2,000,000 visits!

I have just returned to Geneva from a speaking engagement at the Toastmasters International Convention in Washington, D.C. (More about that in a future post.)

At some point during the eight-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean, this blog hit another milestone: 2,000,000 visits.


I am in awe of this number and so grateful for all of the support. The Manner of Speaking community has grown by leaps and bounds since I wrote the first post in May 2009. Thank you for being a part of it! 

Posted in Speeches from Film, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 239) – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014) American Poet, Author, Singer, Dancer and Actress

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) American Poet, Author, Singer, Dancer and Actress

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

— Maya Angelou

Posted in Quotes for Public Speakers | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Rhetorical Devices: Syllepsis

This post is part of a series on rhetoric and rhetorical devices. For other posts in the series, please click this link.


Origin: From the Greek σύλληψις (sillipsis) meaning to take together.

In plain English: When one word–often a verb–is used in two different ways, or applied to two different things.


  • It’s a clever play on words that surprises and thus catches our attention.


  • In its simplest form, syllepsis is a pun.
  • According to Mark Forsyth in The Elements of Eloquence, the advantages of syllepsis are also its failings. “Syllepsis makes the reader astonished and go back to check what the word was and how it’s working now. It’s terribly witty, but it’s terribly witty in a look-at-me-aren’t-I-witty sort of way. There’s a sense in which it’s a cheap thrill.”
  • It is closely related to zeugma.


“Vegetarianism is harmless enough, though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness.”

—  Sir Robert Hutchinson, Address to the British Medical Association, 1930


“It’s a small apartment. I’ve barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends.”

— Dorothy Parker


Make love, not war.”

— Anti-war slogan associated with the American counter-culture in the 1960s


“She blew my nose and then she blew my mind.”

— The Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Woman


“You held your breath and the door for me.”

— Alanis Morissette, Head Over Feet


“You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book and a grip on reality.”

— Margaret Atwood, Rules for WritersThe Guardian, 22 February 2010

Posted in Rhetoric | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Science of Storytelling

PG LogoOn 1 June 2016, I announced the launch of a new digital magazine for public speaking professionals: Presentation Guru. I am proud to be one of the co-founders of the site. This post is part of a series designed to share the great content on Presentation Guru with the Manner of Speaking community.


I have written extensively in this blog about the power of storytelling. See, for example, this post and this post. Stories are typically more memorable than data or facts because they trigger emotions and thus make their appeal to the right side of our brains.

As Dan Pink, the author of Drive and A Whole New Mind says,

Stories are easier to remember because stories are how we remember. When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.

You can learn more about the fascinating neuroscience behind stories in this Presentation Guru post by Doug Stevenson, an expert in corporate storytelling.

Posted in Presentation Guru, Stories and Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 238) – Alfred E. Neuman

Alfred E. Neuman (Fictitious Poster Boy for Mad Magazine)

Alfred E. Neuman (Fictitious Character and Poster Boy for Mad Magazine)

“Political speeches are like steer horns: a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.”

— Alfred  E. Neuman

Posted in Humour, Quotes for Public Speakers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments