Day 1. STORYDESIGN: Convincing stories & Herman Van Rompuy

Day program
A persuasive and inspiring story starts with a clear idea, presented in a structure that serves its purpose. We’ll start with influencing your audience effectively using the Storydesign method. How do you ensure that your speakers’ listeners not only understand your story but also remember it and pass it on to others? In other words, how do you craft a presentation that truly cascades? A story that lingers in memory and resonates?

  • You’ll learn to apply the principles of Storydesign, allowing you to quickly design effective presentations for different target groups with different interests.

  • Most of our decisions are taken subconsciously. Once our gut feelings have decided, we consciously look for reasons to justify that decision. That’s why we’ll teach you how to appeal to your audience’s emotions as well as their intellect.

  • You’ll familiarize yourself with wisdom passed down from antiquity, but also catch up on the latest research on the art of influencing.

  • You’ll learn how images can add to instead of distract from your message.

Evening program:
An evening with Herman Van Rompuy and Luuk van Middelaar.
Herman Van Rompuy served as the first President of the European Council from 2009-2014.
Luuk van Middelaar is a Dutch historian and political philosopher.
Rompuy and his speechwriter Luuk van Middelaar collaborated closely on crafting speeches and stories about the purpose of Europe.
You will hear stories and insights from their five-year journey and get the chance to ask Herman Van Rompuy and Luuk van Middelaar questions.


Day 2. STORYTELLING: Inspiring stories

Day program
Whether you work in politics, business or in civil society, your leader is expected to inform, convince, inspire and get people moving – sometimes all at the same time. The spoken word is a powerful tool to make it happen, but only when applied in the right way. An impromptu talk, a solid presentation or a well-rounded speech. Whatever form is expected or needed, you always need a clear story to tell. A story that motivates and move people. On the second day of the course, you’ll learn how to track down, adapt and craft inspiring anecdotes that perfectly match your Storydesign.

  • You’ll learn to use different types of inspiring stories, i.e. anecdotes, metaphors and analogies.

  • We’ll give you a handy method for collecting and adapting the stories that you want to use.

  • You’ll learn the Ten Commandments of Storytelling and how to apply them.

Evening program
After two full days of hearing about stories and their hidden patterns, it is time to turn the tables: we will become storytellers ourselves. You will embark on a hero’s journey and let us all experience the emotions that come with a beautifully crafted and well-told story.

Day 3. SPEECHWRITING: a higher level

Day program
We’re diving into the craft of speechwriting. Together we will experience the journey from an empty page to the moment the words are spoken in front of an audience. Which barriers and challenges will you encounter on the way? The perfect speech is not only about perfect sentences but also about the perfect idea. How do you take your speechwriting to a higher level?

  • You’ll learn about the more advanced techniques, dating from Aristoteles to Barack Obama. We’ll explore different genres of speech, such as commemorating, celebrating, convincing, mourning, informing and entertaining.

  • You’ll learn how to find the human story in a universe of bureaucratic language and political compromise. And how to translate facts and numbers into words and sentences that will capture hearts and minds.

  • Speechwriting is about finding your speaker’s voice. You’ll learn to ask the right questions and to grasp your speakers attention in a demanding environment. How can you influence your speakers ‘ethos’?

Day 4: SPEECHWRITING: creativity works

Day program
Designing and structuring your presentation or speech is one thing, actually writing it is another. How do you turn your thoughts into lines that radiate purpose, logic and rhythm? How to find inspiration during a busy working day? And how do you make sure your speech is not just heard by the people in the room, but reaches a much wider audience? Today is all about creativity and about thinking beyond the words you put on paper.

  • You’ll learn how to clear your head, beat writer’s block and to write freely.

  • You’ll learn how to trim your speech into a succinct message that carries the day.

  • You’ll learn how to reach a wider audience and to give your speech an afterlife.

Evening program
After a day of thinking and writing freely we will take our creativity to the next level: the stage. A fun and memorable evening of improvisational acting in an actual theatre: no script, no structure, no pressure.

Day 5: STORYCOACHING: advising the speaker

Day program
For our last day we’ll turn from writers into trusted advisers. After finishing the speech or presentation, you need your speaker to be ready too. But how do you coach your speaker to have a bigger personal impact?
The audience sizes your speaker on two dimensions. First of all, they want to know if he (or she) is competent. Does he know what he’s talking about? Does he get results? No one follows a leader that seems shaky – the risk of arriving safely is just too small. Second, people also want a leader they can trust. They want to know if the heart of your speaker is in the right place. Are his (or her) intentions pure? We call this the ‘wish factor’. These two dimensions – competence and warmth – are crucial to the influence of your speaker. But how do you get your speaker to non-verbally show competence and warmth? How do you make him or her truly engage with the audience? Since these skills are so crucial, it is important that you are able to manage them. We will show you what techniques you can use to improve the appearance of your speaker. We will start by working on your own appearance. Once you’ve experienced the effectiveness of our focus-method, we will teach you how to use it yourself. We will teach you how to make adjustment to the appearance of a your speaker without sacrificing his (or her) authenticity. As a result your speaker will gain more influence and support.

  • You’ll learn the secrets of charisma based on ‘The Big Two’ theory of social psychology: competence and warmth.

  • We will show you how a benchmark of personal charisma can be made. Doing this, personal pitfalls and chances will be clearly pictured.

  • Through our Focus technique you will be given a unique tool to manage your speakers’ charisma. Doing so, qualities are strengthened and weaknesses minimized without losing authenticity.

  • We’ll show you how small changes can create much more confidence and cordiality.

  • Using our Focus method, you’ll learn how a speaker can project competence and warmth without play-acting.

 We will end the week with an assignment that makes you apply every topic we discussed, sending you home with applied wisdom and tools you need to be an even better writer, adviser and storyteller.

Practical information
Throughout this five-day training course, you’ll receive personal feedback. Hands-on exercises and training in a small group of peers will ensure that you make noticeably rapid progress. On all five training days, you’ll work with your own case studies. After the course, you’ll be given digital access to our recordings of your presentations and to the digital Storydesigner app. The app gives you an easy way to craft, save, share and print your stories.

Location: Brussels
Dates: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 June 2019
Time investment:
Five days (and three evenings)
No. of participants: Maximum of twelve
Main language: English
For whom: Speechwriters, press officers,  strategic and/or communications advisors who aspire to become an even better writer, advisor and storyteller.
Cost: € 6,200
21% VAT ( if you have a VAT identification number we apply VAT reverse charge)
Hotel arrangements
Five Day Training
Venue costs
Meeting with special guests of honor Herman Van Rompuy and Luuk van Middelaar
Three dinners
Entrance to the Theatre workshop
Course materials
Storydesigner app
Are you an entrepreneur with a VAT identification number? Then we apply VAT reverse charge.
If you don’t own a VAT identification number, we charge 21% VAT.



Are you considering joining The Speech House? Sign up before April 17 and you will enjoy a reduced workshop fee of 10%.


“One of the most valuable training courses in my career”

— review of the course Leading by Story

“Excellent proposition that I have not seen before”

— review of the course Leading by Story.

“The method is fantastic”

— review of the course Strategic Presentations

Guests of honor

Herman Van Rompuy, politician from Belgium’s Christian Democratic and Flemish party, served as Prime Minister of Belgium and was the first President of the European Council from 2009-2014.

Luuk van Middelaar  is a Dutch historian and political philosopher. From December 2009 to 2014 Van Middelaar was member of the cabinet of Herman Van Rompuy, the first President of the European Council. In 2015 Van Middelaar was appointed professor Foundations and Practice of the European Union and its Institutions at Leiden University in the Netherlands.