So here I was in hot Abu Dhabi explaining some finer points of public speaking technique to the excellent colleagues of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy:



Nice body language, intensity and eye contact haha.

The chart behind me is intended to convey the Core Idea of my approach. In looking at public speaking and speechwriting I am just not interested in closing the gap between Bad and OK, or OK and Good. Other people can do that.

The challenge is how to take any speech and propel it hard from Very Good towards Amazing. That of course involves the speaker thinking hard about her/his own attitude to risk. And not everyone is ready to take the biggest risks.

The fastest racing drivers go so fast because they have had many crashes and so have learned the hard way how to calculate risks to incredibly small slices of instinct and precision.

So it is with public speaking. Any fule can give a poor or adequate and safe speech. Most of them do. The trick is not to do that.

Luckily the EDA has on board one of the great modern diplomatic masters of taking a risk in a speech. This is how you do it. Think about what’s going on here and why exactly it worked on the day:

Madness? Brilliance? Both? What a triumph! What a miracle no-one in the audience has their ears chopped off!

What do you hear from this amazing introduction about the speaker, the conference, the issues at stake?

Wow. We can do things differently. This is cool. He is cool. We’re all having a good time. More please.

In other words – always leave audiences wanting more.