Opinion / Writing and Language

Tense Speeches and Presentations

One of the great clichés of public speaking and presenting: tell a story! That’s a good idea. Only you know the story. You don’t need to write it down. You just talk! But how exactly to express the story on the day? First. Strip the story down to the absolute […]

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How to Prepare and Practise a Speech (2)

Continuing our preparation of an important speech/presentation on Migrants and Borders. You’ve already spent a slice of your 600 minutes – probably at least an hour – working out what’s going on for this speech and how in broad terms you tackle it. Now – what to say? Let’s start […]

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How to Prepare and Practise a Speech (1)

I am busy opining at Quora these days: If a girl hits my ass, what does it mean? She has a really bad attitude towards donkeys, so don’t marry her. What is the purpose for studying etymology? To learn all about insects is the usual reason. What is Microsoft PowerPoint’s main purpose? […]

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Daphne Caruana Galizia

Back in 2010 I had some exciting adventures in Malta. That put me for a while in e-touch with the amusing indomitable Daphne Caruana Galizia – a journalist/writer who walloped all and any nonsense she found in Malta’s intricate goings-on. And she found plenty to wallop. Indeed we met in […]

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Crawford on Quora

I’ve somehow got sucked into Quora. And in trying to explain it by pasting examples the format here is off #sigh. Quora is a sort of Twittery space for asking and answering questions. You have followers and follow people. Your replies can be upvoted or downvoted and so you create a […]

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President Trump at UNGA (2)

So how was President Trump’s UNGA speech for you? Opinions are broadly divided: Hostile! Dangerous! Dishonest! Much to like! Let’s look at some of the language itself. In his final address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama used the word nations some 20 times: we can rally our nations to […]

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President Trump at UNGA (1)

President Trump has given his first UNGA speech. Transcript here. Watch him in full here. These annual UNGA speeches are strange affairs. Typically bland, dull, formulaic, packed with self-important platitudes. No-one cares. That’s why when a leader says or does something drastically not like that, it gets noticed. The late […]

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What Food is Your Speech?

I seem to have been sucked in to answering questions on Quora. Many about public speaking in all its forms. But other stuff too. Oddly addictive. I’ve been asked by someone to help with a couple of significant speeches. Apart from the squalid business of the fee *coughs* there is the […]

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The UN’s SDGs – Control, not Liberation?

Here is my new piece for Diplomatic Courier in Washington. On The Language of the Sustainable Development Goals. It turned out to be a bit of a slog to find the original SGD texts, but here they are in the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on 25 September 2015: Right […]

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Civilisations indeed Clashing?

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT looks at some rather, er, basic issues. Namely the idea of civilisation(s). As raised by President Trump in his speech in Warsaw: President Trump’s speech helpfully gave a long list of Western values and practices: The world has never known anything like our community of […]

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