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The Speechwriter: A Masterclass with Philip Collins

The memorable one-liners, the witty turns of phrase, the perfect sentences – everything can seem so effortless when a brilliant speaker is addressing an audience at an Intelligence Squared event, a business conference or even in Parliament. Naturally talented as many of these speakers are, they all prepare – and many of them have sought advice on how to write and deliver those perfect sentences.

Philip Collins, one of the world’s leading authorities on, and practitioners of, the art of speechwriting and rhetoric, has provided that advice to many of the world’s best known speakers. And now Intelligence Squared, the home of debate, is hosting an online speechwriting masterclass with Philip.

Philip was Tony Blair’s chief speechwriter in 10 Downing Street, and has since written for leaders in politics, business and the non-profit sector. He is also a columnist at The Times and is the author of five books, including two on rhetoric and speechwriting.

Philip’s process draws on the ancient art of rhetoric, the emerging science of influence and persuasion, and his own experience writing for top leaders. During the course of the morning, you will learn how to gauge an audience, build an argument, write crisply and effectively, and deliver memorable presentations and speeches.

Put your questions to Philip in this online workshop on February 18 and April 8. The masterclass starts at 10am and will take place on Zoom. There will be a maximum of 20 participants.

The cost of the masterclass is £299 plus VAT and the first four participants to register will receive a 10% discount.

  • The event will take place on Zoom
  • The Intelligence Squared team will be on hand to help with any difficulties joining the event
  • All participants will be encouraged to submit questions before the event so that Philip can take time to look over them in advance but it will be perfectly fine to pose him fresh questions
  • We will allow 5 minutes for troubleshooting and settling in
  • An Intelligence Squared team member will lead the discussion, introducing Philip and leading into the breaks and the end of the programme
  • Philip will speak for 45 minutes
  • After 45 minutes everyone will take a ten-minute break
  • We will resume with further discussion and questions from participants, wrapping up after a second 45-minute session
  • We will clean up the transcript and send that over as soon as it is available

We know things can pop into your diary unexpectedly. If you sign up for the course but are then unable to join us, we will send you the session recording immediately afterwards.

Click the book jacket below to purchase The Art of Speeches and Presentations by Philip Collins from Waterstones.





Philip Collins

Former speechwriter for Tony Blair

Philip Collins is a columnist for The Times, where he has pioneered the analysis of major speeches, and is the Founder of The Draft, a writing company. He was chief speechwriter to UK prime minister Tony Blair between 2004 and 2007 and has subsequently written for and advised a range of senior politicians, CEOs and charity bosses. He is the author of five books, including two on the arts of persuasion and rhetoric: The Art of Speeches and Presentations, a how-to guide, and When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches that shaped the world – and why we need them. Philip was previously Director of the Social Market Foundation, Chair of Demos, and worked in finance.