Opinion / Public Speaking and Speechwriting

How to Start a Speech (Continued)

I’ve previously given you the extensive benefit of my free advice on How to Start a Speech (or Presentation). The authorities agree. You start STRONGLY. One good idea is to treat the opening formalities, greetings and expressions of gratitude as not part of the speech. Depending on the occasion they […]

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Writing in English

One of the absolutely hardest things to do is write flawlessly and well in another language. It’s one thing to speak a foreign language to an astonishing level of accuracy and accent, to the point that even native speakers might think you’re one of them. It’s quite another to write […]

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Oscars Fiasco? Details!

NOTE My first version of this post had an irrelevant and (it turns out!) wrong explanation of a protocol calamity perpetrated by the British Embassy in Warsaw during The Queen’s State Visit. That passage now removed! + + + UPDATE + + + More gory details are emerging. Never underestimate […]

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Teleprompters? No thanks!

Here is an interesting piece by Nana Ariel at Aeon about the history and ‘meaning’ of teleprompters: Jess Oppenheimer, the producer of the TV show I Love Lucy (1951-57), filed the patent for a mirror extension that reflected the printed text on a transparent board in front of the camera, […]

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President Trump’s Inaugural Speech

Here’s a brief take on President Trump’s inaugural speech that I wrote for The Ambassador Partnership’s Insight series: The inaugural address of a new US President typically answers two questions: What and How. First, to set down unambiguous policy markers: to spell out in broad but more or less specific […]

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Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech

Here is the official text of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s well received speech to senior Republicans in Philadelphia. And, if you want to see how she delivered it, here she is: This speech has had unusual profile. Mrs May is the first foreign leader to meet President Trump at […]

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(Not) Using Quotations in Speeches

My book Speeches for Leaders quoted from The Dullard’s Guide to International and Diplomatic Speechwriting on starting a speech with platitudes about the history of bilateral relations: It doesn’t matter much which examples the speechwriter pulls out from the bran tub of history for this purpose. A couple of solid, obvious, and […]

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What a Mug! Speeches for Leaders

Just to say that THIS was a v welcome and unexpected Christmas gift: You can get such clever customised mugs from the Literary Gift Company (sometimes). Plus of course the real thing is here: Stock up now for next Christmas. Or give yourself a New Year vital public speaking boost.

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Public Speaking: Surprise!

A reader reasonably asks about this: How to give a great speech/presentation, or at least a damn good one? That usually means thinking hard about what this audience needs and wants and expects – and then doing something else. The underlying idea here is the central importance of Surprise in […]

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So, Farewell Then Fidel Castro

While basking on the sunny South Carolina beaches I took time out to write a piece for National Interest on the death of Fidel Castro and how different world leaders drafted their respective statements: The Castro case is unusually tricky. There’s no denying that he was a person of international […]

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