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The speaker steps onto the platform and walks purposefully towards the podium. You know little about them but, like most audiences, you want them to succeed. After all, life's too brief to waste time sitting through a speech that's dull enough to sedate a herd of stampeding elephants, isn't it?

The room falls silent. The opening of a speech ...

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Rhetoric gets a bad press. Familiar phrases like 'empty rhetoric' and 'cutting through the rhetoric' create the impression that rhetoric is little more than a linguistic back alley – a dark and dangerous place teeming with dubious characters who spend their time perfecting ways of pulling the wool over our eyes. A destination honest folk, like you ...

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