Category Archives: Speech analysis

The Queen’s unheard nuclear war speech

After my last post about the ‘unheard moon landing speech’, one of today’s biggest news stories has been about the release of another unheard speech – prepared for the Queen to read should nuclear war have broken out in 1983.

Key parts of the speech (I haven’t yet been able to confirm if this is the full transcript), which was written as part of a preparatory war gaming exercise by the UK forces, are at the end of this article.

Should we have ever found ourselves on the brink of war, I’m sure this speech would have gone down in history.

–       The Queen quickly positions herself as similar to the terrified audience at home, highlighting her fears for her own son in the conflict

–       She also reminds the listener of the great spirit shown by the UK during both previous World Wars, and urges that it is reignited

–       The Queen then finishes with one clear call to action that the nation should strive to achieve – to remain united and resolute. This leaves the audience with a positive, passionate feeling and next step for success!

The Queen’s unheard nuclear war speech from 1983:

“Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds.

“I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s [George VI’s] inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939 [at the start of the World War II].”

“Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.”

“But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all, the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our strength.”

“My husband and I share with families up and down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who have left our side to serve their country.”

“My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.”

“It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown.”

“If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country’s will to survive cannot be broken.”

The Alternative Moon Landing Speech

Moon landing

Here’s something a little different – the most famous speech that was never delivered. Below is the script for an alternative speech to the one given by Nixon during the first Moon landing in 1969. This would have been the speech we all would have heard had the Moon landing gone awry.

The speech itself, is inspirational, chilling and has a focus on the journey of man. It looks to bind its audience together by uniting them as the human race; a race that has today experienced a loss, but a loss for the greater good.

Overall, it’s quite a thought provoking piece – how many other speeches have been prepared throughout history and have gone unheard – a shame!

The following speech was prepared by Nixon’s speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Opening a speech: Step-by-step

This is it, the moment you’ve spent weeks writing, rehearsing and refining your speech for.

The audience falls silent, every pair of eyes in the room turn expectantly to you.


Now what?

Opening a speech isn’t rocket science, but it is similar to a rocket launch in that if don’t get it right, the rest of your speech won’t get off of the ground.

So what should the perfect opening of a speech include?

– 3 seconds to speech launch:

Take a deep breath and look around the whole of the room

Why do this?

Apart from keeping us alive (a vital part of speech giving), getting more oxygen into our body produces a physiological response. It encourages the brain to produce neurohormones, which negate the stress-causing hormones that we’re all inclined to produce when under pressure.

Looking around the room makes your audience instantly aware that you are talking to all of them. It also helps to promote an image of confidence. If you also happen to make eye contact with a few friendly faces and get some smiles too, you’ll instantly feel a lot better about the speech that you are about to give.

– 1 seconds to speech launch:

Take another look around the room and smile

Why do this?

Firstly, no one wants to see a grumpy speaker. Secondly, and much more importantly, smiling whilst you are talking gives your voice a much greater level of intonation. This increased intonation gives your voice a much friendlier and natural feel, giving you a more positive presenting style.

-0.1 seconds to speech launch:

Open your arms to the audience

Why do this?

If you’re nervous at this point your hands will either be:

Held tightly together in front of you

Clutching frantically at a desk or lectern

Hidden completely behind your back

None of the above are examples of positive body language and none of them present an engaging manner to your audience. To avoid instantly appearing as the grumpy, nervous speaker simply open your hands and your arms (as widely as you feel comfortable, you don’t have to become an albatross on stage) as you begin to deliver your open line.

Voila! Positive body language and a confident gesture before you’ve even opened your mouth!

0 seconds to speech launch:

Deliver that killer first line

Why do this?

“Your first line should pique the curiosity of your audience, engage them and make them want to hear more. It should be said loudly, proudly and for everyone in the room to hear. This is the line on which the audience’s initial judgement about you as a speaker will be made.”

If you are a nervous speaker, the paragraph above has probably not helped you too much. We know the first line of any speech is the most important, but when you’re nervous it’s also the most difficult. How do we overcome this?

Rehearsal is the key. For every one time that you rehearse your full speech, you should look to rehearse your opening line (including associated gestures, smiles and intonation) at least ten times.

The result will be an opening line that you can deliver on autopilot. The delivery of your opening line will not be able to be affected by nerves, because you’ll have delivered it before your brain even has time to compute!

And once you’re through that opening line and into your speech, we’re off! It’s not going to get any more difficult or nerve wracking from here on in!

5 seconds after speech launch:

Pause and let that killer line sink in.

Why do this?

A well timed pause adds emphasis to the point you have just made. You put your opening line at the very top of your speech for a reason-to give your audience time to consider exactly why that might be…

10 seconds after speech launch:

Tell ’em exactly what it is that you’re going to tell ’em

Why do this?

Your audience will want to understand how you plan to deliver your speech. Don’t forget that the majority of speeches or presentations are delivered to inform or persuade. An unstructured argument is unlikely to be persuasive and a muddled set of information will leave your audience more confused than when you started talking!

Your signposting doesn’t have to tell your audience exactly what to expect blow-for-blow, but it does need to set an expectation of what is to come. A signpost within a speech can be as simple as:

“Today I am going to talk to you about why dinosaurs should be bred in only in captivity using three examples from recent history.”

Where next?

Well by now your speech has well and truly launched. You’ve engaged your audience, explained what you’re going to talk about and overcome the most nerve-wracking part of any speech, the start.

From here on in it’s a case of keeping that smile beaming, your hands open and your voice strong as you inspire, persuade, inform and entertain your audience with the rest of your speech. The hardest part -those first words-are now done!

Presentation skills coaching for students

The new year has brought a new offering from Rich Public Speaking – a unique one hour training session designed specifically to help students improve their public speaking and presentation skills.

A good presentation and delivering your message well can really boost your grades by making it easier for your audience (and examiner) to understand your key points and award you marks!

With this in mind, for just £50 I will spend an hour with any Southampton student, rehearsing their presentation and giving advice and coaching on how to get their message across clearly and deal with any nerves that they may have.

What’s included?

An initial telephone conversation about your speaking experience, identifying areas for improvement

One hour with me (Rich Watts!) at a venue in Southampton coaching you on your presentation skills

A written report with recommendations and tips on how to improve your next presentation or speech. This will include advice completely specific to you and your strengths and areas for improvement


How to register for a session

It’s easy – just fill in the form below with your details and Rich will personally be in touch to arrange a time and date to suit you.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

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Your Message

Who is eligible for this £50 offer?

This offer is available for current students of Southampton Solent University and Solent University (student card required). Students from other universities are welcome to take up this offer, however cost may vary depending on travel time involved.


Payment can be made in cash, by bank transfer or cheque. Payment is required by or during our first face-to-face meeting.

Writing a contest speech

handwriting on paper

Day 1.

I have the ‘brief’. To write an inspiring and motivational speech for a modern business audience. Seven and a half minutes. Visual aids and props optional. The competition, the UK Business Speaker of the Year contest. The top prize, two thousand pounds.

I had a read of the rules, researched the competition. Viewed what the winner from last year did. Then I went to bed.

Day 2.

A Sunday afternoon and the girlfriend wants to get outside in the sunshine. I grab a pen and two different size notepads (a small one for quick thoughts, a larger one for if the big idea comes and mind maps are needed).

Led on the local common I jot down the obvious issues faced by the businesspeople of today. The word ‘recession’ keeps coming up. Everyone will be doing the recession. I need a different angle.

I start mind mapping key elements of being a business in a recession.

Everything from buying less staples to a collapsing Eurozone. Not very inspiring.
I think back to my Toastmasters experience. Every book I have read on inspiring others. The message needs to be personal. The workforce is ‘personal’ (personnel, in fact). It’s all very well being a leader in a recession. But we’re not all leaders. Some of us have to do the legwork. How does it feel for the man on the factory floor?

I hit upon morale and motivation. But that’s not sexy. I employ a method I have recently read about for writing jokes; mindmap two very alternative themes and then look for common links. I go for ‘recession’ versus ‘morale’ and the word margin comes up.

The ‘morale margin’ sounds good. But it needs some meat. Such a fluffy idea won’t win a business competition. It needs supporting evidence. It’s likely that the competition will have numerous examples, inspirational quotes, anecdotes and supporting evidence. Most of them will be professional speakers who collect such information for a living. I work 9-5 (8-6) and have read fewer business texts in the past year than I would like.

It starts to rain. We are in the UK after all. In total 20 minutes has passed. It appears that the British summer has just been and gone, and now so have we, as we head back to the car.

Day 3.

Work. The morale margin is in the back of my mind. I try and compare it to profit margins and cost margins whilst driving to the office. I almost run down a family of three. Best save the pondering for home time.

Day 4.

Write a short ‘manifesto’ for the morale margin on the back of a bank statement whilst dinner is cooking, aided by a can of beer. It stacks up. It even has a business case behind it. I fall asleep with a smile on my face and slightly less tense that knowing that I am making progress.

Day 7.

I haven’t found time to even think about the morale margin in days. The tension, and the fear, of not having enough time to write and learn a speech of good quality returns. Coincidentally my motivation returns in equally strong measure. I make a promise to myself that tomorrow I’ll ‘write’ the speech.

Day 11.

Life got in the way. I sit down for a power hour and write the speech. Well I write my first draft. It’s simply:
• ‘where we are currently’
• ‘why it’s ok’
• ‘how in fact we could be better off looking at the moral margin’

and then finally

• ‘ why the morale margin is what we all need to be focusing on’

It has no conclusion. It doesn’t even have a decent, engaging introduction. But it’s got meat, legs and it stands-up. It’s also devoid of too many clichés. There’s a good number of points made using the rule of three.

There’s even some natural humour in there, although this may just seem funny to my tired mind. I’ll double-check tomorrow.

Day 12.

No, really, it is funny. Enough to raise a polite titter at the very least, which is good. It needs an introduction, which I write in under ten minutes. I’ve had this idea about settling my own nerves on the night by asking the audience questions in my introduction and getting them to raise their hands in answer. It will engage them and give me time to breathe and take them all in. If they raise their hands they’re engaged – it’s a confidence boost. I stick to the rule of three again and ask them three questions. This will take a lot of time up…

Sh*t, I’ve forgotten that I only have seven and a half minutes. I run through the speech manuscript in my head and time myself. Eight minutes with no conclusion.

Better to have too much than too little I guess. I resolve to write the conclusion and worry about editing it down tomorrow.

The conclusion is ok, but I worry that I’ll need a high energy performance to make it memorable. I finish with the words ‘ the morale margin’ but will it mean much if it’s just my voice?

Day 15.

Life once again gets in the way of writing, as one needs to eat, exercise and earn a living. It’s a few days until I return to writing and editing the speech. Cutting bits out is easy. There’s a lot of fluff in there. I time myself again and I’m down to six minutes. I need to add something back in, yet everything that I have cut out adds no value to the speech.

After a cup of coffee and some procrastinating I resolve to put in a story about a nameless person, something that the audience can relate to, something that emphasises the point of the morale margin and something that is believable. A story can inspire and enforce a point. The story I concoct (!) seems to do just this. And it fits perfectly with my seven and a half minute requirements. At last things are going my way with the writing. Result.

Day 18.

I’ve spent the last three evenings practicing my speech out loud. I start with the script (in its fullest form) in front of me and gradually work until I can remember the structure and key points that I need to hit within my seven and a half minutes. By evening number three I can muddle through the speech in a suitable time, even if I don’t always use the exact words or lines that I desire at each stage. It’s a start.

Day 22.

I’ve cut the script down to just four headings, which act as prompts as I talk. Before each full, out loud rehearsal of the speech I revise the key phrases that I need to hit, word for word. When I first begin, I’m getting an average of two out of the ten phrases in correctly. Four nights later, on day 22, I now have them all down perfectly.

Day 23.

Things are going well. I know the speech, I can give the speech, I’ve highlighted lines that need extra volume, emotion or pace and I’m pretty certain that within seven and a half minutes I will give a good account of myself. It won’t be a train wreck.

But there’s something missing. The UK Business Speaker of the Year contest final (the evening event) is likely to have at least six speakers in it. That’s almost an hour of men in suits preaching. If I were in the audience, no matter how interested I was, it’s likely that by speaker number six, I would have switched off. To stand out therefore, I’m going to need a signature trait to my speaking.

For the past six years ‘my signature’ has often been the fact that above and beyond being able to speak in public to a good level, I have a baby face. The surprise element of standing-up and appearing to be a teenager, but then speaking as someone with a few more years on them than it appears has helped to win over (and surprise) a lot of audiences. At the UK Business Speaker of the Year contest, not needing to shave is unlikely to win me any awards. I need something different, something new.

There’s a style of speaking that I have wanted to attempt for some time, but never had the right brief, or amount of rehearsal time to achieve well. As such, I have not yet had the chance to attempt it. The style that I’m speaking of is used particularly well by a comedian that you may have heard of; Dave Gorman.

Dave uses vast amounts of image-led slides in his talks. As he speaks, the slides behind him change rapidly, with each slide demonstrating or supporting a word, sentence or proclamation by the speaker. He uses up to 40 slides in a minute using this method and to make it work well has to memorise every single slide so that the image on the screen behind him is never wrong, and he doesn’t have to keep glancing at the screen to check the slides are displaying correctly.

It’s a wonder to behold when Dave Gorman is in full flow and adds momentum, life and engagement to his speaking. Check out an example below.

It’s also bloody hard to do.

But if I’m going to try and do well at the competition, then this is the kind of thing that will make me stand out.

So I set to work highlighting words and phrases that can be supported by a slide. I then produce the slide deck and rehearse as best I can.

I have 70 slides for a seven minute talk. I also only have a few days left before the competition. I soon realise that however hard I try, using this method isn’t going to work. The margin (!) for error is too high.

An hour later, I have cut the slides down to nearer 20 and can (just about)
muddle through them without losing my way and without looking at the screen.

Day 25.

5 days to go until the contest and things are going well. I know the speech. Well, I say I know the speech, but that’s not true.

I know 95% of the speech. The 5% that I don’t know is a list of ten ways to use the morale margin to beat the recession that I want to rattle off quickly and succinctly to impress the audience. The pace and clarity of the list is it’s real impact and it’s a vital part of the ‘big finish’ that I want my speech conclusion to be.

It’s also the 5% of the speech that I’ve been procrastinating about and saying to myself (both consciously and sometimes sub-consciously) that I will learn later. With five days to go, there isn’t much ‘later’ left and so by the time I go to bed I have the ten items written out and pinned to various items around my living room. I have the list brown down in to three sets of three points, and one final point. I’ve invented a rhyme to help me remember them. I have a copy to take to work tomorrow to pin to my computer screen and my phone contains an audio recording of my reading them aloud.

With the ten items swilling around in my brain (they’re all in there somewhere, I just can’t remember them altogether!), it’s unlikely I’ll get to sleep quickly tonight.

Day 26.

Rehearse all evening. Out of ten attempts I get the list of ten items correct three times.

Day 27.

Rehearse the speech four times tonight. Get the list correct eight out of ten times. Getting there.

Day 28.

Rehearse speech five times. Get list right three times. Two steps forward, one step back?

Day 29.

Rehearse four times. Get list right every time. I then proceed to give myself a talking to; ‘I cannot do any more. Whatever will be, will be. It’s too late now to panic’.

I pour myself a beer, have a bath, watch some football and go to bed.

Day 30.

The day of the UK Business Speaker of the Year contest. I won’t give you the full story, but I think my mood, my mental state and my need for energy for the performance is summed up by a list of all of the things I ate that day. As the culmination of an article in which I have laid my speech-writing process bare so that others can learn from it, this menu recommendation comes with a health-warning; don’t try this at home (or at your next public speaking engagement, for that matter).

– Porridge
– Five chocolate fingers
– Three Mr Kiplings Apple Pies
– A chicken salad sandwich
– A bag of Hula Hoops crsips
– A Snickers chocolate bar
– A banana
– An apple
– A bag of cashew nuts
– Three cups of coffee
– Half a tube of Pringles crisps
– A full pack of Jaffa Cakes
– A pint of beer

Writing a speech in a crisis – Bush and Obama

Barack Obama

When a crisis occurs, there is often pressure on leaders to set an example, respond in an appropriate manner and inspire others into positive action. For those who lead large numbers of people, the quickest way to do this is by addressing their team through a speech or presentation.

This post gives guidance on three things to consider that will allow you to quickly put together a speech to respond to a crisis. We will look at structure as well as how to inspire and persuade your audience. We will do this through the study of two famous ‘crisis’ speeches from George Bush and Barrack Obama.

Before reading any further, I recommend that you view the two embedded videos below. The first is George Bush’s address to the nation on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The second is a speech from Barack Obama in the day that followed the ‘Batman shootings’ in 2012.

What we can learn about formatting an inspirational speech in a crisis:

In both speeches there is a clear format that emerges, designed to engage and inform the listener.
You will notice that both speeches open with a review of the current state of affairs – what has happened. This is informational.

They then proceed to describe to the audience how they, the listener, are feeling. How they should feel, and how they will feel. This is emotional.

What follows is then a clear course of action. This tells the audience what will follow, including what the leader will do, as well as what the listener should do. This is informational.

Both speeches then finish with a clear ‘call to arms’, which is usually emotional. Bush finishes with: “We go forward to defend freedom and all that is right and just in our world”. A wonderful mission statement for the people of America and one that has now lasted nearly a decade.

These case studies demonstrate a strong format for a speech in a crisis. The balance of emotional and informational aspects both informs and persuades the audience. This is a good structure for you to start writing your own speech from, as it provides the bare bones for you to flesh out:

– Review current situation
– Describe how audience is feeling and how they should feel
– Inform the audience about the next steps to resolve this issue
– Finish with a clear line that inspires your audience; a mission statement for their actions.

What we can learn about inspiring others in a crisis:

What makes the two speeches above inspiring? What is it that helps the audience to relate to them, and motivates the audience to move on to bigger and better things?

It’s the language that is used throughout these speeches that really adds emotion to them, draws the audience together, and makes them feel as though they are part of a positive, united community and movement.

Both speakers speak of America as a family. Obama even states ‘we the American family’. Both speakers describe ‘our pain’ and ‘our sorrow’ and the joint feeling of these being ‘darkest days’. This language is much more emotive and personal. Compare ‘darkest days’ to ‘a bad day’ – which inspires more emotion?

The key learning here is that when inspiring others in a crisis, it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. Review the language in your crisis speech – does it make the matter personal, or is it very impersonal? If you’re struggling to get the right tone, crack the thesaurus open!

What we can learn about persuading others in a crisis:

The basis of a persuasive speech is communicating a shared understanding or feeling. Both Obama and Bush do this in their speeches by relating to the audience just how similar the victims of the atrocities are to them.

Both Bush and Obama bore down to the fact that the victims are humans; secretaries, military personnel, parents and lovers. Obama even goes as far as to describe that as a parent, he too is directly like the victims and families of the shooting. This all combines to demonstrate to the audience that there is a shared understanding and feeling between the speaker and all of the listeners. We are all alike.

Once this shared understanding has been formed, it is much easier to deliver a proposed action going forward. The audience are open to pushing a solution forward because they now feel that they are part of a group that has a shared vision, shared responsibility and shared direction. It makes the task seem less daunting and much easier to achieve.

The learning here is to review your own crisis speech and make the issue or problem as relevant to your audience as possible. This can be done by relating the issue or problem, as well as the action, to examples that your audience can relate to and understand.


Just by reviewing two speeches that have been written by leaders to respond to a crisis we can already see a clear format emerging, as well as key items that should be reviewed to increase the effectiveness of the speech: language and the use of relevant examples.

I am sure that if we were to review more speeches of this nature other key points to consider would emerge. However, the key to many crisis speeches is the speed at which they are written and then delivered to the audience. As such, the findings above are a great way to start and structure the writing process to rapidly produce a crisis speech.

As always, I welcome thoughts and feedback on the topic.

Analysis of Kate Middleton’s First Public Speech

Kate Middleton

Last week Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave her first public speech. If you haven’t yet seen it yet, check out the video above.

So how did Kate do in what is likely to be the first of hundreds, if not thousands, of speeches that she will give in her role as royalty?

Kate’s speech was extremely concise and well-structured. It gave the assembled media adequate opportunities to capture soundbites and didn’t seek to use any complicated words or sentence structures, which may have unnerved the future Queen on her first public speaking engagement. If Kate wrote this speech herself then I would be extremely impressed, but more likely it was drafted in conjunction with a royal speechwriter.

So if we can’t judge Kate on her speechwriting skills, how was her delivery?

Kate has clearly been trained in delivering a speech and specifically on making eye contact with her audience. If you watch the video of her speech you will see that she always looks right, left and then down at her notes, being sure to engage the whole room with her gaze. This is a great technique for communicating with all of your audience, however, the way in which Kate looks left, right and then down repeatedly and rhythmically does start to look a little stilted once you notice it. To counteract this, Kate should look to make eye contact with different members of the audience on each side of her, varying between those close to her and those at the back of the room. Doing this will lead to the length of her gaze in each direction varying slightly each time she looks around the room, and make her performance and eye contact seem much more natural.

In future speeches, I’d like to also see more vocal variety from Kate, which will lead to much more believable emotion within her speeches. In her first speech there is very little change of pace, intonation or volume and so although heartfelt, the speech does sound rather emotionless. The only emotion that we do see is after Kate mentions how she wishes that ‘William were here today’ and even that smile is a downwards one – more personal than directed at her audience. To remedy this, Kate should look to smile more whilst speaking to increase her positive intonation and should identify areas in her speech that might benefit from a change of pace or volume, prior to speaking. Such areas might be a rousing conclusion or a slower-paced story of how humbled she felt on her last visit to the centre.

Overall, Kate’s speech was a solid performance in which she successfully delivered a message to a warm audience for the first time. In future I hope that she develops some of the areas mentioned above and brings a much more human element to her speeches – something often cited as lacking in formal speeches from members of the royal family.

Boris Johnson Olympic Clock speech analysis

Boris Johnson speech image

Boris Johnson speech image

Boris Johnson stole the show today by giving a hugely informal speech not to a group of close friends, but the entire planet.

You can view whole speech here.

This has to be my speech of the year so far. It was short, sweet, and informal enough to make every person on the planet feel welcomed by the Mayor of London. However, the real objective of this speech for Boris was to get us, the British public to realise our identity in front of the rest of the world and to become inspired and proud that we are hosting the Olympics in 2012.

Boris achieved this with a speech that was half humour, half battle-cry, but wow, did it work – let’s take a look at how he did it:


It’s so simple, but also so easy to get wrong (especially if you are Boris Johnson) – Boris put the world at ease with jokes about the Olympic clock starting and then breaking, but getting going again with the help of our Swiss friends. This put everyone at ease, made us aware this wasn’t going to be a dull, hugely political speech and even helped form an identity of ‘us’ the target audience as British, versus our Swiss chronometers counterparts abroad.


Boris then went on to galvanise ‘us’ as the proud people of Britain through great use of language. Lines such as ‘we got it going again, didn’t we?’, hint at the ‘great British spirit’ and ‘still that clock ticks on to remind us that nothing and no one is going to stop us preparing for the greatest event that this city has seen in 50 years’, is like a rallying-cry, almost Churchill-esque (sorry Winston).

These lines are hugely emotive and conjure images of war time Britain and all of the best traditional values of Britain as a country and a collective of people under one identity.


A Boris Johnson speech will never be a speech without personality, but on this occasion Boris’ personality shone through and made the messages he was conveying all the more convincing and believable. How did Boris (or his speech writer) let his personality shine through? Through the use of such typically ‘Boris’ language. Terms such as ‘horde of hooded crusties’ and ‘chronometers’ and grand focus on topics such as the streets, venues and of course, bikes being ready are so typically Boris. Boris is human (as he proves time and again) and so being able to see real personality and passion in his statements raises great empathy from his audience for his beliefs and values about the Olympics.

The finale

Every speech hinges on the one key message that you leave your audience with and Boris’ final message was emphatic.

‘And above all, above all the people of London will be ready. To welcome the world’s finest athletes to the greatest games that have ever been held, in the greatest city on Earth.’

What a great message – translated to the audience (who Boris is trying to inspire) this final is roughly: ‘You and I will be ready, to welcome the best athletes in the World to the best Olympic games (which we’re organising!) in the greatest city on Earth – ours!’.

A truly great speech which will probably be labelled as slightly juvenile, irrelevant or just babble in the course of Olympic history, but which in fact I feel was hugely motivating for the British audience present, well-planned, well-delivered and of course, incredibly British!

Analysis Of Ed Miliband’s First Speech As Party Leader

Speech analysis icon

A perfect use of the old ‘rule of three’ in a political speech by Ed Miliband last year.

The rule of three involves the repetition of a key word, phrase or point, or sometimes even the use of three words beginning with the same letter or sound during a speech.

Doing this helps to emphasise key points, increase impact and make your speech more memorable. Ultimately you want your audience to remember your key points and if your points are made easier to remember by implementing the rule of three, its more likely your audience will recall your message and spread the word!

Check out from 0:52 when Ed Miliband talks about the new generation of Labour being different: ‘Different attitudes, different ideas, different ways of doing politics.’

Then also take a look at 2:50 onwards – ‘Optimistic about our country, optimistic about our World, optimistic about the power of politics’. At this point the rule of three helps Ed Miliband to make a strong conclusion to his speech and leave a key message in the minds of his audience. Top stuff.

What’s not so great about this speech?

Ed Miliband is hidden behind a lectern – its hard for him to convey huge amounts of emotion or passion from this position using his body. Instead, he has to settle with bending forward slightly as he becomes more passionate, which ends up just looking a little odd and off-putting for the audience!

Ed’s hand is also a little all over the place. The free hand is traditionally used by British politicians to emphasise key points – Tony Blair was a master at this. In Ed Miliband’s speech his hand is used at some very random times – at points when he doesn’t need it to emphasise or back-up his words. For example on the word ‘be’ near the beginning of the speech. As the speech goes on the hand movements improve and are incorporated well into the ‘optimistic’ conclusion mentioned earlier.

Anything else?

Take a look at 0:30 in to the video and see how Ed states ‘some people think I might be more left wing than him’. Which way does Ed step after this? To his right! Coincidence, subliminal messaging, unconscious reaction? You decide.

Hardest Public Speaking Part 2 – The Doctor’s Speech

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We’ve all either experienced it or seen a rather over-dramatised version of it in a television programme – the doctor delivering bad news to the relatives of a patient.

You might not immediately think that this is public speaking. However, it’s a single person communicating a message to an audience of normally more than one using many of the techniques that are taught as part of the majority of public speaking courses.

Before we look at the techniques that a doctor uses to deliver bad news in the best possible way. We have to first understand the audience.

The audience for the doctor’s speech is likely to have a high emotional involvement in the situation, be experiencing volatile emotions and be extremely tired. The ultimate reaction to the doctor’s speech is likely to range from anger to disbelief to fear or something completely different – we all react to bad news in different ways.

The doctor’s speech objective is therefore to deliver this information in the most straight-forward and emotionally sensitive way to minimise the chances of the audience reaction being extremely negative or even destructive.

How does the doctor do this?

Tone of voice – the doctor’s tone of voice is likely to be sympathetic yet as matter-of-fact as possible. They need to appear sensitive to the audience’s feelings, yet still position themselves as the expert in the room to avoid the audience losing faith in their medical abilities.

Use of language – a tired and emotional audience is likely to become frustrated if the doctor explains the situation in medical gobbledegook. They will not understand the message and may become confused – not something that is desired at this most critical of times. The doctor needs to use language well to translate a medical situation in to easy to understand terms.

Openness to audience participation – it’s likely that the audience will have many questions bout the medical situation – the reasons, the outcomes and the patient’s prospects. The doctor needs to ensure that they give the audience ample opportunity to ask questions and that they are answered in a positive, constructive and comprehensible way. The doctor also needs to ensure that the audience isn’t too intimidated to ask questions and so should appear approachable. This can be achieved through positive tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures.

In conclusion, the doctor’s speech is a short speech, but an important one. It’s likely that the audience will remember this speech for the rest of their lives and that its message being communicated clearly will have an effect on their emotions.

Clear, positive communication is key here, even at the end of a 12 hour shift – not always easy, I’m sure!

Toughest public speaking – the street entertainer

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I’ve set myself another challenge – to find the toughest public speaking gig ever.

For the purposes of this challenge, tough will equal ‘the most technically demanding’.

So what are my first thoughts?
I’m going to go with street performing as the toughest public speaking gig.

So much of what we read and learn about public speaking encourages us to put our audience first, to understand them and then to tailor our content for them.

Now lets think about the audience of a street entertainer – ever changing (day-by-day and minute-by-minute), nothing in common other than their desire to shop and to top it all – not actively seeking to hear to your message.

Imagine trying to give a presentation in your workplace if your colleagues kept getting up and leaving, or entering the room, were from teams irrelevant to your particular presentation topic and had a full to-do list they needed to get away and work on – tough, eh?

So how does the street entertainer overcome these obstacles? What sort of public speaking tactics does he/she employ?

– Consistently repeat your core message or reason for your actions, as your audience may have only been watching you for 30 seconds, not the last 30 minutes. That is, if you’re stood on a stool juggling knives, remind everyone ‘why’.

– Focus on the one thing your audience has in common. Oh dear – what is this amongst such a diverse and random group? In truth, it’s the last five seconds of your act, and everything that the audience can see (you, your knives, your stool, etc). From watching the very best street entertainers I’ve realised all of their humour focuses on visible and recent elements – there are very few running jokes.

– Be loud, and use your body to illustrate your message – wide gestures, big movements, indicative movements. Remember, in a noisy public place not everyone can hear you or see you fully.

I’ll keep thinking about the toughest public speaking gig, but I’m pretty sure after writing this post that I’d rather be giving a Powerpoint presentation tomorrow than juggling knives on a stool in a town centre!

No arms, no legs, no problems public speaking

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A little bit of inspiration for a Sunday afternoon. Guy with no arms and no legs engages and holds an audience’ attention and gets his message across.

He overcomes his disabilities when speaking using simple techniques and as such is a great example of how to engage an audience with:

– Great content
– A big smile
– Variation of voice tone and volume
– Eye contact

If he can do it, surely you can too!

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!

‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ – Great speeches – Winston Churchill

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It’s 70 years to the day that Winston Churchill gave one of his most famous speeches to the House of Commons.

His ‘So Few’ speech was given as an overview of why Britain was fighting, how the conflict was progressing and where he saw the conflict moving on to. A classic example of a well structured speech using the past, present, future method of organisation.

It brings a smile to my face that a speech that was over 5000 words long is remembered 70 years later for one single line.

We can look at this as an example of Winston Churchill achieving a huge public speaking goal – leaving his audience with one, clear message or action that he wanted them to carry out.

(Although it can be argued – was that the message he wanted to leave? Was it the message that was absorbed by the audience at the time the speech was given? Are we only now focusing on this message because historically we can see the importance of his words?)

I wonder how much this speech would change if it were being given in the present day?

With the ever increasing shortage of time for most of us, I feel that if this speech were given today it would be shorter, punchier and with a much clearer message or line that we could all remember. This is a reflection of our need to take in information much more quickly and for messages to be in a shorter, more precise format to be distributed by various media channels easily. This also brings up a lot of points about how our culture and lfestyles have affected the way we give and receive speeches today compared to previous decades and centuries…a topic for a whole other blog post (or even book!).

If you haven’t read the whole of Churchill’s ‘So Few’ speech, the full transcript is below.

August 20, 1940, House of Commons

Almost a year has passed since the war began, and it is natural for us, I think, to pause on our journey at this milestone and survey the dark, wide field. It is also useful to compare the first year of this second war against German aggression with its forerunner a quarter of a century ago. Although this war is in fact only a continuation of the last, very great differences in its character are apparent. In the last war millions of men fought by hurling enormous masses of steel at one another. “Men and shells” was the cry, and prodigious slaughter was the consequence. In this war nothing of this kind has yet appeared. It is a conflict of strategy, of organization, of technical apparatus, of science, mechanics and morale. The British casualties in the first 12 months of the Great War amounted to 365,000. In this war, I am thankful to say, British killed, wounded, prisoners and missing, including civilians, do not exceed 92,000, and of these a large proportion are alive as prisoners of war. Looking more widely around, one may say that throughout all Europe, for one man killed or wounded in the first year perhaps five were killed or wounded in 1914-15.

The slaughter is only a small fraction, but the consequences to the belligerents have been even more deadly. We have seen great countries with powerful armies dashed out of coherent existence in a few weeks. We have seen the-French Republic and the renowned French Army beaten into complete and total submission with less than the casualties which they suffered in any one of half a dozen of the battles of 1914-18. The entire body-it might almost seem at times the soul-of France has succumbed to physical effects incomparably less terrible than those which were sustained with fortitude and undaunted will power 25 years ago. Although up to the present the loss of life has been mercifully diminished, the decisions reached in the course of the struggle are even more profound upon the fate of nations than anything that has ever happened since barbaric times. Moves are made upon the scientific and strategic boards, advantages are gained by mechanical means, as a result of which scores of millions of men become incapable of further resistance, or judge themselves incapable of further resistance, and a fearful game of chess proceeds from check to mate by which the unhappy players seem to be inexorably bound.

There is another more obvious difference from 1914. The whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women and children. The fronts are everywhere. The trenches are dug in the towns and streets. Every village is fortified. Every road is barred. The front line runs through the factories. The workmen are soldiers with different weapons but the same courage. These are great and distinctive changes from what many of us saw in the struggle of a quarter of a century ago. There seems to be every reason to believe that this new kind of war is well suited to the genius and the resources of the British nation and the British Empire; and that, once we get properly equipped and properly started, a war of this kind will be more favourable to us than the sombre mass slaughters of the Somme and Passchendaele. If it is a case of the whole nation fighting and suffering together, that ought to suit us, because we are the most united of all the nations, because we entered the war upon the national will and with our eyes open, and because we have been nurtured in freedom and individual responsibility and are the products, not of totalitarian uniformity, but of tolerance and variety. If all these qualities are turned, as they are being turned, to the arts of war, we may be able to show the enemy quite a lot of things that they have not thought of yet. Since the Germans drove the Jews out and lowered their technical standards, our science is definitely ahead of theirs. Our geographical position, the command of the sea, and the friendship of the United States enable us to draw resources from the whole world and to manufacture weapons of war of every kind, but especially of the superfine kinds, on a scale hitherto practiced only by Nazi Germany.

Hitler is now sprawled over Europe. Our offensive springs are being slowly compressed, and we must resolutely and methodically prepare ourselves for the campaigns of 1941 and 1942. Two or three years are not a long time, even in our short, precarious lives. They are nothing in the history of the nation, and when we are doing the finest thing in the world, and have the honour to be the sole champion of the liberties of all Europe, we must not grudge these years or weary as we toil and struggle through them. It does not follow that our energies in future years will be exclusively confined to defending ourselves and our possessions. Many opportunities may lie open to amphibious power, and we must be ready to take advantage of them. One of the ways to bring this war to a speedy end is to convince the enemy, not by words, but by deeds, that we have both the will and the means, not only to go on indefinitely, but to strike heavy and unexpected blows. The road to victory may not be so long as we expect. But we have no right to count upon this. Be it long or short, rough or smooth, we mean to reach our journey’s end.

It is our intention to maintain and enforce a strict blockade, not only of Germany, but of Italy, France, and all the other countries that have fallen into the German power. I read in the papers that Herr Hitler has also proclaimed a strict blockade of the British Islands. No one can complain of that. I remember the Kaiser doing it in the last war. What indeed would be a matter of general complaint would be if we were to prolong the agony of all Europe by allowing food to come in to nourish the Nazis and aid their war effort, or to allow food to go in to the subjugated peoples, which certainly would be pillaged off them by their Nazi conquerors.

There have been many proposals, founded on the highest motives, that food should be allowed to pass the blockade for the relief of these populations. I regret that we must refuse these requests. The Nazis declare that they have created a new unified economy in Europe. They have repeatedly stated that they possess ample reserves of food and that they can feed their captive peoples. In a German broadcast oL27th June it was said that while Mr. Hoover’s plan for relieving France, Belgium and Holland deserved commendation, the German forces had already taken the necessary steps. We know that in Norway when the German troops went in, there were food supplies to last for a year. We know that Poland, though not a rich country, usually produces sufficient food for her people. Moreover, the other countries which Herr Hitler has invaded all held considerable stocks when the Germans entered and are themselves, in many cases, very substantial food producers. If all this food is not available now, it can only be because it has been removed to feed the people of Germany and to give them increased rations-for a change-during the last few months. At this season of the year and for some months to come, there is the least chance of scarcity as the harvest has just been gathered in. The only agencies which can create famine in any part of Europe, now and during the coming winter, will be German exactions or German failure to distribute the supplies which they command.

There is another aspect. Many of the most valuable foods are essential to the manufacture of vital war material. Fats are used to make explosives. Potatoes make the alcohol for motor spirit. The plastic materials now so largely used in the construction of aircraft are made of milk. If the Germans use these commodities to help them to bomb our women and children, rather than to feed the populations who produce them, we may be sure that imported foods would go the same way, directly or indirectly, or be employed to relieve the enemy of the responsibilities he has so wantonly assumed. Let Hitler bear his responsibilities to the full, and let the peoples of Europe who groan beneath his yoke aid in every way the coming of the day when that yoke will be broken. Meanwhile, we can and we will arrange in advance for the speedy entry of food into any part of the enslaved area, when this part has been wholly cleared of German forces, and has genuinely regained its freedom. We shall do our best to encourage the building up of reserves of food all over the world, so that there will always be held up before the eyes of the peoples of Europe, including-I say deliberately-the German and Austrian peoples, the certainty that the shattering of the Nazi power will bring to them all immediate food, freedom and peace.

Rather more than a quarter of a year has passed since the new Government came into power in this country. What a cataract of disaster has poured out upon us since then! The trustful Dutch overwhelmed; their beloved and respected Sovereign driven into exile; the peaceful city of Rotterdam the scene of a massacre as hideous and brutal as anything in the Thirty Years’ War; Belgium invaded and beaten down; our own fine Expeditionary Force, which King Leopold called to his rescue, cut off and almost captured, escaping as it seemed only by a miracle and with the loss of all its equipment; our Ally, France, out; Italy in against us; all France in the power of the enemy, all its arsenals and vast masses of military material converted or convertible to the enemy’s use; a puppet Government set up at Vichy which may at any moment be forced to become our foe; the whole western seaboard of Europe from the North Cape to the Spanish frontier in German hands; all the ports, all the airfields on this immense front employed against us as potential springboards of invasion. Moreover, the German air power, numerically so far outstripping ours, has been brought so close to our Island that what we used to dread greatly has come to pass and the hostile bombers not only reach our shores in a few minutes and from many directions, but can be escorted by their fighting aircraft. Why, Sir, if we had been confronted at the beginning of May with such a prospect, it would have seemed incredible that at the end of a period of horror and disaster, or at this point in a period of horror and disaster, we should stand erect, sure of ourselves, masters of our fate and with the conviction of final victory burning unquenchable in our hearts. Few would have believed we could survive; none would have believed that we should today not only feel stronger but should actually be stronger than we have ever been before.

Let us see what has happened on the other side of the scales. The British nation and the British Empire, finding themselves alone, stood undismayed against disaster. No one flinched or wavered; nay, some who formerly thought of peace, now think only of war. Our people are united and resolved, as they have never been before. Death and ruin have become small things compared with the shame of defeat or failure in duty. We cannot tell what lies ahead. It may be that even greater ordeals lie before us. We shall face whatever is coming to us. We are sure of ourselves and of our cause, and that is the supreme fact which has emerged in these months of trial.

Meanwhile, we have not only fortified our hearts but our Island. We have rearmed and rebuilt our armies in a degree which would have been deemed impossible a few months ago. We have ferried across the Atlantic, in the month of July, thanks to our friends over there, an immense mass of munitions of all kinds: cannon, rifles, machine guns, cartridges and shell, all safely landed without the loss of a gun or a round. The output of our own factories, working as they have never worked before, has poured forth to the troops. The whole British Army is at home. More than 2,000,000 determined men have rifles and bayonets in their hands tonight, and three-quarters of them are in regular military formations. We have never had armies like this in our Island in time of war. The whole Island bristles against invaders, from the sea or from the air. As I explained to the House in the middle of June, the stronger our Army at home, the larger must the invading expedition be, and the larger the invading expedition, the less difficult will be the task of the Navy in detecting its assembly and in intercepting and destroying it in passage; and the greater also would be the difficulty of feeding and supplying the invaders if ever they landed, in the teeth of continuous naval and air attack on their communications. All this is classical and venerable doctrine. As in Nelson’s day, the maxim holds, “Our first line of defence is the enemy’s ports.” Now air reconnaissance and photography have brought to an old principle a new and potent aid.

Our Navy is far stronger than it was at the beginning of the war. The great flow of new construction set on foot at the outbreak is now beginning to come in. We hope our friends across the ocean will send us a timely reinforcement to bridge the gap between the peace flotillas of 1939 and the war flotillas of 1941. There is no difficulty in sending such aid. The seas and oceans are open. The U-boats are contained. The magnetic mine is, up to the present time, effectively mastered. The merchant tonnage under the British flag, after a year of unlimited U-boat war, after eight months of intensive mining attack, is larger than when we began. We have, in addition, under our control at least 4,000,000 tons of shipping from the captive countries which has taken refuge here or in the harbours of the Empire. Our stocks of food of all kinds are far more abundant than in the days of peace, and a large and growing program of food production is on foot.

Why do I say all this? Not, assuredly, to boast; not, assuredly, to give the slightest countenance to complacency. The dangers we face are still enormous, but so are our advantages and resources. I recount them because the people have a right to know that there are solid grounds for the confidence which we feel, and that we have good reason to believe ourselves capable, as I said in a very dark hour two months ago, of continuing the war “if necessary alone, if necessary for years.” I say it also because the fact that the British Empire stands invincible, and that Nazidom is still being resisted, will kindle again the spark of hope in the breasts of hundreds of millions of down-trodden or despairing men and women throughout Europe, and far beyond its bounds, and that from these sparks there will presently come cleansing and devouring flame.

The great air battle which has been in progress over this Island for the last few weeks has recently attained a high intensity. It is too soon to attempt to assign limits either to its scale or to its duration. We must certainly expect that greater efforts will be made by the enemy than any he has so far put forth. Hostile air fields are still being developed in France and the Low Countries, and the movement of squadrons and material for attacking us is still proceeding. It is quite plain that Herr Hitler could not admit defeat in his air attack on Great Britain without sustaining most serious injury. If after all his boastings and bloodcurdling threats and lurid accounts trumpeted round the world of the damage he has inflicted, of the vast numbers of our Air Force he has shot down, so he says, with so little loss to himself; if after tales of the panic-stricken British crushed in their holes cursing the plutocratic Parliament which has led them to such a plight-if after all this his whole air onslaught were forced after a while tamely to peter out, the Fuhrer’s reputation for veracity of statement might be seriously impugned. We may be sure, therefore, that he will continue as long as he has the strength to do so, and as long as any preoccupations he may have in respect of the Russian Air Force allow him to do so.

On the other hand, the conditions and course of the fighting have so far been favorable to us. I told the House two months ago that, whereas in France our fighter aircraft were wont to inflict a loss of two or three to one upon the Germans, and in the fighting at Dunkirk, which was a kind of no-man’s-land, a loss of about three or four to one, we expected that in an attack on this Island we should achieve a larger ratio. This has certainly come true. It must also be remembered that all the enemy machines and pilots which are shot down over our Island, or over the seas which surround it, are either destroyed or captured; whereas a considerable proportion of our machines, and also of our pilots, are saved, and soon again in many cases come into action.

A vast and admirable system of salvage, directed by the Ministry of Aircraft Production, ensures the speediest return to the fighting line of damaged machines, and the most provident and speedy use of all the spare parts and material. At the same time the splendid-nay, astounding-increase in the output and repair of British aircraft and engines which Lord Beaverbrook has achieved by a genius of organization and drive, which looks like magic, has given us overflowing reserves of every type of aircraft, and an ever-mounting stream of production both in quantity and quality. The enemy is, of course, far more numerous than we are. But our new production already, as I am advised, largely exceeds his, and the American production is only just beginning to flow in. It is a fact, as I see from my daily returns, that our bomber and fighter strength now, after all this fighting, are larger than they have ever been. We believe that we shall be able to continue the air struggle indefinitely and as long as the enemy pleases, and the longer it continues the more rapid will be our approach, first towards that parity, and then into that superiority, in the air upon which in a large measure the decision of the war depends.

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and b~ their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain.

We are able to verify the results of bombing military targets in Germany, not only by reports which reach us through many sources, but also, of course, by photography. I have no hesitation in saying that this process of bombing the military industries and communications of Germany and the air bases and storage depots from which we are attacked, which process will continue upon an ever-increasing scale until the end of the war, and may in another year attain dimensions hitherto undreamed of, affords one at least of the most certain, if not the shortest, of all the roads to victory. Even if the Nazi legions stood triumphant on the Black Sea, or indeed upon the Caspian, even if Hitler was at the gates of India, it would profit him nothing if at the same time the entire economic and scientific apparatus of German war power lay shattered and pulverized at home.

The fact that the invasion of this Island upon a large scale has become a far more difficult operation with every week that has passed since we saved our Army at Dunkirk, and our very great preponderance of sea power enable us to turn our eyes and to turn our strength increasingly towards the Mediterranean and against that other enemy who, without the slightest provocation, coldly and deliberately, for greed and gain, stabbed France in the back in the moment of her agony, and is now marching against us in Africa. The defection of France has, of course, been deeply damaging to our position in what is called, somewhat oddly, the Middle East. In the defense of Somaliland, for instance, we had counted upon strong French forces attacking the Italians from Jibuti. We had counted also upon the use of the French naval and air bases in the Mediterranean, and particularly upon the North African shore. We had counted upon the French Fleet. Even though metropolitan France was temporarily overrun, there was no reason why the French Navy, substantial parts of the French Army, the French Air Force and the French Empire overseas should not have continued the struggle at our side.

Shielded by overwhelming sea power, possessed of invaluable strategic bases and of ample funds, France might have remained one of the great combatants in the struggle. By so doing, France would have preserved the continuity of her life, and the French Empire might have advanced with the British Empire to the rescue of the independence and integrity of the French Motherland. In our own case, if we had been put in the terrible position of France, a contingency now happily impossible, although, of course, it would have been the duty of all war leaders to fight on here to the end, it would also have been their duty, as I indicated in my speech of 4th June, to provide as far as possible for the Naval security of Canada and our Dominions and to make sure they had the means to carry on the struggle from beyond the oceans. Most of the other countries that have been overrun by Germany for the time being have persevered valiantly and faithfully. The Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Dutch, the Belgians are still in the field, sword in hand, recognized by Great Britain and the United States as the sole representative authorities and lawful Governments of their respective States.

That France alone should lie prostrate at this moment is the crime, not of a great and noble nation, but of what are called “the men of Vichy.” We have profound sympathy with the French people. Our old comradeship with France is not dead. In General de Gaulle and his gallant band, that comradeship takes an effective form. These free Frenchmen have been condemned to death by Vichy, but the day will come, as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, when their names will be held in honor, and their names will be graven in stone in the streets and villages of a France restored in a liberated Europe to its full freedom and its ancient fame. But this conviction which I feel of the future cannot affect the immediate problems which confront us in the Mediterranean and in Africa. It had been decided some time before the beginning of the war not to defend the Protectorate of Somaliland. That policy was changed in the early months of the war. When the French gave in, and when our small forces there, a few battalions, a few guns, were attacked by all the Italian troops, nearly two divisions, which had formerly faced the French at Jibuti, it was right to withdraw our detachments, virtually intact, for action elsewhere. Far larger operations no doubt impend in the Middle East theater, and I shall certainly not attempt to discuss or prophesy about their probable course. We have large armies and many means of reinforcing them. We have the complete sea command of the eastern Mediterranean. We intend to do our best to give a good account of ourselves, and to discharge faithfully and resolutely all our obligations and duties in that quarter of the world. More than that I do not think the House would wish me to say at the present time.

A good many people have written to me to ask me to make on this occasion a fuller statement of our war aims, and of the kind of peace we wish to make after the war, than is contained in the very considerable declaration which was made early in the autumn. Since then we have made common cause with Norway, Holland and Belgium. We have recognized the Czech Government of Dr. Benes, and we have told General de Gaulle that our success will carry with it the restoration of France. I do not think it would be wise at this moment, while the battle rages and the war is still perhaps only in its earlier stage, to embark upon elaborate speculations about the future shape which should be given to Europe or the new securities which must be arranged to spare mankind the miseries of a third World War. The ground is not new, it has been frequently traversed and explored, and many ideas are held about it in common by all good men, and all free men. But before we can undertake the task of rebuilding we have not only to be convinced ourselves, but we have to convince all other countries that the Nazi tyranny is going to be finally broken

The right to guide the course of world history is the noblest prize of victory. We are still toiling up the hill; we have not yet reached the crest-line of it; we cannot survey the landscape or even imagine what its condition will be when that longed-for morning comes. The task which lies before us immediately is at once more practical, more simple and more stern. I hope-indeed, I pray-that we shall not be found unworthy of our victory if after toil and tribulation it is granted to us. For the rest, we have to gain the victory. That is our task.

There is, however, one direction in which we can see a little more clearly ahead. We have to think not only for ourselves but for the lasting security of the cause and principles for which we are fighting and of the long future of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Some months ago we came to the conclusion that the interests of the United States and of the British Empire both required that the United States should have facilities for the naval and air defense of the Western Hemisphere against the attack of a Nazi power which might have acquired temporary but lengthy control of a large part of Western Europe and its formidable resources. We had therefore decided spontaneously, and without being asked or offered any inducement, to inform the Government of the United States that we would be glad to place such defense facilities at their disposal by leasing suitable sites in our Transatlantic possessions for their greater security against the unmeasured dangers of the future. The principle of association of interests for common purposes between Great Britain and the United States had developed even before the war. Various agreements had been reached about certain small islands in the Pacific Ocean which had become important as air fueling points. In all this line of thought we found ourselves in very close harmony with the Government of Canada.

Presently we learned that anxiety was also felt in the United States about the air and naval defense of their Atlantic seaboard, and President Roosevelt has recently made it clear that he would like to discuss with us, and with the Dominion of Canada and with Newfoundland, the development of American naval and air facilities in Newfoundland and in the West Indies. There is, of course, no question of any transference of sovereignty-that has never been suggested-or of any action being taken without the consent or against the wishes of the various Colonies concerned; but for our part, His Majesty’s Government are entirely willing to accord defence facilities to the United States on a 99 years’ leasehold basis, and we feel sure that our interests no less than theirs, and the interests of the Colonies themselves and of Canada and Newfoundland, will be served thereby. These are important steps. Undoubtedly this process means that these two great organizations of the English-speaking democracies, the British Empire and the United States, will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling alone. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, view the process with any misgivings. I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling alone. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days.

David Cameron’s speech 11th May

Speech analysis icon

David Cameron has been lauded for his ability to win over voters and project a personality through his speaking in a way that Gordon Brown could not. But how was this reflected in his first speech as Prime Minister on the 11th May 2010?

As the content of Cameron’s speech is difficult to judge without any form of bias (we all have different views on the outcome of the general election), lets take a look at his technique.

Cameron’s speech on the 11th May was an opportunity to use his body and voice to further illustrate the ‘personal touch’ that helped him to win the election over Gordon Brown and set the tone for the next four or five years of his reign. In my opinion, it was an opportunity missed.

Hands – Cameron clearly anchors his hands together throughout the speech. This is a great technique for the nervous speaker or a speaker who has a habit of fidgeting. Clasping your hands together in this way avoids them distracting your audience from your face and voice and avoids appearing nervous.

However, Cameron is an experienced speaker and so I would have liked to have seen him make greater use of his hands and arms to open himself up to his audience and involve them more. The most extravagant hand gesture we see in this speech is a movement of the left hand as Cameron makes key points.

By opening up both hands, and using slightly wider gestures, Cameron could have appeared more personable and opened himself up to his audience more. This isn’t to say I recommend that he should be flailing his arms widely, just expanding his gestures slightly to avoid his hands being concealed by the microphone in front of him.

Tone – Whilst on the campaign trail, we saw some inspiring videos of Cameron speaking to groups and varying the tone of his voice at key points to hammer home important and emotion-stirring points. This doesn’t happen so much in this speech and it is slightly weaker for it.

A strong, tone of voice even on one single point at the end of this speech could have left the media audience with an inspirational message to project in news bulletins across the world for the coming days.

Of course, after a long month of campaigning, negotiating and meeting the Queen, we cannot be too harsh on David Cameron, especially as his speech was very impromptu and probably prepared on his car journey from the palace!

It will be interesting to see how his speaking style develops and varies during the good and bad times to come over the next few years.