Opinion

Practise a Speech? Enter Orai

You have a major speech or presentation to give. Rehearse it carefully! Practise! You have to make a good impression on the day! Wait … Rehearse? Practise? In 2010 I gave a TEDx presentation in Krakow on the Physics of Diplomacy. Afterwards someone asked me how often I rehearsed such […]

Continue Reading

Grenfell Towers? Meet Venezuela

Suitably anonymous @_BossGoose opines on Twitter re my previous posting on causation, responsibility and the Grenfell Towers catastrophe: Boss Goose‏ Is your suggested course of action basically “some of us will live through (nearly) any disaster, so, fuck it, let the market decide”? S/he goes further: Boss Goose‏ This may be […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Who Decides who Decides?

My new piece at DIPLOMAT: Down the ages humans have invented only two ways of running things: Do what I say, or else! The consent of the governed In the first case – the dominant model for most of human history – the ruler’s authority and legitimacy come from the […]

Continue Reading

Public Speaking – Using Contrast

Remember my piece on the use of Contrast in public speaking? Here is a long and interesting analysis by Rashid N. Kapadia of different sorts of contrast in a speech, including something that sounds like a drug for a painful ailment but is in fact a Greek figure of speech, antimetabole. […]

Continue Reading

ZOPA and Win-Win Negotiation

Rummage around in the acronym bran-tub of negotiation theory and you might well pull out ZOPA: the Zone of Possible Agreement. See a visualisation of that idea here. The idea of ZOPA is simple. Alex wants to buy a car. Blex has one to sell: Alex is ready to pay […]

Continue Reading

Speeches for Leaders

This has arrived from central Europe: Back in February you held a lecture which I attended and from where I departed with a signed copy of your book. Above your signature it said “Anyone can hold a good speech, if they read this book”. Two weeks later I finished the […]

Continue Reading

Quotations in Speeches

Remember my advice on using quotations in speeches? Basically, don’t. It’s too often either cliché ‘filler’ or an attempt to nab some glory from a far more distinguished person in the hope that a little of of sticks to the speaker. Over at Joyful Public Speaking Richard Garber has things […]

Continue Reading

Interviews: Start Strong – or Die

A while back I took part in a panel testing senior people preparing for interviews for top EU diplomatic jobs. What was striking if not astonishing was that it was obvious within a few seconds whether the person was going to be a strong candidate or not. There was something about […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries