A selection of articles, interviews and speeches

Some short pieces on rhetoric by Martin Shovel

Series commissioned by the Guardian's 'Mind your language' blog in the run-up to the 2015 UK General Election

More Guardian pieces on language

This figure of speech isn’t dead – it’s just resting

By condemning the commonplace metaphor, the Plain English Campaign betrays a lack of sensitivity to the power of everyday language (20.12.2010)

Convince or persuade: is there really a difference?

There comes a time when you have to accept that some usages are dying or dead. We should focus our efforts on the living (11.02.2011)

From the Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Metaphor can make your eyes water

The revolution in our understanding of metaphor which started in the late 1970s was Copernican in scale. It overturned the idea that metaphorical language was aberrant and out of the ordinary and placed it firmly at the centre of our conceptual universe. But even today – some forty years later – the idea can be baffling when you encounter it for the first time.

The plain English truth about speechwriting and rhetoric

For centuries, speechwriters have been viewed with suspicion. We’re regarded as the used car salesmen of the English language usage world because we specialize in the darkest of linguistic arts: rhetoric, the art of persuasion.

Interviews and podcasts

Martin Kiernan talks to Claire Kilpatrick and Martin Shovel in this episode of the healthcare podcast, Infection Control Matters.

Mind your language!

Martin talks with Martin Kiernan and WHO consultant Claire Kilpatrick about how to gain better engagement on infection prevention by thinking about how words make people feel.

Oscar Santolalla interviews Martin Shovel for his 'Time to Shine in Public Speaking' podcast

Why communicators need to be visual thinkers

In this ‘Time To Shine’ podcast, host Oscar Santolalla invites Martin to talk about why he believes cartoon thinking is essential for communicators.

Virpi Oininen interviews Martin for Business Illustrator

Why you should think like a cartoonist

The best speeches and presentations are engaging and propositional – they make the audience sit up and take notice, the way a good cartoon does. Thinking like a cartoonist helps us to craft messages that attract people – and 'draw them in'.


Professor Dame Clare Gerada's 2011 speech to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)

The first speech we worked on with Dr Clare Gerada made headlines the following day. The controversial Health and Social Care Bill was in progress, and as the new Chair of the RCGP, Clare warned her colleagues that the proposed changes would turn GPs into "rationers" of health care – which threatened to break the bond of trust between doctors and patients.

Our website uses cookies to improve the user experience. For more information, please visit our Privacy & Legal page.