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”
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…
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!
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…
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Last week I went to attend the European Speechwriter’s Network Conference in Leuven. Twice a year a collection of Europe’s top speechwriters gather for a conference to share ideas at one of the world’s most prestigious conferences for Speechwriters. This year the conference was chaired by Alexander Drechsel who is an Interpreter at the European Commission.
The first day of the conference was divided into three groups of training. I went to a workshop run by John Yorke to discuss how Hollywood screenwriters create a winning story and what speechwriters can learn from this. Continue reading “A write up of what went down at the ESN conference in Leuven”
Logos (logic) is known to many people but understood by few. The danger with logic is that all it takes is a subtle distortion to produce a flawed, but very convincing argument. To understand logic properly we have to go back to the very basics.
Basic logical syllogisms
An argument using logic is often called a logical syllogism. Basic logical syllogisms will have a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion…
Major premise: All A is B
Minor premise: X is A
Conclusion: Therefore, X is B
Continue reading “Logic Part 1: Fun, fallacies and a dead flamingo”
According to Cicero there are three types of speeches, deliberative (to persuade an audience), judicial (to present a case in a debate or argument), and epideictic (to give a ceremonial speech). Each type of speech has its own purpose, and each has its own secret weapons.
This post is going to focus on one of those weapons: occultatio. Occultatio is the rhetorical equivalent of sticking your nose in the air whilst slapping your opponent in the face with a leather glove. It’s sneaky, it’s sly, and we all love it! Continue reading “Occultatio: Burritos, bandits and bit of banter”
A political party speech is an opportunity for party leaders to talk about their views and policies. It gives politicians a platform to rally their supporters and inform the public. It is therefore an important part of our political process and indeed of democracy.
The Prime Minister yesterday was speaking in a hall with thousands of people who wanted to hear what she has to say. Her colleagues in Brussels wanted to hear what she had to say. People across the United Kingdom wanted to hear what she had to say.
It is for that reason that I am not entirely comfortable with Simon Brodkin’s stunt to hand Theresa May a P45 document during the middle of her speech. People have told me that protest is part of the democratic process, and I would completely agree. However, there are proper and appropriate ways to protest that don’t interfere with the public’s right to be informed. Continue reading “Is it ok to interrupt a speech?”