Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™

I am pleased and excited to announce Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™, which I have co-created with Florian Mueck.

Florian and I have a passion for good public speaking. Yet we know that for many people, the mere thought of it can get their hearts pounding. So we set out to create a game that would help players improve their public speaking skills and have fun in the process. The result is Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™.

Rhetoric board

We have designed RHETORIC to be a simple, engaging and educational board game for four to eight people. Players step onto the stage and embark on a rhetorical journey during which they encounter different speech tasks.

In each round, players roll the die and move their figures to the corresponding space where a one-minute speaking task awaits them.

The four speaking tasks

Topic – Players draw a card with a single word on it. They must speak about the topic.

Challenge – Players draw a card that has a challenging question or instruction. Challenges will stretch your comfort zone!

Question – Any player can ask the speaker a spontaneous question on any topic.

Reflection – Players must share an insight or anecdote about public speaking with their fellow players. For example, they could share a personal public speaking experience, or suggest a presentation tip, or talk about a speaker whom they admire and why.

You can play the game competitively or non-competitively. If the former, each player receives a rating sheet. Throughout the game, everyone rates the speeches given by their fellow players. Players are thus competitors and judges at the same time.

Here’s the trailer for the game.

The first, limited edition of RHETORIC will be available to the public in the fall of 2012. For updates and more information, please visit the RHETORIC website.

When we pretested the game, Florian and I were overwhelmed with the positive response. We know that RHETORIC will help you improve your public speaking skills and that you will have a lot of fun in the process.
Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™. Learning, laughter and applause are guaranteed!


This first edition of RHETORIC is now sold out. The second edition of the board game is available, as is the app for RHETORIC which will allow you to play the game in different languages. For more details, check out this post.

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    1. Thanks, Akash. It has been a lot of work to get it to this stage, and the game has evolved significantly, but we have had a lot of fun bringing it together. And I know that I am biased, but it really is good fun to play!

  1. This is a wonderful tool! I have already incorporated your concept in my lesson plan. Additionally, I am coaching a group of students who are required to present their research material for a conference at UC Berkeley. They must also engage in a 5-minute Q & A session in order to defend their research. Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. Looks terrific – congratulations on a big and worthwhile job. I’ll try it out with my students, but John, you need to correct the typo in the post title (!)

    1. Thank you very much, Claire! You know, sometimes you can proofread until the cows come home and something like that still slips through! Typo corrected.

  3. John, I’m intrigued by this project! I would love to know more about the game, in particular how it might be used in a class or workshop setting for undergraduates. I am working on some ideas on how to incorporate more leadership and personal development topics into the curricula of the Bachelor programs at Frankfurt School and this looks like a pretty good fit. Please keep me posted.

    1. Thanks, Matthias. When we pretested the game, it took about 1:45 to play with six people. Now, that was in a social setting with drinks after a nice dinner. The atmosphere was very relaxed and we played competitively, which adds a bit of time. However, the time and game play could be adjusted for a classroom exercise. We are hopeful that RHETORIC will find a home in schools and businesses as well as in the home. Watch for developments on our Facebook page.

  4. Congratulations! This is great. What an awesome way to engage a group of trainers, employees, speakers, students, etc.

  5. Congratulations John. Looking forward to everyone here in Canada playing it. Maybe I can be your sales rep. over here???

  6. Hi John,
    That sounds exciting. What a great idea to get people to get up and speak. I am looking forward to playing a round with you. How about before or after one of the upcoming conferences?
    Best wishes,

  7. I am very excited to try this game. What is the age range for Rhetoric. I could definitely see even younger enjoying this game. Even in kindergarten children give little mini speeches with 3 or 4 sentences. Certainly children from 6-12yrs old would benefit from this game. Especially if some the topics were a little silly. So when I get the adult version, I’ll be waiting for the 2nd edition to be a kids version:)
    Well done guys!

    1. Thanks very much, Cathy. Based on the structure of the game and the questions on the cards, we estimated the ideal age range for the game as 14 or over. However, we very much believe that the game could be adapted for a younger audience and are working on that as well.
      Thank you for the support!

  8. I am so excited for this game! I am a speech/debate coach…and a public speaking teacher…this game might become a staple in my classroom, as well as at my home. When will it be available?

    1. Thank you, Bethany. We appreciate the support. We are currently in production and hope to have our first limited run by the end of next month. There is a waiting list for those interested on our Facebook page and I see that you have signed up. Thanks again for the support!

  9. Hi John … the game sounds incredible! I’m a personal branding coach, and public speaking is always a skill needed in communicating your unique promise of value!
    Is there a way I can order it online? I doubt you guys ship to Lebanon, but I’m hoping you do ship to France!

  10. John I am intrigued by your game, can I order one with you?
    Robert Wolfe
    Storytelling coach

    1. Hi Robert. Many thanks for the message. Yes, you can order a game from me. I will contact you by email in the next day or two with the details.

    1. Hi Ewa. The first edition of the game sold out. We are in the process of updating it for the second edition. We hope that it will be available in the fall. When it is, you can certainly get a copy. We will post all of the details about how to order the game on http://www.rhetoricgame.com.

      Many thanks for your interest.

  11. Hello, I am a devoted Toastmaster and I also study Allgemeine Rhetorik in Germany.
    Could you please ship me the game to Czech Republic, heart of Europe?

  12. just playing it now, I like it.
    I did notice that the game isnt being maintained though last update 3-4 years ago

    1. Hi Ram,

      Glad you are enjoying the game. In fact, we regularly do all necessary tech updates. However, we have not added a new theme or language in a while. We are in discussions with a few people to bring in a few new languages. Is there any language or theme that you would like to see?

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International