference, ‘Do Speeches Still Matter?’ will include contributions from US speechwriting expert, Chris Witt, political communications blogger, Dr Max Atkinson, and the speechwriter to the President of the European Investment Bank, Jan Sliva.

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Do Speeches Still Matter? The UKSG Autumn Conference in Bournemouth

29 May 2012

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild annual conference is extending over two days.

There will be an intensive speechwriting training session on the afternoon of Thursday 20 September at the St Swithun’s Centre in Bournemouth led by Martin Shovel and Martha Leyton from Creativity Works.

This will be followed by a ‘Ask Not’ Rhetorical Quiz in the evening, which will allow delegates to network on the eve of the event.

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The Five Roles of a Speechwriter: a Speech about Speechwriting

28 May 2012

My name is Brian Jenner and I’ve brought a photograph to show you today.

It’s me, with the tool of my trade.

It cost me £600 and it stands in my study. It’s a lectern.

When I finish writing a speech, I print it off, go to the lectern and read it out. The lectern doubles up as a desk and I can make amendments in the margin as I go along.

Woody Allen said that 90% of being a success was turning up. I’d say that you’re 50% on the way to becoming a professional speechwriter if you read out every speech you write.

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In Praise of Boris Johnson’s Speeches

19 March 2012

Brian Jenner argues that the London Mayor’s speeches are smarter than most people give him credit for.

While searching for candidates for the UK Speechwriters’ Guild Business Communicator of the Year 2012, I found a speech by Boris Johnson on the CBI website.

It was so good, it was tempting to put him forward for the award, even though he’s a politician, not a business man.

What makes Boris so special?

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Soapbox (this article appeared in PR Week 14 October 2011)

25 January 2012

I’ve been commissioned to write an analysis of the speeches at the Party conferences by Messrs Clegg, Cameron and Milliband, but I’ve got a confession to make. I didn’t watch them.

Instead I’ve been reading Chip & Dan Heath’s book, Switch: how to change things, when change is hard. The authors say analysing the causes of a problem rarely helps to solve it. If we want to change something we have to study what’s working and champion that.

As a speechwriter, I love listening to great speakers but I don’t expect to find them at party conferences.

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Pitching the World

23 January 2012

Lots of our members would like to go freelance. Last week a blogger reported his experiment of writing to 650 MPs offering his services as a speechwriter. He tried raw honesty as as tactic and submitted a sample speech.

You can read about his experiences here:

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