At the heart of all that I do with language lies my study of rhetoric: the art of persuasion. 

Rhetoric is the study of how language works on the mind.  Within its compass comes poetry, philosophy and psychology - it is the perfect study for any barrister, writer, or performer. 

There are  five canons of rhetoric:

  1. Invention - developing arguments and ideas
  2. Disposition - ordering your thoughts in the best way
  3. Memory - remembering what is to be said but also building up your stock of knowledge, facts, stories, sayings you can deploy in argument
  4. Style - expressing yourself powerfully and memorably
  5. Utterance - how to speak so that people will listen and understand.

Rhetoric is not, as some think, confined to oratory - to public speaking.  It applies wherever language is deployed whether in writing or in speaking, whether in the law courts or in conversation.  I cannot recommend its study enough: it is fascinating, it is entertaining, and it has been the making of me.

I have been involved in rhetoric for over 20 years.

As a student debater, (you can picture how cool I was in my youth), I represented Cambridge University and then the Middle Temple at numerous debating competitions including the World Universities Debating Championships in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000. I won, “Best Individual Speaker” at both the Cambridge and Oxford inter-varsity debating competitions.

I have twice been the World Public Speaking Champion (Cork, Ireland in 1996 and Sydney, Australia in 2000) and came second once (Stellenbosch, South Africa in 1997).

At Bar School I was awarded the Richard DuCann Memorial Prize for Excellence in Advocacy in 2000.  I went on to become a trial advocate specialising in Intellectual Property Rights and related areas. I am a member of one of the UK’s leading Intellectual Property Chambers.  In the course of my work I have represented clients in forums as varied as the High Court and Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice and General Court of the European Union, and the European Patent Office and UK Intellectual Property Office.  The legal directories consistently cite my advocacy: ‘the persuasive Benet Brandreth, who is 'extremely good on his feet and wise beyond his years’,  ‘unparalleled skill on his feet in court’, and ‘a very bright and determined advocate who is very good at persuading judges.’

Rhetoric has also helped me become an accomplished performer. My award-winning one-man show The Brandreth Papers received five star reviews, was a Scotsman “Hot Show” and sold out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with reviews saying I was 'One of our nation's most accomplished raconteurs' and 'captivating… Brandreth holds the audience's complete attention.' In fact I'll in Edinburgh again in August 2018 with my new one-man show A Hero For Our Time. Do come and see it!

My experience in rhetoric and advocacy training is extensive. I have coached executives in public speaking, and given lectures and workshops to various institutions from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the Donmar Warehouse through to the  School of Life in London and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  If you would like to have me come and teach you what I know about rhetoric do get in touch.



Royal Shakespeare Company
The Arden Shakespeare
The Donmar Warehouse
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Warwick University
US Naval Academy
The School of Life
The Idler Academy


Here's a short taster video from Digital Theatre+ of me talking about rhetoric.


I am available to give public workshops and private coaching on rhetoric in the UK and the USA. I will tailor my knowledge and extensive experience of advocacy and rhetoric training to fit your needs.


Formidable persuasion

"He can turn a tribunal through both charisma and formidable intellectual persuasion."

- Chambers & Partners 2016

Exciting and inspiring

"Benet's rhetoric workshops exploring the foundation and fundamental principles of argument and persuasion have excited and inspired our actors."

- Lyn Darnley, Royal Shakespeare Company

Unique and accessible

"To the best of my knowledge, there is no one else with Benet's superb credentials and up-to-date experience working in the field. His unique and accessible approach makes the history and the practical art of rhetoric available to the classically trained actor and total newcomer."

- Josie Rourke, Director