Cameron v Corbyn – Presenting v Protesting

chalk and cheese



It seems to me that there are only 3 types of people that would listen to a politician speak non-stop for 1hr and 10 minutes. A fellow politician, someone interested in politics or someone who is passionate about public speaking.

I’m one of the latter.

I’ve just finished watching the YouTube video of David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last week having previously endured Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party Conference.

Two politicians with two speeches and two entirely different deliveries.

David Cameron

Putting all personal political views aside for a moment this was a visionary speech. Cameron is clearly an extremely accomplished speaker in his own right but last week he raised the bar substantially by using passion and personal conviction to inspire his audience.

His speech was an ambitious acknowledgement of his intent to take his party on an impassioned journey of clear action and change. It was compelling, clear and comprehensive as he set out his goals for social justice, racial discrimination and prison reform together with other key issues. 

It was content rich and contained all of the hallmarks of what can only be regarded as a great speech in terms of its delivery, regardless of political bias.

Here is what I believe are just some of the elements that made it worthy of being up there with many of the greats:

– A robust and relevant structure
– A clear message and plan to create a ‘Greater Britain’
– Spoken with gravitas
– A vision of hope and transformation
– Humour despite the seriousness
– Passion and inspirational 
– An impressive vocal range and variety 
– Emphasis on key words
– Pausing
– Gesturing

Watch the full speech here:

In stark Contrast to David Cameron Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party seemed one of complaint and protestation.

As a speaker, Corbyn’s delivery was perfectly adequate, but you might find that he offered little to his audience in his hour long stint at the podium.

Starting with a few tedious jokes about the press and an extensive thank you list he then finally got into his speech. It was of course his first major speech as Labour leader  so he can be forgiven for being a little nervous at the start, stumbling once or twice and rambling a little.

Whilst he is admired for his straight-talking, no nonsense style which is to be applauded in the world of politics today, I couldn’t help but feel that there were a few things missing.

For me it lacked structure and focus and was delivered in such a monotone way that you wouldn’t be blamed for reaching for your phone. 

After all, you can have the most compelling manifesto on earth but a prerequisite to ensuring that it is followed is to deliver it in a way that connects with your audience emotionally as well as intellectually.

I’m a strong advocate of authenticity and ‘being yourself’ as a speaker.  However for some people their natural self can be a little lack lustre when it comes to public speaking. When that’s the case and the stakes are high you have to be your very best self. I’d really like Mr Corbyn to give Mr Cameron a run for his money on the speaking platform and so I’d like to take the liberty of offering the following suggestions.

– Ditch the jokes
– Stop complaining and focus on the possibilities and opportunities
– Share a vision, not everything that’s wrong
– Slow down and pause every now and then
– Take us on a journey and focus on your structure
– Inject energy and enthusiasm
– Stretch your voice

People buy people first 

Personally and professionally the two things I try very hard to avoid discussing when I’m in public is politics or religion – people hold intensely personal views and wars are fought over both. That said, both Cameron and Corbyn are at the forefront of public speaking and everything they say and the way they say it impacts not only their personal success but the fate of a nation and that’s why it’s so important that they get it right.

Watch the full video here:

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