Opinion / Masterclasses, Coaching and Teaching

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 – Where to Start?

So there I was, giving a cheery masterclass in public speaking and presenting to international officials from different parts of the wide UN family. And I made an early fateful mistake. I asked them: “You’re asked to prepare a speech for your boss – where do you start?” A hand shot […]

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Philosophy: Trolley Problem Torture

Anyway, I have signed up for a one-year MA in Philosophy by Research at the University of Buckingham, a programme led by Professor Sir Roger Scruton. This seems like a good way (if not the only way) these days to learn something intelligent in a top-end academic environment while avoiding […]

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Giving a Speech: Who’s Next?

My latest public speaking victim reports from the battlefield: Excellent feed-back from various (incl very critical) people. The speech set the right tone for the conference. The organisers had kindly agreed to let me go last – which made a big difference. Ah! Here the task for Mr X was to […]

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Back to Toastmasters

You recall my exciting controversial Toastmasters adventures earlier this year? Here and then here. A member of a Vienna Toastmasters club who joined one of my ‘live’ masterclasses on Public Speaking kindly invited me to address her club when I was next in town. I warned her that I had […]

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Writing a Record of Conversation

One of the darker diplomatic and wider professional arts is writing a record of a conversation. There’s a lot going on here: what to summarise – the words, the context, the ‘tone’, the silences? how in principle to summarise it – should the material be presented in the order it was spoken, […]

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Toastmasters Evaluated

Over on Quora in the broad Public Speaking area you can’t move without someone extolling Toastmasters. Have nerves? Lack confidence? Join Toastmasters! Need to practise your oratory away from a mirror? Join Toastmasters! What is this phenomenon? The fons et origo: Do you want to become a confident public speaker […]

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Poland v EU (Continued)

Poland continues to Stand Alone (or not, as the case may be) in its arguments with Brussels over different Polish rule of law issues. Here is a handy summary by Aleks Szczerbiak on what’s going on and what it means for Polish politics: At the end of December, in a […]

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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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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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