Public speaking for public life weekend

Friday, 25 June 2021, 18:30
Sunday, 27 June 2021, 17:00
Bourne Park
Exeter Park Road, Bournemouth BH2 5BD

An intensive weekend for young adults under 30 to improve confidence and public speaking skills.

The ability to stand up and make an engaging speech is an essential skill for anyone wishing to have an impact on society.

If reduce your fear of public speaking, you increase your confidence in every area of your life.

We give you a chance to practise in front of your peers and before a panel of public speaking trainers.

You can spend a weekend in Bournemouth, away from work colleagues or critical friends, where you can stand up and make mistakes, without it ever mattering.

Instead you’ll take the first steps to acquiring a skill that is indispensable for any leadership position.

Who is it aimed at?

The weekend is for aspiring leaders who want to develop their own voice: entrepreneurs, prospective MPs, lawyers, campaigners, lecturers, TEDx speakers, trades unionists, councillors and ministers of religion.

Our approach is to give you as much stage time as possible while introducing your to the basic principles of rhetoric, an intellectual system that is over 2000 years old.

This system gives you the tools to develop your ideas and communicate them to different audiences.

We welcome delegates who do not have English as their first language.

How does it work?

During the weekend you will be asked to make at least three speeches.

You will need to introduce yourself, explaining your background, your experiences and your values.

You will be invited to do some ‘off the cuff’ speaking to overcome your fear of standing up in front of an audience.

You will be invited to memorise and perform a famous speech.

It can be by Martin Luther King, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln or any political figure who you admire.

We’d just like to hear a 4- minute extract.

We will use video so you can evaluate your own performances.

You will also get feedback from the workshop leaders, previous graduates of the workshop and your fellow delegates.

This exercises will give you a chance to overcome any nerves, experiment with your public speaking style and work out where you need to make improvements.

Along the way you’ll get to know a group of people who share your interest in active citizenship.

What you will leave with

Anyone who completes the weekend will automatically become a member of the European School of Rhetoric for one year.

This will give you access to articles and resources to deepen your familiarity with rhetoric and further improve your speaking skills.

What do I have to do to enrol?

If you would like to discuss attendance further please give Brian Jenner a ring +44 7545 232980.

Before you register, there is a form to fill in covering confidentiality during the weekend.

What’s the format?

We have 16 places for the weekend beginning Friday 25 June 2021.

The timings are as follows:


Runs from 6.30pm till after 11pm

You will be invited to introduce yourself to your peers and explain your motivation for being involved in public life in front of supportive trainers.


Runs from 9.30am till after 10pm

9.30am – 10.30am – Impromptu speaking

11am – 12.30am – A chance to do some public speaking exercises

12.45am – 2pm – Exercises to appeal to the emotions

2pm – 4pm – Lunch with your peers

4pm – 5pm – An introduction to rhetoric

5.30pm – Performances of pre-prepared speeches (lasting up to 4 minutes)


Runs from 10am till 4pm

  • 10am – 12pm – Speechwriting exercises
  • 1pm – 2.30pm – Lunch with your peers
  • 2.30pm – 4pm – Final exercises and closing remarks

We will provide snacks and refreshments during the weekend.

You will be able to go for lunch with your colleagues on the Saturday and Sunday.

The venue is in the centre of Bournemouth, so there are many hotels within 100 metres of where it all happens.

How do I pay?

The cost for the weekend is £349 per person. You need to find accommodation separately, but we can make some suggestions if required.

You can request an invoice for payment, or if you prefer to pay by card you can register through Eventbrite.

You can ask for a refund up to one month before the workshop. If you can’t attend at the last minute, we’ll be happy to register you on the next one.

The Leaders

Dr Max Atkinson
Dr Max Atkinson

Max was a speechwriter for the late leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown. He ran workshops for Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters and has been a prolific author on the subject of speechwriting and public speaking. After completing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Essex in 1969, Atkinson worked as a Lecturer at the University of Lancaster (1969–72) and the University of Manchester (1973–76) and was a Fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford University from 1976 to 1988. Atkinson also held a visiting professorship at Henley Management College for ten years and for shorter periods at other universities in Sweden, Austria and the United States.

Guy Doza
Guy Doza

Guy has a degree from Royal Holloway’s Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric and a PGCE from Homerton College, Cambridge. His research was focused on the application of classical rhetoric in modern speechwriting. He runs training courses for political writers in parliament. He has worked with a number of ministerial offices and trained Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP speechwriters.

As well as his political work he has also written for a range of private clients ranging from executives at BP to academics at leading universities.

Brian Jenner
Brian Jenner

Brian has been a professional speechwriter for over 20 years. Before that he worked at a journalist on the Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Daily Mail. He also worked in the marketing department of the City Law firm Ashursts. He is the founder of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild and the European Speechwriter Network. He studied French and German at Brasenose College, Oxford. He has been President of Grosvenor Square Speakers in London and Hallmark Speakers in Bournemouth.