24 October 2014

Time for a bigger slit on Poppy collection boxes - yet again - to mark the anniversary of WW1


It is now nearly 5 years since I first notified the British Legion about how they could collect even more cash than usual - and yet more in this centenary year of the outbreak of WW1 - but they have still failed to take any notice of my sound advice. See here

If you agree, how about mentioning it to them, if only because they appear to be a bit hard of hearing?

22 October 2014

NEW BOOK: dreaming of selling a million!

Whenever I've written a book, I always dream of it selling by the million. In fact, I doubt whether anyone would ever write a book at all if they knew how few people would ever actually read it.

In this respect, I count myself as very lucky indeed, as Lend Me Your Ears: all you need to know about making speeches and presentations has become an 'international bestseller'. My earlier Our Masters' Voices: the language and body language of Politics didn't do too badly either and is still available 30 years later. My more academic books also got noticed by appropriate audiences in sociology, psychology and linguistics

But in none of these cases had the internet developed anywhere near to where it is today - with e-books, Kindle and yes, hard copies too!

This blog has, according to Ayd Instone, publisher of my latest book, so far been made up of slightly fewer words than Tolstoy's War and Peace and slightly more than Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

But after editing it down to a similar length to that of Lend Me Your Ears it becomes a more manageable length and gives readers the advantage of not having to gaze at a screen for hours on end.

Needless to say, I'm still dreaming of selling a million, hoping that you loyal blog readers will help to pave the way and that some of you will write 5 star reviews on Amazon...

17 October 2014

Promotion or demotion at Sky News?

I've blogged previously about Adam Boulton's tendency to 'um', 'er', pause and otherwise hesitate far more than is to be expected from the Politics Editor of a major 24 hr news channel - not to mention other blogs elsewhere on the hazards faced by speakers who rely too much on teleprompters.

But Adam's problem seems to have been solved more or less completely in recent days - by the simple device of turning him into a news reader rather than an interviewee who answers questions put to him by one of the more regular news readers - who rarely serve as news reporters out in the field.

Whether being transformed from being a news reader rather than a news reporter/editor is a promotion or demotion for Mr Boulton I do not know. 

Perhaps he or one of his colleagues at Sky News knows the answer and will let us know in due course whether it's a temporary measure or it's been done to prevent viewers from having to suffer from listening to the continuous 'umming' and 'erring' of the political editor.

24 September 2014

Mr Miliband's style of delivery gets into the headlines

I've blogged before about politicians - including President Obama and Ed Miliband -  using teleprompters, reading from scripts, speaking without scripts, pretending not to have a script, modelling management guru walkabouts, etc.

In his leader's speech yesterday, Mr Miliband excelled himself by forgetting some crucial lines from the script he had tried to remember. Although his last two efforts to memorise scripts more or less verbatim were hailed by the media as great successes, the last thing you want is for journalists and their editors to concentrate on how you said something rather than what you actually said (or didn't say).

And here lies one of the hazards of 24 hour news and the reporting of speeches before they are actually spoken. If Mr Miliband had not circulated the text of his supposedly scriptless text-free speech, he might have got away with it. But he did not and has had to spend the day reading reports of what he had not said, appearing in broadcast news interviews trying to explain his omissions away, etc.

If I were asked, my advice would be to say that there's little to be gained from trying to memorise long speeches - unless you happen to be David Cameron performing in a 10 minute beauty parade for the Tory party leadership...

26 August 2014

What if 'energised' Salmond wins???

The Independent newspaper described Alex Salmond's performance in last night's leader's debate as 'energised' - which is surely bad news for Alistair Darling and the Labour Party.

One of the big questions about the debate to me is why did David Cameron and the Tories allow an experienced former Labour cabinet minister lead the Better Together campaign - when the loss of Scotland, legally complicated though it would be, would mean that Labour might never again form the government of the residual UK. In fact, why are the Conseratives opposing Salmond & Co. at all, I wonder?

Then there's the question of what the long term point of a Scottish National party be if they actually win the referendum on independence?

I'm not too keen on the idea of an independent Scotland, in spite of my Scottish ancestry, but I do wish someone would answer some of these rather obvious questions.

P.S. I've just noticed that they both seem to be speaking at the same time in this picture. Is violating the most basic conversational rule of all - one speaker at a time - a sure way to impress your audience???

21 July 2014

How to mark the 10th Anniversary of Lend Me Your Ears?

Next month marks the 10th anniversary of this book of mine.

Suggestions on how best to mark it - e.g. with another book based on this blog and/or what - will be very welcome.

10 July 2014

Attendance allowance: a Blair/Brown-Lab-Lib-Con victory?

Whether you voted Labour (and I didn't), Conservative (and I didn't) or Liberal Democrat, Labour's Attendance Allowance was a brilliant move that the Con/Lib Dem coalition has, in their own interests, preserved. The big question now is: which of them plans to boast the most about  it at the next election???