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Dirty Rhetoric: Conversation with Peter Watts

Friday, January 08, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Peter WattsPeter Watts is a coach and trainer who helps presenters around the world to find their voice on the stage. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post and blogs about all things to do with public speaking at The Presenters’ Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @speak2all

In this conversation, Peter talks about Dirty Rhetoric, a deck of cards that help people communicate their ideas better. Peter created this deck in collaboration with Gavin McMahon.

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about Dirty Rhetoric, and how did you and Gavin grow this idea?

Peter: If you're producing a presentation or crafting a keynote, what to do when it comes to the words on the slide? Sure you can put in another boring bullet point, but wouldn't a magical turn of phrase be better? Something that becomes "quote-worthy" among your audience? For that, PowerPoint won't help you, but rhetoric will. Dirty Rhetoric, that is.

Dirty Rhetoric Cards

Dirty Rhetoric is a deck of 53 cards that create a complete communications toolkit. It's based on classical rhetoric. These rhetorical techniques are used every day by professional speech-writers. Every one of them has been tried and tested by communicators ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Steve Jobs. The difference is that while classical rhetoric is classically difficult to understand, we've taken those skills and made them quick and dirty -- hence the name -- Dirty Rhetoric!

In the age of the Internet, the amount of information and communications doubles every eighteen months. As a communicator, if you don’t double your skills every 18 months then you won't be heard. Double the size means to double the noise, so you need to double your game.

Communicators who don't do this, are simply drowned out in the roar, and that's the challenge that Gavin and I set out to meet when we created Dirty Rhetoric.

Whether you are speechwriting, presenting, direct marketing, creating digital content, or even essay-writing, Dirty Rhetoric puts all the necessary verbal skills directly in front of you and in a format that's as easy to follow as a recipe card!

Effective communication is all about how you get your own message out while also observing and learning from the techniques that other people are using to propel their own communications. As the American writer Lawrence Clark Powell put it, "Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow". Those are the three goals that Dirty Rhetoric hits for its users.

Geetesh: How can someone get the Dirty Rhetoric cards now?

Peter: We're incredibly keen to expose the cards to as wide an audience as possible, so we've chosen to launch them through KickStarter. You can also find us at www.dirtyrhetoric.com. We have a range of opening offers from simple decks of the cards through to multi-packs and t-shirts and posters. We hope to attract as diverse an audience as possible, and also to have the chance to communicate with that audience moving forward.

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