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Spring Speechwriters & Business Communicators Conference

Edinburgh Speechwriters & Business Communicators Conference: America, Europe and Scotland on the precipice. How do we craft a vision of the future?

European Speechwriter Network & UK Speechwriters' Guild

Thursday, 20 October 2016 at 10:00 - Friday, 21 October 2016 at 17:00 (BST)

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Remaining Sales End Price Fee VAT Quantity
Pre-Conference Training + Conference Pass (Thu & Fri)
This ticket includes pre-conference training workshop and the conference. Refreshments, lunch and tour of the Parliament are included. (No accommodation)
11 Tickets 20 Oct 2016 £999.00 £34.93 £206.79
Conference Pass (Fri)
This ticket includes the conference. Refreshments, lunch and the Thursday tour of the Parliament are included. (No accommodation)
16 Tickets 20 Oct 2016 £449.00 £21.18 £94.04
Pre-Conference Training (Thu)
This ticket is if you just want to attend the pre-conference training workshop. It includes lunch, refreshments and a tour of the Parliament. Choose your workshop when you book.
6 Tickets 19 Oct 2016 £599.00 £0.00 £119.80

Share Edinburgh Speechwriters & Business Communicators Conference: America, Europe and Scotland on the precipice. How do we craft a vision of the future?

Event Details

13th UK Speechwriters' Guild/ European Speechwriter Network Conference at St Leonard's Hall, Edinbugh.

Our conferences are open to people who write speeches in their organisations.

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, how they build relationships.

Who should attend?

Previous conferences in the UK, Brussels and Amsterdam have attracted speechwriters from the European Commission, NATO, 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.

You should attend this course if you are interested in:

  • Communicating your organisation's mission, vision and values
  • Helping leaders motivate and inspire
  • Discovering techniques to give your speeches more impact
  • Understanding how speeches are interpreted
  • Engaging people with your ideas

The benefits

  • 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 the Europe and the rest of the world


Click here to download a timetable for both days

Pre-Conference Training

Thursday 20 October


Delegates can choose from three pre-conference training workshops

10.00am – 4.30pm Eric Schnure - Wisdom from the White House - Basic Techniques from the Best American Speechwriters
Click here for a detailed summary of the workshop

10.00am – 4.30pm Martin Shovel and Martha Leyton – Style, Structure and Storytelling – a 1-day seminar to sharpen your speechwriting skills
Click here for a detailed summary of the workshop

10.00am – 4.00pm Denise Graveline: Add Meaning with Metaphor: Improve your Speeches with the Most Powerful Figure of Speech
Click here for a detailed summary of the workshop

4.45pm - Tour of the Scottish Parliament including drinks and a welcome from the Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament, Sir Paul Grice.

6.30pm - Meal in a local restaurant

Friday 21 October

10 - 4.30am - Full conference 

Speakers include
: Barton Swaim, Alex Marklew, Charles Ward, Vincent Stuer, Blair McDougall


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


Pre-Conference Trainers

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure provides speechwriting, messaging and strategy to corporate, political, government and non-profit clients. A former White House speechwriter and corporate executive, Eric now runs his own firm where he advocates the strategic importance of storytelling and creativity both in the written and spoken word.


Martin Shovel & Martha Leyton

Martha Leyton and Martin Shovel run UK consultancy CreativityWorks.

They write speeches for chief executives, politicians, leaders of trade unions and professional organizations, and they train speechwriters and other communications professionals.

Martin was recently commissioned to write a series on political rhetoric for the Guardian’s Mind Your Language blog, and is currently writing a Marthabook on rhetoric.

He is also a prolific cartoonist and commentator on Twitter @MartinShovel, and he and Martha have created several animated films, including the viral YouTube hit, Busting the Mehrabian Myth.



 Denise Graveline is a Washington, DC-based speaker coach and author of The Eloquent Woman blog.

Denise is a former journalist and communications leader who has coached nearly 150 speakers for talks at TEDMED and various TEDx conferences, as well as speakers at Fortune 100 and 500 companies, the U.S. federal government, universities, and nonprofit organizations. She chaired the 2013 European Speechwriter Network conference in Brussels.




Barton Swaim

Barton is director of communications for the South Carolina Policy Council, a nonprofit organization advocating market-based policies at the state level.

Barton is the author of The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics (Simon & Schuster, 2015) and Scottish Men of Letters and the New Public Sphere (Bucknell, 2009). He is a contributing columnist to the Washington Post and writes frequently on books and political language for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Weekly Standard, the Times Literary Supplement, The New Criterion, and other publications. He holds a doctorate in English language literature from Edinburgh University. 

Blair McDougall

Blair has been a political activist in the British Labour Party, best known as head strategist to the Better Together campaign during the Scottish independence referendum. He is particularly admired in political circles for his speechwriting abilities.


Vincent Stuer

Vincent was the speechwriter for José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission and is the author of the book Kleinstaterij! that explores the essence of nationalism in Europe and its consequences.





Alex Marklew

Alex is speechwriter to the British government’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. A former journalist, he has previously written speeches for foreign heads of government and the senior leaders of Britain’s biggest university.

In 2014 The Spectator magazine called a speech he wrote ‘one of the finest I have ever read’, and earlier this year he received an honourable mention in the Cicero Awards. He tweets about speechwriting, bicycles, and the awful performance of his local railway line at @MarklewA



Sir Paul Grice

As Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament, Sir Paul Grice leads the Scottish Parliamentary Service which is responsible for delivering all services to the Parliament and its Members. Paul is the Parliament’s principal adviser on procedural and constitutional matters. He has worked in the devolved parliament since its inception in 1999. He will be hosting a drinks reception after the tour of the Parliament.





Richard Wilkins

Richard has worked in the Scottish Government for 15 years. Before joining the civil service, he worked as a tour director, and for an educational charity which ran school debating and public speaking competitions. As a policy civil servant – working in early education and childcare, finance, justice and culture- he sometimes wrote speeches for Liberal Democrat, Labour and SNP ministers. In 2011 he became speechwriter to the First Minister of Scotland, and has worked in that capacity for two different First Ministers.


Charlie Ward

Charles is a freelance speechwriter and theatre director. He is a graduate of the prestigious Speeches and Speechwriting course at St Andrews University, and he trained with Juan Carlos Gené in Buenos Aires. His speechwriting work includes a wide range of business and social speeches, with a particular emphasis on delivery.





Mariusz Zagórski 

Mariusz Zagórski is a classicist and a lecturer at the University of Warsaw, where he teaches literature and creative writing. He writes and translates prose and poetry. As a speechwriter he specializes in political, corporate and healthcare communication. He promotes professional speechwriting in Poland.




Patricia Lane

Patricia is a cross-cultural communication specialist. She runs a business Franco-Americal Quill offering consultancy to French business leaders who want to understand the problems of speaking to non-French audiences. She specialises in copywriting, translation and adaptation services. Patricia moved to France in 1995, working first as an intercultural management and expatriation consultant, and then as a Director of European Development for a Californian company’s London and Paris offices. Patricia will be running a break out about preparing your speech for translation.


Peter Scally

Peter is the Parish Priest at the Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh. He joined the Jesuits in 1993 and after two years novitiate in Birmingham he was sent to Dublin to study Philosophy and Theology, and stayed on to do ‘regency’ – two years of full-time work – at the Irish Jesuits’ Communication Centre. He was ordained in Sheffield in 2002, spending the next two years as assistant priest in Southall, west London. After setting up Jesuit Media Initiatives, responsible for the prayer podcast ‘Pray-as-you-go’ and the online journal, ‘Thinking Faith’, Peter was sent to Edinburgh to help in the parish and was appointed Parish Priest in 2011. Peter has speechwriting and sermon writing experience and he will be talking about how the crafts are related in a breakout session.


More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks...

We do our best to make sure all speakers appear as billed, but we may have to make some substitutions in the event of illness or unexpected events.


See the video of the Berlin conference in October 2015


If you prefer to submit a purchase order or you would like us to send you an invoice instead of paying through Eventbrite, please get in touch.


Cancellation Policy


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, but you can negotiate to transfer your place to the next conference.

How to get to Edinburgh

By Air

Edinburgh airport is within easy reach of Edinburgh town centre.


Most people are staying in the Edinburgh City Centre Royal Mile Hotel.



There are a limited number of discounts availalbe to people in full-time education who are considering a career in speechwriting. Details on application.


Click here to read an article the Financial Times wrote about one of our conferences.

It was a great event and I found the speakers provided an excellent insight into the world of speechwriting - so thank you!

Kate, IBM

We went back to the real nitty-gritty elements of the craft, and going back to basics made me think afresh about different approaches that can be taken. The Conference overall was educational, practical and full of ideas and creative energy. Attending was a brilliant opportunity – go!

Jonathan Kinsella (speechwriter at Dept of Culture, Media and Sport)

Loved the conference. Great speakers and well organized. Learnt lots.

Alistair McIntosh, Chief Executive, Housing Quality Network

Thanks especially for getting Sam Leith and David Day to speak to the group, both were utterly compelling.  And thanks for all the thought and hard work that doubtlessly go into this event every year, I can't think of any other conference that's worth packing a suitcase for.

Maddy, Clifford Chance

It was a hugely enjoyable two days and an honour to speak among such stellar names. Congrats on pulling off such a successful event.

David K

I greatly enjoyed the conference, and very much appreciated being invited.

Edward Mortimer, former speechwriter to Kofi Annan

Let me thank you wholeheartedly again for having invited me to your brilliantly organized conference in Oxford. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I was impressed by the line-up of speakers, the truly international mix of people, the intellectual level of the contributions (and contributors) and the wonderful venue you had chosen

Willi Vogler, Verband der Redenschreiber deutscher Sprache

Thanks for organising such a brilliant event – I have just been raving about how brilliant the event was to my colleagues and would very much like one of them to attend next year, could you keep me on your mailing list.

Communications Director at Astellas Pharma Europe

Thanks for organising such a great event.

Ben Duncan, Senior Adviser to the Director, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Thank you for an outstanding conference. Congratulations for organising multiple perspectives on speech writing – Foreign Office, UN, government and business.

Jamie Priestley

Do you have questions about Edinburgh Speechwriters & Business Communicators Conference: America, Europe and Scotland on the precipice. How do we craft a vision of the future?? Contact European Speechwriter Network & UK Speechwriters' Guild
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When & Where

The Scottish Parliament

EH99 1SP Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Thursday, 20 October 2016 at 10:00 - Friday, 21 October 2016 at 17:00 (BST)

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European Speechwriter Network & UK Speechwriters' Guild

ESN Logo

The European Speechwriter Network is a new career-enhancing resource for a multilingual and mobile profession. We provide a place to sharpen your skills, promote your services and set professional standards.


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The UK Speechwriters' Guild is a pioneering group of people, committed to sharing knowledge about effective communication.

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Edinburgh Speechwriters & Business Communicators Conference: America, Europe and Scotland on the precipice. How do we craft a vision of the future?
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