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“It’s Alive!” How to repurpose content and give your speech an afterlife

After much writing and rewriting, rehearsing and – er – re-rehearsing, your speech has finally been delivered. Time to sit back and bask in its glories? Probably not….

Performing authenticity: what speechwriters can learn from teachers

Frances Ryan writes in the Guardian of how teaching helped her to overcome her fear of public speaking. My own story is similar, so Frances’s account rings very…

President Trump and Louis Althusser: “Hey You!”

A great post over on David Murray’s speechwriting blog, Writing Boots, really gets to the nub of what make Trump a successful public speaker — successful, that is, even…

Joanna Lumley’s BAFTA speech: Where did it all go wrong?

The Guardian asks, “Is Joanna Lumley the worst BAFTAs host of all time?” Accepting its own challenge, the paper performs a post-mortem of her speech as the host…

Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow: a treasure trove of tips for speechwriters and speakers

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a fantastic resource for comms professionals. Here’s why… As an in-house speechwriter, you find yourself attending a great many training…

Performative utterances: what speechwriters can learn from surgeons, tailors, and magicians

While I was lurking at an event in London a couple of weeks ago, tasked with that least glamorous of speechwriter tasks — remotely clicking through Powerpoint slides…

Invisible Ink: Rhetoric in Speechwriting

I’ve mentioned before how popular representations of speechwriters don’t always chime with lived experience. Along the same lines, whenever I’ve been asked what qualities a speechwriter needs most, I…

Against blandness: what speechwriters can learn from Scottish mountain climbers

I’ve just finished a very interesting book about the glory days of Scottish mountain climbing, Mountain Days and Bothy Nights. What I enjoyed was its focus not on…

When a speech is not a speech

There is a stereotype of the speechwriter as a figure hurriedly crafting compelling arguments and desperately coining memorable phrases, ready in an instant to pull diverse policy initiatives…

The challenge of the short-form statement

Speechwriters don’t just write speeches. We’re asked to provide statements, forewords, op-eds, soundbites, and much more. Sometimes these commissions are more difficult than the longer speeches. It’s easier…