The occasion of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement proved a great opportunity to watch, listen and take in a serious economics presentation.
But it wasn’t the Chancellor’s words we followed. No, our interest was with Robert Chote, Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
His presentation to a room full of journalists and commentators followed the main Autumn Statement by George Osborne, the Chancellor.
Mr Chote is no politician. In fact this presentation marked the suspension, momentarily, of politics. This was economics. Financial oversight. Academic rigour.
The presenter, supported by his team, was as prepared as any professional politician. His presentation pack ran to several documents including a very lengthy and unexciting PowerPoint presentation.
His presentation was full to bursting (FTB) with bullet points, facts, figures, three letter abbreviations (TLAs) and observations. The PowerPoint charts were numerous but proved particularly hard to view, because of the lack of contrast. Note to the PowerPoint slide team at the OBR, light blue doesn’t make a good slide background.
His speaker notes for the presentation comprised a fully-prepared speech complete with the slide annotations. This showed prior preparation.
But it also ensured that Mr Chote read the words in his presentation with little intonation. Yes, we must remember he’s not the politician. His task is that of prudential oversight! He kept on track, he didn’t deviate, nor did he stumble too obviously.
But there were some absolute jargon classics littering his speech. Among others we had:
We had “squeezed”, but not a “squeezed middle.”
This was a heavyweight presentation whose timing owed everything to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Its heavyweight nature undoubtedly appealed to the financial journalists present, but would probably have lost many others along the way.
Because of that, its value will be in its re-telling and explaining. And that’s where the politics will start again.
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+