Oxford Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference 2019

3-5 April 2019
  • Start: 1000 3 April 2019
  • End: 1230 5 April 2019
  • Venue: The Queen's College
  • Address: Oxford, OX1 4AW
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18th 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 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 Europe and the rest of the world




Please click here to download the latest provisional programme as a PDF 


DAY 1 – Pre-conference Training

Wednesday 3 April – Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops:

Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton – How to Write Speeches that Move Hearts as well as Minds
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop 

Stephen Krupin – Writing in Washington
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop

Renée Broekmeulen  – How to Write Speeches that get a Message Across – (especially if your speaker is not one of the Obamas)
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop



Full Conference

Thursday 4 April – Conference takes place in the Schulman Auditorium

10am – 4.30pm

Speakers include: Henk Boon, Amélie Blanckaert, Mallika Lecoeur, Kevin Toolis

7.30pm – Conference Banquet

Enjoy a three-course banquet in Queen’s College dining hall.

Contact us if you would like to compete for the Fred Metcalf Memorial Trophy by delivering a 2-minute after-dinner speech.



Conference continues

Friday 5 April –

10am – 12.30pm

Speakers include: Richard Newman, Sarah Hurwitz

12.30pm – Conference closes

1pm – Optional lunch in the Nosebag, St Michael’s Street

2.00pm – Optional tour of the Oxford Union Debating Society

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


Martha and Martin run UK communications consultancy, CreativityWorks. They write speeches, lectures and presentations for chief executives, business leaders, lawyers, academics, leaders of trade unions and professional organisations, and more.

In addition to their speechwriting work, they design and run workshops for speechwriters and other communications professionals.

Martin is also a cartoonist and commentator on Twitter, and he and Martha have created several animated films, including the viral YouTube hit, Busting the Mehrabian Myth, which challenges the widespread belief that tone of voice and body language are more important in spoken communication than words.

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.


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.



Sarah Hurwitz

Sarah was the head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama from 2010 to 2017, helping her craft widely-acclaimed speeches and traveling with her across the U.S. and around the world.

She previously served as a senior speechwriter for President Obama and chief speechwriter for then-Senator Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign.




Edward Mortimer
Edward worked as the speechwriter for Kofi Annan, the late United Nations Secretary-General. He is an author, journalist, and fellow of All Souls College Oxford.





Amélie Blanckaert

Amélie worked as a speechwriter for Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Renault-Nissan. She runs the Paris-based speechwriting agency Coup de Plume.





Natasha Bertaud

Natasha is the spokesperson of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. After working in the press teams of Commissioners Malmström and Reding in the Barroso II Commission, Natasha joined President Juncker in 2014 to help run his election campaign. She served as both speechwriter and spokesperson for the Juncker for President Campaign. She is now the youngest spokesperson the European Commission has ever had in its employ. In addition to managing the President’s speeches and personal press, she is also a Coordinating Spokesperson covering the policies of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, working on issues such as migration, security, better regulation, justice and inter-institutional relations.


Kevin Toolis

Kevin worked as a journalist  in the House of Commons as a press gallery reporter and then reported on political conflicts and terrorism for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mirror.

As a documentary director has made a series of acclaimed films on terrorism and was nominated for an International Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for the programme ‘Cult of Death: Suicide Bombers’ for the Discovery Channel.

He has also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. He wrote a play called The Confessions of Gordon Brown and his presentation will tell the story of one of Brown’s most important speeches.


Mallika Lecoeur

Mallika is a writer, coach, and consultant for public speaking and managerial communication. She works independently and through the communication skills firms DB&A (Paris) and Exec|Comm (New York). With her help, professionals in diverse sectors have succeeded in communicating with more conviction, impact, and executive presence.




Richard Newman

Richard has been teaching advanced communication skills since 1995, as a trainer, presenter and coach through his company UK Body Talk.

He worked for the McLaren Formula 1 racing team for five years, gave over 1000 presentations and hosted VIP meetings for executives from global companies around the world.

He has just published his latest book, You Were Born to Speak.


Henk Boon

Henk started his professional career as a social scientific researcher and then worked as a journalist.

He reported from many Asian countries and published books on India and Laos. He also was an editor of the Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad  and guest editor of the German regional daily Thüringer Allgemeine.

Since 2002 he has been working for the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, first as a press official and subsequently as a policy advisor, media-analyst and (from 2012 onwards) as a speechwriter. Currently he writes for the Dutch State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, Ms Tamara van Ark.

Daniel Mouqué

Daniel trained as an economist, crafting long, data-rich discourses on socio-economic trends and spatial disparities. Following the truly shocking discovery that most people only came for his jokes, he turned to stand up comedy, and was twice crowned Belgian amateur champion.

An avid Toastmaster, he coaches entertaining speaking at all levels – from club beginners to European champions. But his proudest moment was winning the European championship with a serious, inspirational speech on why he is a European.

His day job is speechwriter for the European Commissioner for Regional Policy

Amélie Crosson

Amélie is the principal speechwriter for the Government Representative in the Senate of Canada. During her career, she has written speeches for prime ministers, cabinet ministers, governors of the Bank of Canada, and astronauts. She writes in both of Canada’s official languages (English and French) and welcomes the challenge of helping non-native speakers of a language connect with clarity and authenticity to audiences that are increasingly diverse. Fully trilingual (English, French and Spanish), Amélie has studied and worked in the US, France, and Latin America before settling in Canada.


Michel Reinders

Michel, PhD, somehow succeeded not to write a single article about finance during the years he worked as a journalist for a Dutch newspaper (Algemeen Dagblad) in the early 00s. Later, he went on to dabble in science (carefully avoiding anything related to statistics), write books (without graphs, figures or tables) and advise ministers (not once using the words:’as our budget shows’). Now, he works as a speechwriter for Shell.




Kresse Wesling

Kresse is a multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader with a background in venture capital and significant start-up experience. After first meeting with the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Kresse launched Elvis & Kresse, which turns industrial waste into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to charities related to the waste.

Elvis & Kresse’s first line is made from decommissioned fire hose, 50% of the profits from this line are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.

The company now collects 12 different waste streams, has several charitable partnerships and is involved with collaborations across industries, from FTSE 100 companies to fashion houses, including a current, 5 year partnership with the Burberry Foundation. The corporate story is one of the most inspiring you’ll ever hear. Kresse will be explaining how they communicate it through many platforms.


Dr Max Atkinson

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

He became famous because he trained a woman who had never spoken in public before to make a speech at a party political conference. She proved a big hit. The training was featured in a television documentary called World in Action.



Guy Doza

Guy has a degree from Royal Holloway’s Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric. His research was 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.



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.


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For an Residential Pre-Conference Training + Conference Pass (Wed, Thu & Fri), the cost is £1549 + 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. 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 Oxford

By Air

Oxford is within easy reach of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham International Airport.

By Train

If you arrive in the UK by Eurostar, there is a fast and frequent rail service from London Paddington.

By Coach

Coaches leave Victoria coach station at frequent intervals.


We recommend you take rooms in Queen’s College to enjoy the ‘campus’ experience. Some of the rooms are student rooms with a basin, but no ensuite toilet. We will upgrade as many delegates as possible, when more rooms become available towards the end of February.


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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