Macron’s Armistice Day Speech was lofty, but pulled its punch

Emmanuel Macron’s Armistice Day speech was a moving tribute to lost generations, and an inspiringly optimistic call to action for the 83 other world leaders gathered in the rain under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Sadly, the speech failed to pack the punch it deserved. It was certainly an extraordinary moment, rich in symbolism, … More Macron’s Armistice Day Speech was lofty, but pulled its punch

What makes the most popular TED Talks so popular?

The most popular TED Talks have notched up over 40 million views each. That’s impressive by any count, so here’s a quick look at three top TED performers to see what we can learn from these rock-stars of rhetoric. At first glance, the top three TED speakers’ styles are so different that they serve merely … More What makes the most popular TED Talks so popular?

Warm words for a cold message: An English barrister shows how it’s done

It ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it. UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s performance at the Conservative Party’s recent annual conference was a case in point. As the Tories disintegrate into Brexit sects and schisms, Mr Cox told delegates to grow up, enter the real world, settle for less, and fall … More Warm words for a cold message: An English barrister shows how it’s done

Stepping out of character: Corbyn, Ford and May

Seasoned public speakers each have their well-established manner. How easy is it to change, and how effective can that be as a device to make people sit up and take notice? Here’s a look at how some public speakers recently in the news have stepped out of character, even briefly; some deliberately, others not; some … More Stepping out of character: Corbyn, Ford and May

Learning from the weathermen: typhoons and presentation techniques

Hurricanes and typhoons have kept TV weathermen at the top of the news cycle recently. The following is a critical look at a handful of weather reports, brought to you with the idea that makes for a good TV presentation might help you next time you speak in public. One of the best around today … More Learning from the weathermen: typhoons and presentation techniques

Talking about others, not yourself: Kissinger, Biden, Clinton, Madonna

A little bit of “I” goes a long way in public speaking. Aristotle highlighted the importance in rhetoric of establishing one’s own credibility. He called it “ethos” and defined it as one of the essential “modes of persuasion”. But beware: referring to oneself in a speech is like salt in cooking: a pinch enhances the … More Talking about others, not yourself: Kissinger, Biden, Clinton, Madonna

Masterclass in rhetoric: Obama’s Mandela lecture

Barack Obama’s lecture to mark Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday last week was a masterclass in the art of public speaking. For anyone looking to improve their oratorical skills, here’s a look at some of the devices Obama used, all taken from a single three-minute snippet towards the end of the lecture.     Watch Barack … More Masterclass in rhetoric: Obama’s Mandela lecture

If words could win the World Cup: Martinez vs Southgate vs Deschamps vs Dalić

What if we settled the World Cup purely on the football coaches’ public speaking abilities? Here’s how the four nations competing in the World Cup semi-finals this week deserve to finish, were the spoken word truly as powerful as I like to think: 1. Belgium 2. England 3. France 4. Croatia This ranking is compiled solely on my … More If words could win the World Cup: Martinez vs Southgate vs Deschamps vs Dalić

Refusing to answer questions: Williamson, Miller and Tarantino

Paris, 25th June 2018 If you don’t like the question, don’t answer it. That’s valid advice for any interview (and indeed, probably for life), but it’s easier said than done, especially if you don’t want to rile the person you’re talking to. Here’s a look at how three public figures refused to answer a TV … More Refusing to answer questions: Williamson, Miller and Tarantino

Talking tough to the neighbours: Trudeau, Foster and Sturgeon

Paris, 11th June 2018  Neighbourhood disputes are never a pretty sight, particularly when they descend into petty insults and name-calling. The political leaders in Canada, Scotland and Northern Ireland have shown widely varying styles in their speeches and interviews this month, each addressing some sharp differences with their neighbours to the south. Let’s start with … More Talking tough to the neighbours: Trudeau, Foster and Sturgeon