‘Punching your speaker should be a last resort’ – this is just one piece of advice you’ll find in my new book, Eloquence – A Treasury of Speechwriting Advice, published by the UK Speechwriters’ Guild.
To put it in a bit of further context, I talk about how being moderately abrasive as a speechwriter can be useful. When interviewing your speaker, they’re often vague about what they want to say. I don’t put it like this in the book, but piss them off and they’ll engage brain. You can always soothe them later.
Previously the UK Speechwriters’ Guild published a reading list for members. This book replaces that. It’s pocket-sized and 64 pages. It contains the advice of around 30 experts on public speaking, summarised in 250 words. I’ve read their books over the past six years and taken out about a dozen soundbites from each.
You’ll find top tips from JFK’s speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, Jack Welch’s speechwriter, Bill Lane and Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter, Peggy Noonan.
There’s insight on how an evangelical preacher operates as well as some good advice from a former vicar.
Two literary Germans are featured: Heinrich von Kleist and Kurt Tucholsky and one Dutch man: Desiderius Erasmus.
I’ve looked up aide-mémoire in the dictionary and it means an aid to the memory, especially a book.
The problem is that, as writers, we read lots of instruction manuals, but then over time, we forget what they say.
This book is designed to sit on a speechwriter’s desk and fall open during one of those moments when you run out of inspiration. And if you’re really impressed by one of the experts, you can buy the book the advice came from.
When I bought them I set the price to the cheapest available, never dreaming that anyone would buy them through the site.
By chance somebody mentioned to me that they didn’t need me to send them one because they’d bought one off Lulu. I checked my account and 300 people had done the same in the previous two weeks! Good news I didn’t have to pack them up and send them myself: bad news everyone bought one at a rock-bottom price!