Apologies, regrets and contrition: Getting it right.

By Charles Fleming – Paris, 22nd May 2017 Saying sorry in public is never easy. Clumsy rhetoric can make it even rougher. There has been a spate of public apologies recently and many have made a difficult situation worse because of poor preparation and delivery. Here is a look at a few of them. The … More Apologies, regrets and contrition: Getting it right.

Victory Speeches: 2017 vs 1945 (and 2008 and 1994)

Paris, 8th May 2017 Let’s say: he’s learning on the job. France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron gave two victory speeches last night. The first was awful. The second, delivered with more panache from the Louvre, was somewhat better. But neither lived up to the standards of great victory speeches we have known, as you’ll see below. … More Victory Speeches: 2017 vs 1945 (and 2008 and 1994)

How presidential is Macron’s rhetorical style?

By Charles Fleming, Paris, 24th April 2017 How “presidential” is Emmanuel Macron’s rhetorical manner? Well, rather like the name of his political movement, let’s say it’s “en marche”, in other words, evolving. The French presidential candidate’s public speaking style has changed significantly since he launched his movement a year ago. At the time, he was … More How presidential is Macron’s rhetorical style?

Elephants in the room and how to handle them: lessons from Merkel, Abe and Hogan.

Paris, 10th April 2017 There was an elephant in the room when Germany’s Angela Merkel and Japan’s Shinzo Abe held a press conference last month calling for greater free trade. The elephant was Donald Trump. Merkel and Abe didn’t mention the US government during their speeches, but everyone listening will have had Trump’s protectionist instincts … More Elephants in the room and how to handle them: lessons from Merkel, Abe and Hogan.

Inoculation against the fear of public speaking?

27th March 2017 Afraid of public speaking? Hope is in sight! Glossophobia, as such fear is known, is a remarkably wide-spread affliction. Even those whose lives are virtually spent on the podium continue to suffer to some degree. (That includes the British royal family, as you’ll see below in the rather touching video of the … More Inoculation against the fear of public speaking?

Beware of speaking in tongues: François Hollande and Kristen Stewart.

When Peugeot’s CEO Carlos Tavares went to Germany last week to address Opel factory workers about the merger of the two car groups, he reportedly began his speech with “a few short lines” in German, even though he doesn’t speak the language. His intentions were certainly good, but let’s hope for the sake of everyone … More Beware of speaking in tongues: François Hollande and Kristen Stewart.

Turning opponents’ words against them: Blair gets bitten.

Paris, 27th February 2017 Turning your opponents’ words into a weapon against them is one of the oldest tricks in public speaking. It’s called an antistrophon in rhetoric. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair used the antistrophon very skillfully in his recent speech in London against Theresa May and the UK’s exit from the European … More Turning opponents’ words against them: Blair gets bitten.

Have we lost the art of wit in modern rhetoric?

13th February 2017 Where’s the wit? Public speaking in this blustering age of New Populism all too often appears to be dominated by bombast from one side and equally loud satirical jeering from the other; all of them “full of passionate intensity” as Irish poet WB Yeats once scathingly wrote. But don’t lose heart. The … More Have we lost the art of wit in modern rhetoric?

Theresa May’s foreign policy speeches: speaking to, not at, your audience.

30th January 2017   UK Prime Minister Theresa May has made two major foreign policy speeches to audiences abroad this month. Each speech was met by a very different reception: chilly in Davos; warm in Philadelphia. Given the state of the world today, and the nature of the people she was talking to, that doesn’t … More Theresa May’s foreign policy speeches: speaking to, not at, your audience.

Public speakers as entertainers: speaking vs singing

Charles Fleming, 16nd January 2017 Public speaking is all about performing. So why shouldn’t public speakers act like entertainers from time to time? If you’re going to make such a bold point, Davos is as good a place as any. That, at least, appears to be the position of one of China’s richest businessmen, Wang … More Public speakers as entertainers: speaking vs singing