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No sex, No politics, No religion

Fellow public speakers,

I was at the Glasgow Speakers’ Club last night.

As usual it was rare fun.

I even managed to win the topics trophy for the evening – an even rarer treat!

The club is the oldest surviving in the UK and the first member of the Association of Speakers’ Clubs (ASC) – it is 80 years old this year.

It is also a fine place of learning: talent abounds. Glasgow is a city of speakers, debaters, and rich political ferment.

Like all clubs it has its rules and one of the most important is that there is no talk of politics, sex or religion.

The focus is on craft skills and creating an environment supportive of that.

But one of the key parts of speaking is a command of English language and the use of rhetorical tools and figures of speech. These elements are, at best, glossed over within the speaking club community.

And yet, even a basic knowledge of these elements can help to transform an ordinary speech.

No sex, No politics, No religion.

Non, Non, Non.

Education, Education, and Education.

Three examples of the same thing: anaphora, the use of a repeated word or phrase at the beginning of a series of clauses.

The great thing is, there are hundreds of figures of speech. Some are commonly known like metaphors, similes, and alliteration. Others like anaphora are known far less so but the idea of repetition is easily understood.

Making a speech should be fun.

Learning a new figure of speech every day is not that onerous a task.

But when you begin to play with these figures of speech something great begins to happen – a fresher, more professional sounding future speech emerges.

All you have to do is explore what rhetoric and the figures of speech have to offer you.

And it is a lot more than No sex, No politics, and No religion.

Every great speaker (or their speechwriter) understood rhetoric: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Rev Martin Luther King Jr and Barack Obama to name but a limited few.

It is time you understood it too.

And if you want to know more simply get in touch with me.

Have a great week ahead folks,







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Now is the time to Speak from the Heart

Today, more so than ever before, men and women around the world are speaking up.

Words have become their defence.

For some, it is all they have.

Every day these people experience gross injustice, horrible insults, media manipulation and political decision making by those with vested interests. And sadly, the truth is the first casualty of this manipulation.

Brexit comes readily to mind: ‘An extra £350M per week to the NHS’.

As does the notion of Mexicans paying for an American built wall.

Or that Nicola Sturgeon is ‘The most dangerous woman in Britain’.

Manipulation to win folks over is as old as original sin.

Once you have sold folks the biggest lie you can sell them anything there after; they’ll even defend your insanity and argue for you against those pointing out legitimate holes in your arguments.

Win at all costs: It is a mantra more prevalent than it has ever been.

And this is where the connection with public speaking comes in: To be a capable speaker, one who is able to truly inspire, requires heart, but it also requires sound knowledge of sophistry and rhetoric and how these devices are used by arch manipulators to win their arguments. It is only then that one can see through the mists of deception and be able to counter falsehoods and manipulation with confidence.

And so, if you want to have a fighting chance in this modern, manipulative world learn to stand up and speak from the heart: a well spoken truth shines light on lies, deceit and manipulation.

Learning to Speak from the Heart will be the best decision you ever make.

It will be the best decision for the rest of us too.

So dear folks, keep standing up and speaking up; but most of all keep Speaking from the Heart.

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