Welcome to the Atkinson Communications website which normally describes the main services we offer. But for the time being the usual site starts after news of an unusual event in early March.


Zoom conference on 3rd March 2020, organised by the European Speechwriters Network.


If you rewind this first clip to a few minutes after it starts, you can watch the whole session, except for the clips thatreproduced below (from ft Clark Judge, Senator John Barrasso, Professor John Heritage and Belgian presentation trainer Carsten Wendt).

Clark Judge, WhiteHouse Writers Group & former speechwriter for US President Ronald Reagan

John Barrasso, Republican Senator for Wyoming

Professor John Heritage, Sociology Department, University of California, Los Angeles

Carsten Wendt, progessional presentation trainer, Belgium

Lord Chris Rennard. former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats


Main website:

Claptrap – World in Action

Part 1
Part 2

CLAPTRAP: the Granada Television documentary showing how a woman who’d never spoken in public was coached and won a standing ovation at the 1984 SDP conference (27 minutes in 2 parts).


Covid 19 has meant that we have not been able to do any face-to-face coaching for many months – so we’re now offering online coaching and courses via Zoom, correspondece, etc. Further details from maxatkinson@speaking.co.uk or phone (+44 (0)1749 870600).


Unique approach to speaking and presentation based on original research that first came to public notice when the televised experiment above was broadcast on the same day as the publication of Max Atkinson’s book Our Masters’ Voices  in September, 1984.


Design of public speaking and presentation skills courses, coaching and speech writing services to clients in private and public sectors.

What makes the approach different?

     Delegate feedback singles out 3 things:

  1. The focus on how to make more effective use of language.
  2. Techniques taught are soundly based on original research into verbal and non-verbal communication, and audience reactions to different ways of speaking.
  3. How to avoid inflicting death from a thousand slides (i.e. mindless use of programs like  PowerPoint).


Personal coaching, speech-writing & editing

For reasons of time or confidentiality, some clients prefer a programme of individual coaching, often geared towards preparing for a major speech or presentation.


Max Atkinson’s academic background:
From 1974-1986, he was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, having formerly lectured at the universities of Lancaster and Manchester. He was a visiting professor at the Henley Management College from 1986 to 2006 and has also been visiting professor at Duke University, North Carolina and the universities of Vienna  and Stockholm .

He was recently elected to a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences and was given a lifetime achievement award by the UK Speechwriters’ Guild.


Speaker-training for business leaders

He’s helped managers in numerous companies and organisations in the UK and abroad to improve their presentations, often working individually with CEOs and other board level executives.

Speaker-training for political leaders

In 1985, he ran a seminar on speech writing in the Reagan White House, and was a close advisor on presentation and communication to the late Paddy Ashdown throughout his leadership of the Liberal Democrats (1988-1999) and later when he was the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia Herzogovina.

“Neither politicians nor business leaders can lead today without the   ability to communicate with audiences. They have two choices: (1) be born with the ability, or (2) read Max Atkinson’s books and learn.”Michael Sheehan (speech coach to Bill Clinton and president, Sheehan Associates, Washington, D.C.)

“No one surpasses Atkinson in the rigor and clarity with which he spells out how to move audiences to applause, get quoted in the media and become known as the most brilliant presence on any podium.” – Clark Judge (former speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan and managing director, White House Writers Group, Washington, D.C.


Atkinson’s books include

Our Masters’ Voices: The Language and body-language of politics


Lend me Your Ears: All you need to know about making speeches and presentations
Speechmaking and Presentation Made Easy: seven essential steps to success

      Seen & Heard: in politics, in the media and around the world


Contact details:

Atkinson Communications, Rose Cottage, Perch Hill, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset, BA5 1JA

T:   01749 870600
M:  07836 234570
Email: maxatkinson@speaking.co.uk