Thoughts on the Queen’s speech 2010

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I thought it would be a bit of fun to take a look at the Queen’s speech from 2010 (below) and provide an evaluation, Toastmaster’s style, on what she did well and what she could do better. After all, it’s not like she gets a lot of practice at this public speaking malarkey is it?!

I thought it would be a bit of fun to take a look at the Queen’s speech from 2010 and provide an evaluation, Toastmaster’s style, on what she did well and what she could do better. After all, it’s not like she gets a lot of practice at this public speaking malarkey is it?!

In all seriousness however, to begin with I actually found it really difficult to find an positives in the way that the Queen delivered the speech. Her arms were cut out of view, removing any ability to gesticulate or add life to the speech with movement. Even news reporters have their arms visible in modern television and so this instantly not only reduces the amount of life that can be brought to the presentation but also makes it look very dated too!

Secondly, old Queenie forgot to smile. Smiling when speaking instantly makes your voice sound more positive and full of expression. If you’ve never tried this before, try it next time you make a phone call and see what a difference it makes! I’d much rather listen to a cheery, sing-song voice on Christmas day than a monotone that is perhaps quite uninspiring.

I then began to look at the language used by the Queen in her speech and it was at this point that I realised why there were no fancy arm movements, variation in tone, volume or even a smile from the Queen during her speech.

The language used was very plain and easy to comprehend. Why? Because this speech needs to be understood and engaging to all members of a very diverse nation. Whether the audience is black, white, christian, muslim, deaf, blind, able-bodied, from the North or the South, we all need to feel included in the Queen’s speech.

Over elaborating may well eclude one or all of these potential audiences.

I then also began to think about what these audiences expect from the Queen. I personally don’t want the sovereign to be akin to a gameshow host prancing all over the place during her annual speech (although with all due respect I doubt she could). If the Queen were to do this I’d probably be concentrating more on her cheesey grin, wild movements and bad gags to really take in the message she was trying to get across.

So what can we expect from the future? More of the same I would expect as the Queen and her PR team attempt to overcome the annual challenge of writing and presenting a speech that is applicable to millions across the country and the globe. However, keep an eye out for the first speech that William or Harry makes as King of the country. I expect it to have a much more modern and personal feel to it with a more forward-looking aspect too. Why? Because I truly believe that this is what we as a nation feel that whoever does become King will bring to the role and if we desire this as an audience from our speaker, we’ll be disappointed if it is not delivered!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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