Light up a Chariot of Fire. Seven reasons to attend the European Speechwriter Network conference in Cambridge

18 January 2024

1) Connection

We’re living in a world moderated by technological filters. Speechwriters need to know what’s going on. This is your chance to break free and eat, drink and talk with writers from all over the world, for three days, without interruption.

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The French Speechwriters’ Conference 2023 in Paris

5 December 2023

As I stepped off the Eurostar at the Gare du Nord, I mused to myself that it was 40 years since I first visited France as a 14 year old on a family exchange.

I was reflecting on how, at that moment, I had been initiated into the sacred mysteries of gendarmes, tomates farcies and Paris Match, when, I looked up and I saw at the end of the platform a sign: Starbucks.

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Five reasons to attend our Autumn Conference in The Hague

13 September 2023

The 22nd Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ conference will take place in the Social Hub in The Hague on 19th & 20th October. Here are five reasons why you should join us…

 

1) For uplift

American public speaking guru, John Bowe, quoting Aristotle, says people listen to other people for one reason and one reason alone, for their own happiness. They’re looking for clues for what will make them happier.

Speechwriters are creative types in corporate environments. When they meet other speechwriters they can talk for hours about how they can’t get access to their speaker, why they have to cut out all the interesting bits and how they never get any clear feedback. And at the conference we learn we’re not alone: everyone else has the same miserable problems.

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Dana Rubin’s New Anthology of Speeches by Women

2 August 2023

Dana Rubin is a speechwriter based in New York. She has been a supporter of our Network for many years. She has recently brought out an anthology of American women’s speeches. In many ways Dana is carrying on the work started by the late Denise Graveline, who spoke at our early conferences. Denise edited a blog called The Eloquent Woman, which has been preserved for posterity.

Women have not been silent in history, but you’d hardly know it from the history books and speech anthologies.

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A Banner for the Network

11 April 2023


Every year to lighten the admin load for the ESN conference, I set aside some money to invest in a creative project. One year it was an ESN tea towel, the next year it was an enamel mug, the year after that we created a branded European Speechwriter Network notebook.

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Why families don’t adopt black cats any more, and other consequences of digital populism. A review of Giuliano da Empoli’s Engineers of Chaos

30 December 2022

In the last chapter of Giuliano da Empoli’s book on the rise of digital populism, he describes the problem faced by the owner of a cat rescue centre.

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Seven Reasons to Attend the European Speechwriter Network conference at Brasenose College, Oxford in March 2023

30 September 2022

1. Meet the Speechwriters

Highly-educated, multilingual, intuitive, that tends to be the kind of person who falls into the role of ‘speechwriter’.

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What are we to make of Zelensky’s speeches?

15 July 2022

On Friday 8 July 2022, we hosted an online interview with Äse Thomassen, a Norwegian political scientist, who has just published a book, Zelensky’s rhetoric. The book gives some background to the rise of the Ukrainian President, and analyses his strategy of speaking to parliaments around the world.

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How to use a checklist of speechwriting commonplaces

16 June 2022

During the pandemic, Benet Brandreth QC produced a fine book: Shakespearean Rhetoric. It’s a very accessible account of how Shakespeare was a product of his education, and how he used his education when composing his plays.

It’s regrettable that we’ve lost the rigour which characterised argumentation in that era. Especially because in a modern media environment, it’s so important to create texts that stand out.

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Hail the Speechual! A new chapter in the history of speechmaking

10 March 2022

Former BBC correspondent turned speechwriter, Nick Hawton, gives his views on the changing nature of leadership communication.

In the deepest, darkest days of Covid, a new creature emerged into the light. Shrouded in pixels, gorging on the insecurity of the moment, the creature infected monitors the world over.

Promising connection and efficiency, it displaced the ‘here and now’ and drained empathy and spontaneity from the speechmaking ritual.

Lo, behold, the creature cometh, the mutant child of Father Speech and Mother Virtual….all hail the Speechual.

Speechwriters mourned the passing of the in-person delivery. Existential questions abounded.

But the predicted end of days has not transpired. The Speechual was (and is) not an enemy. It is our friend. It just needs to be understood.

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