[picture: Rob Havill, Europa Studio]
I help people communicate and think more effectively. And I write: books, blog posts, commissioned posts for other people's blogs, articles...
I love language, both written and spoken. I train business writing, copywriting, academic writing, technical writing... And I train presentation skills, speechwriting, and the skills of networking, influencing and persuading.
I've been doing all this since 1990. Before that, I was an actor. You could say that I'm really interested in performance: how to present the best possible version of yourself, wherever you happen to be. I've worked with people on every continent except Australia (and Antarctica, but - well... limited opportunities in Antarctica, I guess...)
I could do the same for you.
Find my training courses,webinars, testimonials and some of my books through the Pages links on the right.
Scroll down this page to find my training partners, clients, and publishers. Scroll further to find news of recent projects, and a couple of demonstration videos.
If you'd like to discuss training or coaching - or an area of mutual interest - please contact me on [email protected].
You're very welcome. Please look around.
To see outlines of my training courses, click here.
To see details of some of my webinars, click here.
Copywriting Masterclass for the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Essentials of speechwriting
I'm very proud to be running The Essentials of Speechwriting for the European Speechwriter Network. We run the course four times a year: two courses in London, and two in Leuven. Participants have described the course as "excellent and inspiring", with a “very balanced approach between theory and practice”. Numbers are kept low to ensure maximum attention to each participant. Book here for London, and here for Leuven.
Here are a few other comments.
"I can honestly say it was by far one of the best training sessions I have been on. Alan was a wonderful trainer, the day was very well structured and there were lots of opportunity for feedback and discussion. I came away from the day feeling really motivated and enthused."
Manager, Royal College of Nursing
"The training was fantastic. I can honestly say it was the most useful and enjoyable training course I have ever been on. Wonderful venue as well."
Speaking of speechwriting, I've been working in Seoul, delivering a five-day workshop on speechwriting with candidate diplomats at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
These are South Korea's brightest and best, preparing to represent their extraordinary country on the world stage. They attended to every word and challenged quite a few of my ideas. It's a privilege to work with them.
Developing writing skills at the Mercers Company
I've recently started working at the Mercers Company in the City, helping to develop more effective reports and copy. It's always a pleasure working in such a friendly atmosphere. And good to see a livery company with such a proud tradition making its communications strategy up-to-date and reader-friendly.
Middlesex University is fast acquiring a reputation for forward-thinking and wide-ranging education. I'm proud to be working with staff their on a range of programmes, from presentation skills to committee servicing.
British Science Association: coaching the Awards Lecturers
The BSA has been rewarding promising early career scientists for over 20 years, many of whom are now successful science communicators. The Award Lectures aim to promote open and informed discussion on issues involving science and actively encourage scientists to explore the social aspects of their research. Previous Award Lecturers include Brian Cox, Richard Wiseman and Maggie Aderin-Pocock.
For the last four years, I've coached the seven lecturers, helping them hone their material and their skills.
I also blog for the BSA about the lectures and other events at the British Science Festival. This Google page has links to all my posts.
The European Speechwriter Network: the Cambridge conference
I chaired the ESN conference at Westminster College, Cambridge, 15-17 April 2015. These are usually hugely enjoyable events; this was no exception.
You can hear many of the conference presentations here.
Writing with Style
I've recently designed and written a 90-minute programme on stylish writing, complete with grammar surgery, for a major London law firm. (You might just spot their name in the client list below.) Knocking your writing into shape; bringing your text to life; common confusions and old chestnuts; it's all there.
Behind the scenes at the museum
Over the past five years, I've been working with managers at the British Museum. So now, in addition to working at the Victoria and Albert, the Imperial War Museums, and the Natural History Museum, I have the thrill of walking through the mighty galleries of the BM before the public is allowed in.
Managing the risk
For a couple of years, I've been hard at work with the Chartered Insurance Institute, developing support materials and seminars for their Subject Matter Experts and examinations team. CII is at the forefront of learning design for professional qualifications, and it's a privilege to work with them.
Some fascinating workshops recently with Indigo Pearl, a leading agency in Entertainment Technology PR. Caroline Miller leads a seriously talented team from the front, with passion, flair and imagination. Respect is due.
Spreading the word
The word being 'rhetoric'. It needs to be treated with a mite more care. I said as much when I took part in Fry's English Delight on Radio 4 on 26 August 2013: Rhetoric Rehabilitated.
These three videos show me at work during the first hour of a workshop on advanced presentation skills.
This is the very opening, introductory session. (4 mins 17 secs.)
In this second video, I'm gathering objectives from the group. (10 mins 01 sec.)
And in this third section, I review those objectives. Unlike the first two videos, this one contains very little interaction with the participants. It's more of a 'chalk-and'talk' mini-lecture on the five canons of rhetoric: a framework that I find useful to organize the disciplines of presenting and public speaking.(8mins 11 secs.)
How to Write an Essay (Bookboon) [free ebook]
Creativity at Work (Bookboon)
Improve Your Communication Skills (Kogan Page)
Writing at Work (Spiro Press)
30 Minutes to Brainstorm Great Ideas (Kogan Page)
How to Manage Meetings (Kogan Page)
How to Solve Almost Any Problem (Pearson)
Client list January 2019
All clients are in the UK unless otherwise stated.
Private clients: executive coaching
Private clients: copywriting, copyediting, proofreading
Scrutiny Team, London Assembly
British Science Association
Chartered Insurance Institute
Genesis Housing Group
Global Training Consultancy
Imperial War Museums
Korea National Diplomatic Academy, Seoul
LKS Training, Khartoum, Sudan
Natural History Museum
Thames Valley Training and Development
UK Speechwriters’ Guild
Victoria and Albert Museum
Fortum Corporation (Helsinki)
Directory of Social Change
Forensic Risk Alliance
Jaguar Land Rover
Institute of Physics Publishing
McCarthy and Stone
Seafish Industry Authority
BT Open Reach
Sue Smith Training
Council of Mortgage Lenders
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Thames Valley Training and Development
Buckinghamshire New University
UK Speechwriters' Guild
Institute of Government
East Sussex County Council
I've recently been doing specialized communication skills work with senior managers. These have been my first visits to Finland; the work may spread to Poland and other Baltic states.
LKS Training, Khartoum
I'm proud that I've recently worked with Ahmed Eltash of LKS Training in Khartoum. I've been running five-day courses on communication skills for a range of corporate and not-for-profits in Sudan.
Ongoing coaching and training for speakers at the Council's conferences. Fascinating work with a range of organizations including mortgage providers, not-for-profit and public sector organizations, legal firms and others.
GTC hired me to produce copy for a new consultancy brochure in 2012.
London Assembly (website)
Consultancy is ongoing consultancy with the Scrutiny Team. I've worked with the team since 2006, coaching and helping to produce reports on assembly investigations. I have also produced the team’s style guide.
Continuing work extending and embedding a rebranding initiative.
Consultancy and workshops on effective writing, report writing, presentations, marketing and membership communications, webinars. 2007-.
Training workshops on writing skills, presentation skills and speechwriting.
Ongoing training and coaching in equity research report writing and presentation skills, for analysts at RBS and a range of other companies.
An associated slide presentation has received over 25,800 hits on Slideshare.
A major consumer products company (London)
Confidential coaching work in communication skills as part of career planning.