“We cannot be intimidated by the tyranny of a blank page!”
Taking the advice of Frasier Crane, I try to fill in as much of my new diary as I possibly can before the promise of the New Year wears off.
One date that always jumps out at me is the annual Speechwriters’ and Business Communicators’ Conference, organised by speechwriter, Brian Jenner of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild. After a trip to Cambridge last year, 2016’s conference will be back in Oxford from April 13th to 15th.
This will be the twelfth speechwriters’ conference – and my third. With a vibrant mix of speakers from across the world, drawn from the worlds of industry, government and entertainment, it’s our Glastonbury. Only with more tea and biscuits.
Speechwriting secrets laid bare
This is one of those rare and special events where speakers and speechwriters mix with ease; where tips and techniques are freely divulged and trade secrets willingly traded.
I think you can judge any good conference by its useful-titbits-per-minute ratio, and I’ve come back from Oxford and Cambridge with notebooks full of intriguing insights. Not just about speechwriting, but about listening and talking; about humour and pathos; about reconciling irreconcilable differences through words, and making a profound impact on any audience.
My ones to watch at the 2016 Speechwriters’ Conference
There’s been a great and diverse range of speakers at each of the Speechwriters’ conferences I’ve attended. And every speaker at this year's event is going to be well worth your time. This year, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Sarah Lynch, whose work with the European Commission included the clear writing campaign to help staff write with precision and cogency. (Something that all business speechwriters need to remind themselves to do every now and then.)
Andrew Crofts will also be on hand to talk about his extensive career as a ghostwriter. Of course, he’s not just a shadowy teller of other peoples’ stories, but an established author in his own name – and I’m looking forward to hear more about his working life.
If you can make it to the pre-conference session, Richard Mullender is an extraordinary speaker. He talked to us at the 2014 Speechwriters’ and Business Communicators’ Conference about the power of asking the right questions. (I’d suggest some time in his company should be required of every writer, ghostwriter and speechwriter before they ask anyone anything!)
Fancy coming along?
Tickets for the Speechwriters’ and Business Communicators’ Conference 2016 are already available. At the time of writing, early bird discounts are available too.
If you can make it, do let me know via the UK Speechwriter contact form and we can wave to each other across the conference hall.