TEDx Talk – Defence Against the Dark Arts

Here is my TEDxCambridgeUniversity Talk ‘Defence Against the Dark Arts’ in which I explore the impact and influence of rhetoric in the modern world.


A write up of what went down at ESN Cambridge

Last week Cambridge hosted what was the largest gathering of speechwriters Europe has ever seen. Traveling from all over world speechwriters came to King’s College for a two and a half day conference which was organised by the European Speechwriter Network.

As well as attracting the largest number of delegates the conference also attracted the best line up of speakers I’ve ever seen at such a gathering. On the first day delegates could choose from one of three day long training workshops. Continue reading “A write up of what went down at ESN Cambridge”

The Fallacy Fallacy

The fallacy fallacy, so nice they named it twice! Aside from having a slightly silly name, what is the fallacy fallacy? The fallacy fallacy is simply is when you assume that something is untrue because it has been poorly argued (i.e. you assume that an argument is a fallacy because someone else has presented it fallaciously). For example…

John: Punching a cow in the face is bad because every time you punch a cow in the face a magical pixie fairy dies.

Harriet: This is ridiculous. Everyone knows that magical pixie fairies don’t exist. Therefore your argument is wrong and it is ok to punch a cow in the face

*Harriet then proceeds to punch a cow in the face*

Continue reading “The Fallacy Fallacy”

Logic Part 2: Modus ponens, modus tollens and Chuck Norris

In Logic Part 1 I wrote about the use of basic Aristotelian syllogisms and their fallacies. I am now going to talk about propositional hypothetical logic. Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry! As with the basic syllogisms, it’s also pretty easy!
Propositional hypothetical logic

This is it…

If P, then Q

There you have it! If P, then Q, easy-peasy! ‘If P, then Q’ is called a hypothetical proposition.

Continue reading “Logic Part 2: Modus ponens, modus tollens and Chuck Norris”

Death by PowerPoint

Imagine it is August 28th 1963 and you have traveled to Washington DC to hear Martin Luther King Speak. He’s 30 minutes into his presentation and he says, ‘now as you can see on section C of slide 37….’ It just wouldn’t be the same. This is because slides ruin good speeches. In fact, countless good speeches have been butchered by the pestilence known as PowerPoint. I’ve sat through many ‘talks’ in which the speaker at some stage or other started reading the illegibly small text from slide 42 with their back facing an unenthused audience who can barely conceal their boredom. Ironically, in most cases, PowerPoint is neither powerful nor to the point. Continue reading “Death by PowerPoint”

The European Speechwriter Network Conference comes to Cambridge

I am very privileged to have been asked to chair the next  European Speechwriter Network Conference which will be taking place on my home turf in Cambridge at King’s College. The European Speechwriter Network organises a number of high-profile conferences and attracts speakers and delegates from all over the world.

The conference speakers will include the former speechwriter for Barack Obama as well as the speechwriters for the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Sweden. You can read more about the conference and the speakers online.

As well as chairing the three day conference I was asked to take part in this promotional video. David Attenborough, eat your heart out…

Guest Blog: The Eloquent Pedants – Guy Doza

Here is a short piece I wrote for Imogen Morley’s blog, ‘Language, Communication and Collaboration’. The piece is all about whether or not linguistic correctness matters!

Imogen Morley

A festive treat today in the form of a guest blog from my friend and colleague Guy Doza. Guy is an experienced speechwriter and consultant with a Master’s degree in rhetoric from Royal Holloway’s Centre of Oratory and Rhetoric. His research focusses on the application of classical rhetoric in the modern day. Guy’s post today is about the controversial subject of grammar and “correct” language in speeches and communication.

In his own words:

“As a non-partisan writer I have worked with officials from the Conservative, Labour, SNP, LibDem and Green parties. Outside of Parliament, I have worked with a number of Charities and NGOs ranging from BP to the BBC.

I often write for scientists and research groups who want to communicate their work to a mass audience. In the past I have written about chemistry, economics, astrophysics and more. On one occasion I was even asked to write a…

View original post 678 more words