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After eight years as head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet has bowed out with a speech to an exclusive audience of European dignitaries. His departure comes in the middle of the current financial crisis in the Euro area. And that crisis featured heavily in this heavyweight Trichet Euro speech.

Trichet euro speech
Jean-Claude Trichet Euro Speech Marks His Retirement From The ECB

The beginning of his retirement speech was definitely heavyweight. Because he wanted to put the achievements of the Euro area into a broader perspective his first three sentences were long. So impenetrably long and littered with conditional clauses. He began with a 22 word sentence, moved on to a 39 word sentence and then adjusted to a 28 word sentence. Heavy stuff and he’d hardly got going. Yes, these were the first three sentences of the Trichet euro speech. It’s probably too late for Jean-Claude Trichet, but how you start your speech really does matter.

Long Sentences Characterise Trichet Euro Speech

It did get better. But sentence length remained an issue throughout. Given the heavyweight nature of his audience that was probably not a problem. But the merits of this Trichet speech will not travel much further. In that, his euro speech is comparable, albeit shorter, to the lengthy EU speech of President Barroso.

He’s fond of quotations. So, the Trichet euro speech bristled with the quotations of Jean Monnet, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Alcide De Gasperi. So, we heard:

‘Continue, continue. There is no future for the people of Europe other than in union.’


‘The most important factor, which must prevail on others, is the political will to build the Union.’

Ah, the merits of selective quotation to further the cause of monetary union. Still, his audience included former President Giscard d’Estaing and former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Thus, such enthusiasm was entirely natural.

Euro Speech Gobbledygook

But how about some public speaking gobbledygook? Because beyond the impenetrability of many of his sentences, this Trichet speech was also marked with that mangled style of linguistic complexity that’s the preserve of the European Union:

Whatever the future holds, you can be sure that the ECB Governing Council will continue to be faithful to its primary mandate and that the ECB, together with the Eurosystem, will continue to be an anchor of stability and of confidence.

Can you really argue against that? How about:

I proposed an analogy, to associate the standard measures with the ethic of conviction and the standard measures with the ethic of responsibility. It is equally important to preserve integrity between intention and action, and between action and consequences. Our separation principle proposes a way to preserve both.

You’ll need to say it to yourself a few times before it sinks in, which makes it the perfect place to stop this Euro speech. Farewell then Jean-Claude Trichet.

You can discover lots of top public speaking tips with our series of top tips for public speaking and giving presentations. And once you’ve discovered more than 100 tips, you should find something for every speech occasion. Plus, when you want to give your own public speaking confidence a boost, then why not consider some training? Because a well-planned course will always boost your confidence and public speaking skills. So, when the time is right, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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About the Author

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.

  • […] His latest presentation was to the 2011 European Banking and Financial Forum in Prague today, 29th March 2011. And, of course, it was a timely reminder of the tedious PowerPoint presentations too often served up by central bankers…European and American. Not too dissimilar from the Jean-Claude Trichet Euro speech. […]

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