10 Steps to Writing a Vital Speech – Review by Alan Barker

9 February 2013

By Fletcher Dean
Published by Vital Speeches of the Day, 2011

Fletcher Dean introduces his book as “a primer on how to write a speech”. And, as a primer, it works extremely well.

Dean knows the worlds of both political and corporate speechwriting. He takes a pragmatic view of the speechwriter’s job.

He’s not afraid to tackle the fuzzy areas: the relationship between script and notes; the fraught question of Powerpoint; and most importantly, the relationship between scriptwriters and their principals. Dean’s first command is to know the audience. What, above all, do you want them to do after listening to the speech?

Although the early chapters are somewhat checklist-heavy, Dean’s take is refreshing. At the heart of his approach is what he calls the Communication Hierarchy: five ‘communication possibilities speakers can achieve with their audiences’. At the base of the staircase is ‘Inform’; we progress through ‘Create understanding’. ‘Reinforce values’ and ‘Change attitudes’ to the ultimate purpose: ‘Elicit action’.

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Garr Reynolds comes to London

2 November 2012
Garr Reynolds

On Wednesday 7 November 2012, I attended the Presentation Zen conference at the London Hilton Paddington.

It was excellent. Garr Reynolds is a charismatic presenter and he kept us going for the whole day.

However, there was one moment when, as a speechwriter, my heart sank. It was when Garr described an article published in Psychology Today. The title of the article is The 8 Key Elements of Highly Effective Speech…and why your words barely matter.

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Rich Watts becomes PEER 1 Hosting UK Business Speaker of the Year

4 October 2012
Terry Connor, PEER 1, Rich Watts, Ross Thornley, RT Media

Rich Watts, an account director from Leepeckgroup, won the £2000 prize for PEER 1 Hosting UK Business Speaker of the Year 2012 competition.

The final, hosted by the leader of Southampton City Council, Cllr Richard Williams, pitched nine speakers against each other at the hub theatre in Southampton on Thursday 27 September.

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