Cambridge Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference 2018

11-13 April 2018
  • Start: 1000 11 April 2018
  • End: 1230 13 April 2018
  • Venue: King's College
  • Address: Cambridge, CB2 1ST
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16th UK Speechwriters’ Guild/European Speechwriter Network Conference.

Our conferences are open to people who write speeches in their organisations.

We welcome advanced speechwriters, beginners and those interested in developing skills for the future.

You’ll meet colleagues who face the same challenges.

The European Speechwriter Network, working with the UK Speechwriters’ Guild, has pioneered a format where we listen to top speechwriters, leaders and interpreters talk about their work.

We learn what techniques they use, how they craft stories and how they build relationships. We host our conferences in a university environment, enabling speechwriters to exchange ideas, make contacts and build a reputation.

Who should attend?

Previous conferences in Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin have attracted speechwriters from four Prime Ministers’ offices, the European Commission, NATO, Airbus, BMW, IBM, the CBI, Orange, Deloitte, the United Nations, the European Investment Bank, Coca Cola as well as the Dutch, Danish and British civil service.

This conference is for anyone wanting to improve their ability to write and deliver speeches.

While the conference is in English, the techniques will be transferable to other languages.

It’s also for people wishing to improve their company’s ability to communicate ideas.

The benefits

  • Acquire techniques used in the White House, European institutions and and in numerous government and multinational offices around Europe
  • Get insights into rhetoric from top writers
  • Listen to outstanding public speakers
  • Have your own work analysed in interactive sessions with top trainers
  • Meet fellow professionals from the Europe and the rest of the world



To download a provisional timetable for the three days click here


Pre-conference Training

Wednesday 11 April – Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops

Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton – The Mystery of the Metonym – how to write great speeches using the most powerful speechwriting tool most of us have never heard of

For a more detailed description of the workshop click here

Lindsay Hayes – Hard-earned speechwriting lessons from the US presidential campaign trail – How to sleep in your suit, know your sports teams and not miss the motorcade

For a more detailed description of the workshop click here

Renée Broekmeulen – Speeches with Impact – how to write speeches that get a message across

For a more detailed description of the workshop click here



Full Conference

Thursday 12 April – Conference takes place in the Keynes Lecture Theatre

10am – 4.30pm

Speakers include: Jessica Cunniffe, Pacelle van Goethem, Anders Thor, Jan Walravens, Shais Taub, Kelly Agathos

7.00pm – Conference Banquet

Enjoy a three-course banquet in King’s College dining hall with wine.

You’ll have a chance to take part in our after-dinner speaking competition



Conference Continues

Friday 13 April – 10am – 12.30pm

Speakers include: Professor Alan Finlayson, Jeremy Gardner

Official Conference Close – 12.30pm

1pm – Optional lunch

What you will learn and leave with

    • A better understanding of what makes an effective speech
    • Insights on how to work with multilingual audiences
    • Tips for managing your speakers
    • Strategies for dealing with interpreters
    • New contacts, ideas and perspectives on the trade


Pre-Conference Trainers

Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton

MartinMartha and Martin run UK consultancy CreativityWorks.

They write speeches for chief executives, politicians, leaders of trade unions and professional organizations, and they train speechwriters and other communications professionals.

Martin was recently commissioned to write a series on political rhetoric Marthafor the Guardian’s Mind Your Language blog, and is currently writing a book on rhetoric.

He is also a prolific cartoonist and commentator on Twitter, and he and Martha have created several animated films, including the viral YouTube hit, Busting the Mehrabian Myth.




Lindsay Hayes

Lindsay has served as a speechwriter in the U.S. Senate, a Cabinet-level agency and on two presidential campaigns. Those principals include several major figures in American politics and government. Among them, Mitt Romney (2012 campaign), Sarah Palin (2008 campaign), the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (2002-2006), and U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, whom she assisted with his New York Times bestseller The Way Forward. She got her start in the research arm of the White House Office of Speechwriting.

Today, she heads Redpath Writing, a firm founded to assist clients that need a collaborator for major speeches and high-profile communications projects.



Renée Broekmeulen

Renée has worked for 20 years as a speechwriter and teacher. First as a civil servant writing for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Ten years ago she started her own business. She writes speeches for politicians, directors and managers about every possible subject and teaches starting and/or aspiring speechwriters in The Netherlands and in Belgium how to be a professional speechwriter.








Stephen Krupin

Stephen served in the White House as a senior speechwriter to President Obama, as director of speechwriting on Obama’s re-election campaign, and as chief speechwriter to Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

As the director of SKDK’s Executive Communications practice, Stephen partners with C-suite executives, elected officials, and nonprofit leaders to help them achieve their strategic objectives from behind the podium and in front of the camera. He also teaches speechwriting as an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.



Jessica Cunniffe

Former speechwriter to the UK Prime Minister, now working for the Office of David Cameron.






Jan Walravens

Jan has been speechwriter for the Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2008. In his career to date as a speechwriter in the Dutch civil service he has worked for several cabinet ministers and junior ministers, for members of the royal family and for two prime ministers.

Jan’s educational background is in political history. He firmly believes that the key to being a successful speechwriter in the civil service is the ability to combine a modest ego with strong professional self-confidence.




Kelly Agathos

Kelly is a speechwriter in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement. She has been working in EU affairs ever since she moved to Brussels in 2010, which is also when she first discovered improvisational theatre. Kelly founded Brussels’ very first anglophone improvisation society and troupe, which are now central features of the city’s thriving improv scene.

When she is not writing speeches, Kelly teaches and performs improv in Brussels and throughout Europe. She is passionate advocate of the art form and firmly believes that its skills can add immense value to speechwriting.




Jeremy Gardner

After receiving his first degree (modern languages), Jeremy Gardner taught English for 15 years at the universities of Perugia, Cagliari, Cosenza and Ancona. He then moved to Luxembourg, to work as a translator at the European Union. His tasks there include editing original English texts and working as an interpreter/auditor during official visits to the Member States. He is also a member of the EU’s inter-institutional styleguide committee and played a significant role in drafting the current version.

In 2012, Jeremy published a tongue-in-cheek guide to misused words in EU publications, which attracted considerable attention in the media, both in Europe and beyond. He has since been involved in training aimed at improving the level of drafting within the EU, delivering presentations and workshops both in the EU institutions and beyond.



Professor Alan Finlayson

Alan is Professor of Political and Social Theory at the University of East Anglia. He writes primarily about political ideologies, political language and the theories of democracy. He is closely associated with the revival of the study of Rhetoric in British political science and is a founder member and Treasurer of the Rhetoric and Politics research group of the Political Studies Association. In addition to academic work he has written for publications such as The Guardian and The London Review of Books.

He is currently Principal Investigator on a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, looking at the rhetoric and aesthetics of political ideologies online with a particular focus on the so-called ‘alt-right’.



Anders Thor

Anders  is currently working as a speechwriter and advisor for the Prime Minister of Sweden. Educated at Uppsala University and University of Toronto, he worked as a campaign manager and communication consultant for unions, government agencies and global enterprises, before being recruited by the leadership of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in 2011.





Pacelle van Goethem

Pacelle is a researcher and writer and the most sought after public speaker in The Netherlands on the subjects of powers of persuasion, voice training and exerting influence. Her clients include influential figures from the highest levels of government and the corporate world. She has developed a method that can instantly improve your charisma and personal powers of persuasion and fine-tune your ability to persuade others.

After qualifying as a Speech, Language and Voice pathologist, she went on to specialise in Psychology and Mass communication and contributed to research carried out by the Radboud University in Nijmegen and the University Medical Centre in Groningen, in the course of which she made the spectacular discovery of the link between composure and persuasion.



Shais Taub

Rabbi Shais has lectured to audiences on six continents and is one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world today. He currently serves as scholar-in-residence at Chabad of the Five Towns in Long Island, New York where he teaches classes on mysticism and philosophy. In addition to speaking and teaching, he is also an in-demand speech writer who crafts sermons for other rabbis.

Each week, his material is heard by hundreds of audiences all around the world. His focus and passion in speaking, teaching, and speechwriting is to embrace the challenge of making highly abstract concepts relatable.




Sasha Damjanovsky

Sasha has over 20 years of experience in the entertainment and business communications sectors. For both his writing and directing work, he has won awards, critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response.

His varied career includes film, TV, theatre and short-form commercial work and is currently in development with  several new TV series and feature films as a writer, director and producer.

Sasha also works as a part time lecturer at Central Saint Martins (UAL), and a coach with individual and corporate clients.




Mette Pedersen

Mette has been a professional speechwriter for several years and is currently working at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, that has a prominent voice in the Danish political debate.

With a degree in Rhetoric and Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen, Mette has focused on training both speakers and speechwriters in the art and craft of Rhetoric. Mette is experienced in writing speeches for top CEOs and specializes in writing the annual ‘state of the organization’ address.




Charlotte Rose Lauridsen

Combining her knowledge of rhetoric and music, Charlotte will be leading a seminar on the voice: how it works, how we can train it to speak more effectively and how we can improve our writing.

Charlotte studied speechwriting and voice training at Copenhagen University. In 2014, she received a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and has since written speeches for several Danish ministers. Today, she works as a speechwriter for the Minister for Social Affairs and is the owner of SOS Retorik. Starting at the age of nine, she toured with the Danish National Girls’ Choir for almost ten years. She has sung with a number of Danish and Swedish a cappella groups. And in addition, she has taken courses in jazz improvisation, songwriting, and vocal technique at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Siena Jazz University, and Manhattan School of Music.


Guy Doza

Guy @guydoza has a degree from Royal Holloway’s Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric. His research is focused on the application of classical rhetoric in modern speechwriting. He runs training courses for political writers in parliament. He has worked with a number of ministerial offices and trained Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP speechwriters.

As well as his political work he has also written for a range of private clients ranging from executives at BP to academics at leading universities. Guy will be chairing the conference.






Clip from Last Year’s Conference in Oxford



For an Early-Bird Residential Pre-Conference Training + Conference Pass (Wed, Thu & Fri), the cost is £1425 + VAT. For other prices please press the ‘Tickets’ button to pay by credit card through Eventbrite.

If you prefer for us to send you an invoice instead of paying through Eventbrite, please send an email and we will send you one.  If you need to separate the costs into two invoices – one for training, the other for accommodation, we’re happy to do that. Just email and ask.


Cancellation Policy

Bookings will not be accepted unless accompanied by payment and cancellations must be received no later than one month (28 days) before the conference if a full refund is to be given.

Cancellations received within 2 to 4 weeks of the first date of conference will be refunded 50%. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 14 days.

However, we are happy to discuss transferring your ticket to a future conference in the event that you can’t attend due to unforeseen circumstances.


Get to Cambridge


London Stansted Airport

This is the closest major airport, about 25 miles from Cambridge (40 minutes by car). It is well served by airlines flying from European destinations. For flight information try the BAA Stansted website or contact the airlines directly (budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair operate direct flights to Stansted from many European airports).

London Heathrow Airport

Many airlines fly to London Heathrow. The easiest way to get to Cambridge is to take a direct coach service. The coach runs at least once per hour, see the National Express website and takes at least 2.5 hours to reach Cambridge (often much longer, depending on traffic jams).


There are regular train services from London to Cambridge departing from London King’s Cross or London Liverpool Street. For timetable, fares and to plan your train journey from London to Cambridge, see the National Rail website. If you are travelling from Europe, you can catch the Eurostar and King’s Cross station is a short walk from St Pancras.

By Coach

National Express operates coaches from London to Cambridge.



We recommend you take rooms in King’s College to maximise your enjoyment of the conference.



There are a limited number of places available at a discount to people in full-time education who are considering a career in speechwriting. Details on application.

Join our Network

Membership of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild or European Speechwriter Network entitles you to a £50 discount on the conference fee.

You can follow the European Speechwriter Network on Twitter @EUSpeechwriters

You can apply to join our Linkedin group, European Speechwriter Network

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