You can't deny that Theresa May is under considerable pressure. But she managed to appear confident and in control with this MSC 2018 security conference speech in Munich, Germany this morning. Her speech comes only a day or two after that of her colleague, Boris Johnson. And whilst the Foreign Secretary gave a reconciliation speech brimming with vision, the Prime Minister chose security.
However, that's probably a wise choice. She was the Home Secretary for five years and, before then was Shadow Home Secretary whilst in the opposition. So it's a subject that she knows as well as any politician.
And her speech certainly worked. She's still not the most passionate of speakers, and she probably will never be so. But she's competent enough to give such a keynote speech that's been trailed in the media for several weeks.
Reading from a script on the lectern, she started her speech with a date. And that's a fairly typical way to begin such a speech. In fact, it's a real favourite for politicians and business speakers alike.
For more than half a century, this conference has brought nations together from Europe and across the Atlantic to forge our common security.
She gave her security conference speech in a firm and steady fashion. Quite the opposite of her unfortunate conference speech nightmare in the autumn. And while her style remains more stoic than variable, she isn't afraid of rhetoric.
That is why we are the second largest defence spender in NATO, and the only EU member to spend 2 per cent of our GDP on defence as well as 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income on international development. And it is why we will continue to meet these commitments.
It is why we have created a highly developed set of security and defence relationships: with the US and Five Eyes partners, with the Gulf and increasingly with Asian partners too.
But she wasn't about to let rhetoric get in the way of her overriding purpose with this speech.
So as we leave the EU and forge a new path for ourselves in the world, the UK is just as committed to Europe’s security in the future as we have been in the past.
Europe’s security is our security. And that is why I have said – and I say again today - that the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it.
We also heard a familiar position statement. Also a firm favourite with politicians and business people alike.
These people don’t care if they kill and maim Parisians, Berliners, Londoners or Mancunians because it is the common values that we all share which they seek to attack and defeat.
But I say: we will not let them.
In terms of structure, she made very clear to her audience what they could expect. Internal security and external security. And, so, within internal security she gave a three-part list. Then with external security she gave another three-part list. Good structure and good structure signals.
In her conclusion, she again reached for a date. although it was a different date with special resonance for Munich.
It was the tragic massacre at the 1972 Olympics here in Munich which subsequently inspired a British Foreign Secretary, Jim Callaghan, to propose an intergovernmental group aimed at co-ordinating European counter terrorism and policing.
And, then, with her final words, she issued her call to arms.
So let the message ring out loud and clear today: we will not let that happen.
We will together protect and project our values in the world – and we will keep our people safe - now and in the years to come
So, her speech didn't rise to the occasion like a Winston Churchill speech. But this was a solid and comfortable speech from the Prime Minister.
You can read, listen to and watch plenty of top tips with our series of public speaking tips. And, when you want to take your own public speaking skills further you can always consider a public speaking course or a public speaking skills coaching session. When the time is right, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
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+
Boris Conference Speech Is Birmingham Box Office
Be Prepared For Public Speaking Problems
Jeremy Corbyn Speech Stage Managed To Perfection
John McDonnell Conference Speech Proves Radical
Len McCluskey Conference Speech On The Defensive
Cable Conference Speech A Spasm Too Far
No Speech Is Better Than Any Speech For Tom Watson
Know Your Speech Audience
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.