Oxford Speechwriters’ & Business Communicators’ Conference 2019
3-5 April 2019
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.
- 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
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
Stephen Krupin – Lessons from the White House
Click here for a more detailed summary of the workshop (Not ready yet)
Renée Broekmeulen – How to write speeches that get a message across – (especially when your speaker is not one of the Obamas)
Thursday 4 April – Conference takes place in the Schulman Auditorium
10am – 4.30pm
Speakers include: Mallika Lecoeur, Henk Boon, Amélie Blanckaert
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.
Friday 5 April –
10am – 12.30pm
Speakers include: Kevin Toolis, 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
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 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 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 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. Hurwitz previously served as a senior speechwriter for President Obama and chief speechwriter for then-Senator Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 Early-Bird Residential Pre-Conference Training + Conference Pass (Wed, Thu & Fri), the cost is £1499 + 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.
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
Oxford is within easy reach of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham International Airport.
If you arrive in the UK by Eurostar, there is a fast and frequent rail service from London Paddington.
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