What I learned about speechwriting in Denmark

At two rhetoric conferences in Copenhagen last week, the author picked up communication wisdom and a Machiavellian trick for managing approvals.

I’ve been to Copenhagen twice and I still don’t understand how they can draw 60 to 100 people from tiny Denmark to conferences on speechwriting and business rhetoric—I spoke at one of each last week—when, for Ragan’s Speechwriters Conference, I can’t draw more than 250 speechwriters from the whole world.

Kell Jarner Rasmussen’s explanation—that traditionally communication-constipated Danish government ministers watched Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and suddenly found religion about the power of words—doesn’t fully explain this phenomenon. But on the theory that the Danes are “10 years behind” the U.S. on the subject of rhetoric, Rasmussen keeps having me over to speak at the conferences that he and his partner Jesper Troels Jensen put on under auspices of their consulting company, Rhetor.

So I don’t complain; I take the trip and give my talk (this year on the “ideal” executive communication program) and I learn what I can, which is more than you might think from a nation of supposed rhetoric upstarts. Here were a few of my gleanings this year:

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