Opinion / Writing and Language

Diplomacy, Stupidity, Accuracy

Here I am at Majalla magazine, interviewed by top Arabic journalist Nadia Turki. Thus: What skills do diplomats need to be effective and avoid making embarrassing mistakes? A subtle question. Diplomacy hates taking risks! The ideas of ‘stability’ and ‘predictability’ are right at the heart of the way countries deal with […]

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How to Give an Amazing Speech

You want to give the speech that EVERYONE talks about after the conference, to the point that you can’t eat over dinner because everyone is asking you about it? But … you have nervous colleagues who tell you not to take any risks? Try letting go. Try being amazing: As Luke […]

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Loyalty: Who Whom?

Back sun-tann’d from Ibiza and armed with a new ability to Dab, I’ve been doing my new piece for DIPLOMAT. It looks at the idea of Civilisations. I tripped over this piece about Chinese values in general and as they apply to diplomacy: The cultural values of a country influence […]

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Public Speaking: How Fast to Speak?

One of the many best things about working with Orai is that you have to think HARD about what’s going on in public speaking and in just speaking. What’s there? Can it be measured? How to assess the measurements? What conclusions to draw therefrom? One easy thing to measure is […]

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Orai + Crawford

My guilty secret is out, thanks to the Guardian: “When we started, we didn’t know about linguistics and speech science. So we spent six or seven months behind closed doors just reading about this,” Gupta says. The AI algorithm has been modelled on data collected from 3,000 publicly available speeches, […]

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That Trump Speech in Poland

What was President Trump’s speech in Poland really saying? Views differ. Even though anyone listening to the speech might think that Trump pushed back hard against Putin in the speech, it was a stunning victory for Putin: The initial reaction to the speech was far more positive than to his previous attempt […]

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President Trump in Poland

On 6 July President Trump gave a hefty speech in Warsaw. Here’s the official text. And here is a video of him delivering it. How was it as a speech? First, the speech is some 3700 words long, delivered in 36 minutes. Just over 100 words per minute. Quite a […]

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Faux-Diplomacy (2)

My post below on the proliferation of useless ‘diplomacies’ prompts Shaun Riordan into further action: … Simply asking what diplomats do, and then assigning the title of diplomat to anyone else doing it (or describing as “diplomacy” anything where people are doing diplomat-like things) won’t wash. Many people gather information, […]

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Grenfell Tower – What Caused What?

The Grenfell Tower fire was a horrendous … what exactly? Accident? An ‘accident waiting to happen’? A ‘result of (gross) negligence’? A ‘consequence of austerity’? A ‘failure of capitalism’? The state doesn’t CARE: The stories are unbearable: the people screaming at the windows, the parents throwing their children from several floors […]

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Being Honest With Your Boss

A really difficult and sensitive issue in ‘management’ and ‘leadership’: how do junior colleagues tell senior colleagues that they’re (perhaps) not getting it right? One of my own most powerful life lessons on this came back in the early 1980s when I was a mere Second Secretary at the British […]

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