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Becoming Effective Speechwriters


This workshop is ideal for staff in local government, or large corporations, who are occasionally asked to write speeches for their executive officers, elected Members, or senior colleagues.

Whether delivered online, or in public, speeches have the power to transform how others behave. Perhaps the aim is to win votes, press for cultural change, or build sales?  Whatever the objective, the speech remains one of the most powerful forms of communication.  However, professional full-time speechwriters are a rare commodity in most organisations.

So the speechwriting task is delegated, and the time to plan and draft the text can be limited by the many other jobs on the writer’s desk. The resulting speech might be adequate, but an opportunity for impact may be lost.

Drawing on centuries-old speaking techniques beloved of orators from Aristotle to Shakespeare, Churchill to Obama, this workshop transforms the way speeches are planned, pruned and polished.

 How attendees will benefit.

Whether you relish the opportunity, or reluctantly pick up the brief, this workshop will transform your approach to speechwriting.

·         You will be clearer about your role, your relationship with the speaker and how to get started;

·         You will have planning tools to guide you through the drafting process;

·         You will learn how to transform a good speech into a great speech;

·         You will learn with colleagues; listening to their feedback and giving them the benefit of your ideas;

Who should attend

Speechwriters can be found in multiple departments and sections of larger organisations. If you have staff in the following roles, they may well be asked to write a speech:

·         Local Authority Executive support officers;

·         Mayor and Cabinet Office support;

·         Council political advisers;

·         Local government press officers;

·         Corporate press officers;

·         Personal Assistant to Board and CEO;

Put out an internal memo, and invite these colleagues to apply for a place on the PRCA workshop.

The maximum number for this workshop is 12.

What attendees learn. They will be able to:

·         Assist colleagues with speech planning well ahead of the event;

·         Organise material under a single clear, memorable and compelling message.

·         Create content to connect with the audience in an informal, engaging and persuasive manner using story-telling, facts and emotion.

·         Employ the best stage-craft techniques and rhetorical devices to ensure the desired outcome.


The workshop is currently delivered online in two parts, with a gap of two weeks between sessions.

Delegates will learn the theory of speechwriting in Session One, then work in pairs to draft and deliver a speech on a topic of their choice in Session Two.

Session One (2.5 hours) covers:

·         The skills required to make effective speechwriters

·         Establishing the purpose of the speech

·         Where to find inspiration for the content.

·         Choosing the best structure for the speech.

·         How to get attention and keep it. An introduction to classic rhetorical devices.

·         Working with the speaker to draft, edit and polish the speech.


Session Two (3 hours) is a chance to hear speeches drafted by the delegates, to give feedback and suggest improvements. Peer-to-peer reflection is a crucial part of this session.

What material attendees will receive

The PRCA trainer Louise Third will work with the commissioning manager to design the workshop according to needs. Delegates receive joining instructions, including a reading list for anyone interested in reading around the topic beforehand.

The Workbook (a Word Doc.) is emailed just before Session One; this is a comprehensive tool in which delegates can take notes. It is packed with tips, reminders, and suggestions for further reading. All the slides are available afterwards via the commissioning manager.

Louise recommends that the draft speeches are collated into a single file for future internal use and reference.