Opinion / General Interest

Consular Work

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT (now in groovy online format) looks at Consular work. Thus: The world is a big place, replete with unexpected problems. Tsunamis, earthquakes, avalanches, terrorist or criminal attacks, robberies, lost passports, aircraft/train/car accidents, sex-traps, arrests, illness, poisonous spiders, unrest at football matches, kidnappings, coups d’état, drug-smuggling, […]

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Diana’s Own Words

Channel 5 has shown a rather good programme about the life of Diana, Princess of Wales as revealed by her public speeches and interviews. Here is the link – it no doubt will fade away from the Internet soon. I was interviewed for this and for a companion programme on […]

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British Accents

Can you spot a fake British accent? Can you spot a real one? Once back in Belgrade I was talking to a woman married to a Dutch diplomat. I told her that her English was absolutely superb. She told me that she WAS English. The point was that as she […]

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Diplomatic Protocol Disasters

Time for a handy round-up of some excellent diplomatic protocol shockers. ‘Protocol’ at the highest level of state and in wider international contexts is interesting because it features all sorts of ‘solemnity’, dignity, respect, deference and other lofty virtues that have their place when the time is right. So when […]

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Diplomatic Visits

My piece at DIPLOMAT magazine on the trials and tribulations of organising diplomatic visits appears. Thus: Visits come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re largely symbolic– a senior gesture to show that the bilateral relationship is warm and alive, but not much more than that. Sometimes there’s serious diplomatic business […]

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Bad PowerPoint Rules

Peruse the Internet for advice on how to create a good PowerPoint presentation and you find different Rules. One famous Rule is the 10/20/30 rule promulgated by venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki: It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than […]

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Public Speaking: No Mirrors

Over on Quora I am startled by how many ostensibly sensible people suggest that a good way to get over ‘fear’ of public speaking is to ‘practise in front of a mirror’. No. NO. NO. Why not? Let’s count the three ways. First, it’s narcissistic. Pondering yourself orating from a […]

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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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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 […]

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