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.
In 1960 there were four people at work for every person in retirement, and those guys didn’t live very long, by the time you retire there will be two people for every person in retirement.
Bee is unusual in that he’s a pensions expert who is comfortable giving an after dinner speech. He has a satirical turn of phrase:
The Department of Work and Pensions has worked out that our industry simply doesn’t have enough acronyms at the moment.
He evaluated the impact of phasing in auto-enrollment:
I think it’s about as sensible as phasing in something like driving on the right. Lorries first week, buses next week, you know that sort of thing.
The judges at the UK Speechwriters’ Guild decided to award Steve Bee the prize because of his evangelical commitment to telling people that the state pension is unlikely to be adequate in the C21st, in a style that everyone can understand.
Listening to Steve Bee is like being entertained by a stand-up comedian. Only when you get home do the implications of what he’s told you hit you like a bucket of cold water.
The UK Speechwriters’ Guild emerged in 2009 to raise the profile of speechwriters and improve standards of speaking in public life. This is the fifth year that judges from the UK Speechwriters’ Guild have selected the Business Communicator of the Year.