The Rhetoric of Donald Trump on Twitter

I think it is safe to say that if you have done something that evokes an angry tweet from Donald Trump you’re winning at life. His tweets are famous for their manner, their meaning and their outright chutzpah!

Some people laugh at his tweets, others praise him for his frankness, and some are outright horrified by what he has to say. Whatever your views are, it is impossible to deny that he is a colossal figure and what he says matters.

But politics aside, the rhetoric behind his tweets are fascinating. Before I go on, I will quickly mention that it is easy to think that rhetoric is only found in grandiloquent speeches delivered by eloquent speakers and that it isn’t used in the realm of twitter. But that would be wrong. On the contrary, rhetoric is used everywhere, and by everyone – and that certainly includes Donald Trump on twitter. Continue reading “The Rhetoric of Donald Trump on Twitter”

Rhetoric and the confusio linguarum

I recently gave a TEDx Talk all about rhetoric at the University of Cambridge and a member of the audience approached me with a very interesting question. He said, ‘I am Turkish. Are all of these rhetorical devices you talk about applicable in Turkish as they are in English?’.

Whilst I must admit that I am not too well versed in the intricacies of the Turkish language, I told him that I am sure that most of the rhetorical devices I spoke of in my speech are transferable – for example, the rule of three (tricolon) tends to be universally applicable across most languages. Continue reading “Rhetoric and the confusio linguarum”

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…

Winning the Toastmaster District 71 Humorous Speech Contest

I was recently crowned the District 71 Champion for the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. District 71 is made up of Scotland, Ireland and the majority of England and Wales.

The objective of the competition is simple: deliver a 5-7 minute humorous speech. Be funny. Make people laugh. Try not to embarrass yourself too much…. Sounds easy, right? Continue reading “Winning the Toastmaster District 71 Humorous Speech Contest”

A write up of what went down at the ESN conference in Leuven

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”