Opinion / Writing and Language

SCOTUS: Who Decides Who Decides?

The furious noise over a new nomination by President Trump to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is all about a subject familiar to readers here. Namely the two basic issues in politics or indeed wider life: Who decides? Who decides who decides? If X is tasked to Decide, the person […]

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Philosophical Problems

A loyal reader posts a comment on my piece about my new philosophical obsessions: I expect Charles will have a fun time on his one-year MA. We here might also have fun from his pithy views on what he is taught. How about some non-philosophical problems. Issue 1. Philosophers have, […]

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Philosophy: Trolley Problem Torture

Anyway, I have signed up for a one-year MA in Philosophy by Research at the University of Buckingham, a programme led by Professor Sir Roger Scruton. This seems like a good way (if not the only way) these days to learn something intelligent in a top-end academic environment while avoiding […]

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Giving a Speech: Speaking Notes

I’ve been basking in my latest speechwriting glory that left the speaker mobbed on the evening and over breakfast the following morning: people pressing grateful congratulations, including people who praised her for ‘helping us think in a different way’. We talked yesterday – some of her points: I used to […]

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Faux Authenticity

Over on LinkedIn I stumble over Ten Unmistakable Habits of Utterly (sic) Authentic People. Complete with a picture of a toothsome massively haired young female for added clicks. Thus: To live authentically, you must own your actions and ensure that they align with your beliefs and needs. This can be a […]

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Amazing Public Speaking! Or Not

Say you’re Mary, a woman executive. Clever. Doing well. Rising fast. Ambitious. Self-confident. I can do this! You give a TEDx talk. Fame! It turns out to be like many (most?) TEDx talks. The faux-jokey ‘strong start’. The almost desperate attempt to be NEW and INTERESTING. Over-rehearsed. Contrived. Formulaic. Not-so-subliminally […]

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Starting a Speech by Being Funny

This is my most popular answer on Quora with over 20,000 views, replying to an interesting question: What is the funniest opening line that you have heard (or said) in a public speech? Hmm. Right Ho, Jeeves “Boys,” said Gussie, “I mean ladies and gentlemen and boys, I do not […]

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Back to Toastmasters

You recall my exciting controversial Toastmasters adventures earlier this year? Here and then here. A member of a Vienna Toastmasters club who joined one of my ‘live’ masterclasses on Public Speaking kindly invited me to address her club when I was next in town. I warned her that I had […]

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Writing a Record of Conversation

One of the darker diplomatic and wider professional arts is writing a record of a conversation. There’s a lot going on here: what to summarise – the words, the context, the ‘tone’, the silences? how in principle to summarise it – should the material be presented in the order it was spoken, […]

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Toastmasters Evaluated (2)

+++ Update +++ See Brian Jenner’s positive tale on Toastmasters and their rituals here. As you can see, my education is complete! * * * * * My piece on Toastmasters has attracted some modest interest, including in the Comments and via LinkedIn. Both Against and For. Against I came, […]

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