Politicians are using more anecdotes, reports the BBC. I should hope so.

Political speeches used to be about big ideas with rhetoric to match, says BBC Political Correspondent Justin Parkinson. But nowadays they’re full of stories about “ordinary” people. So what, he asks, is going on? I have to accept some of the blame here. As a speechwriter, media trainer and communications advisor working in politics – […]

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In Asia giving a good presentation is very different to the West – but also pretty similar

I’ve been media training and speechwriting in Asia over the last few weeks and I can tell you that it’s a very different experience from working in the UK – and the US, for that matter. When people ask me how to write a good speech or how to do a good media interview I […]

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Advice to David Cameron on his Europe speech from an experienced corporate speechwriter

I don’t envy David Cameron having to make his speech on Europe tomorrow and I’m quite glad I’m not one of his speechwriters, even though I written speeches for ministers myself. However, as an experienced speechwriter, and one who is used to handling difficult subjects, perhaps I can give him one small but useful piece […]

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Today programme guest editor Benjamin Zephaniah and his idea about good news

Over Christmas, when it was edited by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, the Today Programme looked at the issue of good news versus bad. Challenging what he saw as the media’s love of bad news, Zephaniah asked various listeners to send in examples of good stories that the program could feature. “Why do journalists always focus […]

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When you have a deliver a tough message using narrative can help your presentation

It’s always nice when the client writes to thank you for the work you’ve done for them – and for a speechwriter like me it’s particularly pleasing when that client took your advice only after some persuasion. In other words, this particular client was sceptical about my idea but she listened to it, changed her […]

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The Starbucks press release that’s hard to swallow

Competition has been tough but a winner has finally emerged. Yes, I’d like to announce the prize for the worst piece of corporate drivel for 2012. It comes from Starbucks and it’s a press release announcing their acquisition of a tea company called Teavana. As a copywriter I love this kind of corporate bullsh*t. If […]

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So what you’re saying is…the importance of summing up your point

Jim Naughtie has been talking about racism in sport on the Today programme over the last couple of days. It’s an important and controversial subject but I’m a corporate speechwriter and copywriter and so what interests me most is his repeated use of the words “So what you’re saying is…” As a journalist too, I […]

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Some good news for George Osborne – well, for his speech anyway

Amid all the discussion about the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today I was interested to hear an exchange on the Today programme between Anne McElvoy of the Economist and Steve Richards of the Independent. The two journalists might have disagreed about the politics and the economics of George Osborne’s comments but they both seemed to think […]

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Why we all want our own omnishambles

“Omnishambles” has been named as word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary. Congratulations, then to The Thick of It’s Foul-mouthed fictional spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. Tucker has achieved what every speechwriter and copywriter like me is trying to achieve. He has created a word or phrase that enters the language. Tucker’s real life […]

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I’m very concerned about homeless children, Shelter, but…

It’s a shocking poster. According to the charity Shelter “75,000 of our children will wake up homeless on Christmas morning”. “Yes”, continues the poster, “we’re outraged too.” As a copywriter I admire the power and directness of this campaign but I also have a problem with it. It’s the word “outraged”. I’m certainly amazed by […]

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