Helsinki Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference

11-12 October 2018
Helsinki, Finland
  • Start: 10am 11 October 2018
  • End: 5.00pm 12 October 2018
  • Venue: The House of the Estates
  • Address: Snellmaninkatu 9-11, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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Rhetoric is the art of influence, friendship, and eloquence, of ready wit and irrefutable logic. And it harnesses the most powerful of social forces, argument. – Jay Heinrichs

In the context of turbulent political events, the 17th UK Speechwriters’ Guild/European Speechwriter Network Leadership & Communication conference will be held at the House of the Estates in Helsinki. This event has been made possible by the support of the Finnish Literature Society.

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 predominantly 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



DAY 1 – Pre-conference Training

Thursday 11 October – Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops

10.00am – 4.30pm – Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton: The Mystery of the Metonym –  a 1 day seminar on how to write great speeches using the most powerful speechwriting tool most of us have never heard of!
Click here to download a more detailed description

10.00am – 4.30pm – Alan Barker & Guy Doza: Plain speaking for international audiences – a 1-day seminar on speechwriting in English as a foreign language
Click here to download a more detailed description

+ One other

4.45pm – Tour of the Finnish Literary Society

6.00pm – Drinks reception and buffet with the Mayor of Helsinki


Friday 12 October – Full Conference

10am – 4.30pm




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



Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton

MartinMarthaMartha and Martin run the 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
for 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.


Alan Barker & Guy Doza

Alan is Managing Director of Kairos Training Limited. He regularly delivers workshops and coaching on speechwriting to a wide range of organisations, including the European Commission, the International Criminal Court and The Natural History Museum, London.

Alan is the author of fifteen books, including: How to Solve Almost Any Problem (Pearson), Improve Your Communication Skills (Kogan Page), How to Manage Meetings (Kogan Page).



+ One Other



Alison Reid

Alison has more than eight years’ experience in speechwriting and communications in higher education and government. She currently collaborates with a member of the House of Lords, in the UK parliament, writing political speeches on education, employment and housing. She has particular interests in intercultural communication and spoken language, and has just finished a Master’s degree in non-fiction creative writing.




Dan Sobovitz

Dan has led the digital presence and publications of the Vice President of the European Commission for the past 3 years. Previously, he had served as the editor in chief and digital communication coordinator of the EU Humanitarian Aid Department (DG ECHO). He has also advised various international organisations and consultancies on their digital communication, including EU and UN institutions, the British Chamber of Commerce to the EU, the Slovak Foreign Ministry, the European Academy for Taxes, Economy & Law, Fleishman Hilliard, the Public Affairs Council, Clear Europe, and others.

In 2013, Dan co-founded ‘Ceci n’est pas une crise’, a civil society organisation which analyses the current wave of xenophobic populism and advocates for an inclusive and tolerant alternative.

When he’s not at his day job, Dan blogs and lectures about the interplay between technology, society, and politics. He is a citizen of Israel, Switzerland, and Hungary (and potentially a few other countries) but Brussels is where he currently calls home.


Dr Max Atkinson


Max Atkinson was Paddy Ashdown’s speechwriter in 1987. He ran workshops for Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters and has been a prolific author on the subject of speechwriting and public speaking.





Dr Mari K Niemi

Mari specialises in political campaigning and communication, populism and media. Alongside her academic research Mari is an active political pundit who follows campaigning around the world. In 2018 she was a regular political commentator for the televised coverage of the Finnish presidential elections. She analysed live speeches and appearances made by the eight candidates on live TV for the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE together with a network of visiting guests. Since January 2018, Mari K. Niemi has been the Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship InnoLab research platform at the University of Vaasa, Finland. She will chair the conference.



More speakers to be announced in the coming days…while we do our best to make sure all speakers on the programme will appear on the day, we cannot be responsible for any unforeseen cancellations.



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.


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%. If you can’t make it at the last minute, you can transfer your attendance to a future conference.


Get to Helsinki

By Air

Land at Helsinki Airport, which serves Europe, America, Africa and Asia. The airport is quite busy and also has a lot of low-cost carriers.

There is a train and bus station in the airport itself. Suburban trains to Helsinki (a ride of 30 minutes) run regularly.





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 + VAT 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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