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WATCH: Vital Speeches visits the world's first Rhetorium, meets a horse named Rufus

On my visit to speak at the Rhetor Logograf 2011 conference in Copenhagen earlier this month, Rhetor partners Peter Koch Palshøj and Simon Lund-Jensen gave me a tour of what they only half-laughingly call the "Rhetorium," a small room in their ancient headquarters building where they turn clumsy clients into sturdy speakers.

One of the ways they condition their clients is by teaching them about "Rufus," a horse that represents one end of the scale of abstraction. You see, before writing, there were no horses, only Rufus ... well, I'd better let Peter and Simon explain.