On 18 May 2015, I travelled to Berlin for a speechwriters’ conference.
I’ve heard anecdotally that it was Lawrence Ragan the founder of Ragan communications in Chicago, who came up with the idea of a conference for speechwriters in the late 1980s.
I’ve got Lawrence Ragan to thank, because when I visited his conference in 2008, it inspired me to organise a European equivalent, and to start the UK Speechwriters’ Guild in 2009.
One of our members who works in the Scottish Parliament, Rodger Evans, wrote this quiz for delegates for our conference at Westminster College, Cambridge. See how may you can answer…
(1) From whom did President Obama borrow the catchphrase “yes we can”?
This article appeared on the website of the Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache (The German Speechwriters’ Guild) after Brian Jenner’s visit to their conference in Berlin in September 2014.
Vorsitzender des European Speechwriter Network zu Gast auf VRdS-Kongress
Der Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache (VRdS) intensiviert seine Kontakte zu den Berufskollegen in Europa. Nachdem VRdS-Gründungsmitglied Willi Vogler Anfang April auf Einladung des European Speechwriters Network (ESN) in Oxford mit einem Vortrag den VRdS vertreten hatte, nimmt nun der ESN-Vorsitzende Brian Jenner als Gast am VRdS-Kongress „Mehr Taktgefühl, weniger Political Correctness“ am 10. September im Tagungszentrum Aquino in Berlin teil (sieh Programm).
Founder of the European Speechwriter Network, Brian Jenner, recently published an article about what constitutes a good conference for speechwriters. You can read it here. Vazrik Bazil from the Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache has published a reply, which you can read below.
An expert in pensions has won the UK Speechwriters’ Guild Business Communicator of the Year Award.
Steve Bee, CEO for Jargonfree Benefits, has been commended by the judges for his ability to talk about pensions in a humorous and compelling way.
Bee is an accomplished cartoonist. He draws illustrations as he goes along which are projected on a screen to make his points. He also uses flip charts. Significantly, we can find no evidence of him using PowerPoint slides.
The judges were impressed by his ability to put complicated ideas into words of one syllable. He uses statistics that are memorable and persuasive.
The art of speechwriting has been compared to tap-dancing in a minefield.
If you want to learn about the profession of speechwriting, European Speechwriter Network conferences offer you insights from speakers doing different jobs all over the world.
If you need to learn the skills, discover the opportunities and build relationships with colleagues, you won’t find anything similar outside the United States.
The UK Speechwriters’ Guild has published its first book: Trade Secrets – Jokes, stories and quotations for desperate speechwriters in 2014.
“This is a pilot project which the Guild intends to become an annual publication, featuring the best lines nominated by its members during the year.” said the founder Brian Jenner.
The European Speechwriter Network champions the idea that every speechwriter needs their own commonplace book. British author, John Julius Norwich, is famous for his Christmas Crackers, which have been appearing every year for over 40 years.
In the 1973 version, he reproduced the famous dictation which Prosper Mérimée set one evening for the court of Napoleon III at Fontainbleu. According to the memoirs of Princess Pauline Metternich, the winner was Prince Metternich, with only three mistakes. Alexandre Dumas made 24 and the Empress Eugénie made 62, which was considered not bad for a Spaniard. The text was as follows:
Lord Sacks retires as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation this month.
He’s probably the best orator in British public life.
Here’s an example of how speaking means combining a good script with a willingness to perform. This is how he set up his contribution to a conference on medical ethics in San Francisco. A transcript is underneath.
Frank van Hoorn is speechwriter at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands. He is also author of the book ‘Vuil van de reis‘ (‘Travel-stained’ as well as ‘The Stain of Travel’).