The London 2012 Paralympics haven’t started yet but the competition is already underway in Westminster. That’s despite the fact that most politicians have left their Westminster seats for a few months holiday, well away from the madding crowds in London. But London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister were back in London this week to launch the London 2012 Paralympics with a short ceremony in Trafalgar Square. And some Paralympics speeches.
There’s a keen sense of competition between the two.
That’s no surprise given their respective jobs and the fact that the London Mayor has the highest personal vote of any elected Tory politician in the country. That’s the UK electoral system for you.
Their sparring yesterday took the form of a photo-shoot and their respective Paralympics speeches. They have their own recognisably distinct style of public speaking.
Boris Johnson speeches are direct and flamboyant…and carry a sense that he could run away on a tangent at any time. David Cameron speeches brim with rhetorical devices and art…and appear controlled at all times.
Yesterday’s speeches at the launch of the London Paralympics were no exception.
We heard Boris in full flight:
That was just the antipasto of what is going to be a summer long banquet of sport
His speech oozed fun and jollity. He received a huge cheer at its start and continued to get the laughs and cheers as he continued with the short speech delivered with notes.
It was obvious that his speech had been researched using either Google or the BBC’s “On This Day” page. But it worked.
In contrast to his assumed competitor, the Prime Minister David Cameron received a smaller cheer before his speech at the lighting of the Paralympics cauldron. Even he noticed it and grimaced.
His speech oozed class and style which was expected. His audience was treated to a range of rhetorical devices and techniques…that were probably lost given all the excitement.
But his speech also included passion and substance:
Why? Because being a Paralympian takes an extra measure of guts and steel. A lot of the athletes arriving in London would have been told from a young age about everything they can’t do – and they decided to throw everything into what they can do, whether that’s smashing a ball over the net, running on prosthetics or swimming faster than the rest.
Two fine speeches of contrasting style to start the Paralympics.
When you need more help to get your speeches alight, you can always turn to our series of public speaking tips. And, of course, when you are ready for more tips and suggestions you can always opt for a public speaking course or a public speaking coaching session. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch when the time is right.
Telling It Straight is our very own public speaking tips newsletter. Packed with skills tips to help you with your next speech, why not receive it this month?
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+
Brexit Reconciliation Speech By Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Speech Lifts Conference
Bombshell Ruling Out Speech From Boris
Boris EU Speech Targets the Economic Case
Mayor’s Speech Rains On Eurozone Parade
Jeremy Corbyn Speech Is The Indefinite Article
Christmas Quiz 2017
How Long Should Your Speech Be?
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.