Browse Category: Making speeches

Getting selected using storytelling – a 3 minute speech

ID-100113699The 3 Minute Speech

I have been talking to lots of clients recently about 3 minute speeches. Selection speeches for clients wanting to become parliamentary candidates.  The speeches used to be 10 minutes before the 2005 election. Before the 2010 election they were all dropped to 5 minutes. Most associations now ask for 3 minute speeches. Or sneakily they say there will be no speech. Until the hopefuls arrive and the Association Chairman asks them to speak for 3 minutes about why they would be a good candidate. So a 3 minute speech.

Introductions have to be short and grab the audience. Personal stories need to be slimmed down to the essentials. Humour and passion and great delivery are usually mandatory. Beginnings and endings need to be practised. Of course local knowledge needs to be displayed too – without it clunking around as a tick-list.

Crafting a Speech

Churchill famously said something along the lines of being able to give an hour long speech off the cuff, a ten minute speech needing a day’s preparation and a five minute speech needing days of work. If Churchill conceded he needed days for a 5 minute speech – normal people will need more work to craft a winning 3 minute speech.

This 4 minute speech by Mark Bezos shows you how to pause and enjoy rather than rattle, how to smile and engage, how to be self-deprecatingly funny, how to take your job seriously but not yourself and how to use a personal story to make a powerful point. It is brilliant in every way and deserves the standing ovation and the cheers at the end. It is a lesson in storytelling – politicians and business people should watch and learn.

(Praise should also be given to for their collaboration with WordPress making embedding a video easy enough for me to do!)

eam Peter Botting CPC2014 Curryphoto

Conservative Party Conference – guest post by Danny Bowman

A Guest Post by Danny Bowman who is interning for Peter Botting.

This week in Birmingham was my second Conservative Party conference and the last conference before the General Election in 2015.

We arrived on the Saturday – Sam, myself and Peter. We joined the councillors and activists, the blue rinse brigade, the ambitious/naive/thirsty CF’ers, the lobbyists, charities, businesses and the media. The Hyatt was busy from the first night with old friends meeting up, everyone offering their shiny new business cards (I did that a lot too!) and most people enjoying a good drink. Or two. 🙂

The first day saw the annual “Hate the Torys” march – happily I didn’t hear of any violence this year. We didn’t get in the hall as Peter was focusing on the fringe events and it was my job to get him from one event to the next – which was not always easy as he keeps meeting people and I have to chase him to keep to his schedule.

Mark Reckless’s defection actually invigorated the conference and the mood seemed very buoyant from day one – and then improved. Dunkirk spirit etc.

Then saw the start of the real action with major speeches from all the Ministers. Theresa May, George Osborne, William Hague (his last speech to conference) and David Cameron were always going to be the big ticket speeches for conference. And they were all top quality. Theresa and George were serious people giving serious speeches about serious jobs. Boris was very funny and very cheeky – teasing both Theresa May and David Cameron. William Hague was classic William Hague – funny, self-deprecating and grown up. David Cameron gave the best speech he has ever given – most notable about his speech though was the huge difference between him and Ed Miliband. One is Prime Minister material – one is not. In fact, if Miliband was a Conservative it is doubtful that he would even be a PPS.

The final day saw David Cameron’s speech started with referencing the successful Scottish referendum then moved onto a fierce warning to British citizens fighting for Isis/ISIL as being “enemies of the UK”. He teased and praised William Hague, showed real anger about Labour’s attacks on his attitude to the NHS and outlined a series of significant tax cuts for people earning less than £50 000 including no income tax for people earning the minimum wage.

This was my second conference. I was working instead of playing. I drank less and listened more. This conference was very different to last year. People were much more accepting of mental health and accepting of me. In fact, for many of the people I spoke to, mental health seemed an absolutely normal and non-stigma issue to talk about.

We managed to find time to go for a curry – at Sam’s insistence. It was the best curry I have ever had. I asked for the mildest curry while Peter and Sam tried out something much hotter! Even Sam rated his curry as the tie-first place curry he has ever had and he is quite fussy and critical about food!

eam Peter Botting CPC2014 Curryphoto

Conservative Party Conference – David Cameron speech: Unanimously approved.

The David Cameron speech was eagerly awaited by his critics. He disappointed them. David Cameron’s speech was a speech of balance and political stability. It was not an aggressive table thump nor was it a dull and uninteresting lecture. Cameron’s speech was not an unrelenting attack on Labour, nor was it an unimaginitive list of policy details. It was a well written and well executed speech. Personal details were used to back up arguments, not to score points. He rightly got angry about Labour’s deceit about his attitude to the NHS, he applauded the saving of the United Kingdom and Ruth Davidson’s role in the campaign. He aggressively made it clear to British citizens fighting for ISIS that they had declared their allegiance, that they were enemies of the UK and would be treated as such.

He warned off defectors. encouraged with tax cuts for all who earn less than £50 000 a year, claimed back Conservative territory when speaking about modern day slavery, zero hours contracts and the NHS.

It was a Prime Minister giving a Prime Minister’s speech and luckily the media are now noticing and reporting on the difference between him and Miliband. Miliband is not even a competent socialist. He is a kid pretender. Without even charm or bravado. Just union money and uninspired Labour members. God help us and the world if he ever gets into Downing Street with anything more than a Visitor’s Pass.

I saw David Cameron’s first major speech – when he was bidding to be Leader. That was a great speech without notes. IT won him then leadership of the Conservative Party. This time he spoke from notes. This was a serious speech about serious times – a Prime Minister’s speech. He may well have changed the outcome of the General Election in 2015 with this speech.


Conservative Party Conference – Jeremy Hunt NHS

Jeremy Hunt NHS.

Jeremy Hunt walked out on the stage and looked and sounded a little like a wooden puppet when he started. He is in charge of a huge organisation that has huge emotional connections with the majority of the population. It also has a huge, powerful, educated and articulate union of Doctors who also has its own agenda. No surprise really then. A scary gig.

He warmed up, he told stories about real people. I have worked for Aidan Burley who is the MP for Cannock Chase and we have met patient survivors from Staffordshire Hospital and relatives of those who didn’t survive. I have heard their stories first hand and seen their pictures and their files. They are shocking in a visceral physical way. They are a shame on the NHS and the guilty people who worked there and it is right that these issues are being addressed by this government. They are also a shame and indictment on the Labour government that saw those things happen.

I was pleased he also mentioned dementia and mental health – although I think we could and should do more in these areas. But at least – because of David Cameron’s priorities – we are spending more on the NHS than Labour promised to do last week.

Conservative Party Conference – Philip Hammond: Foreign Secretary but never party leader.

Philip Hammond: Foreign Secretary but never party leader.

Like a lot of conference speeches Philip Hammond’s speech sounded more like a wannabe party leader than a cabinet member. To be fair to Hammond this is a difficult thing to avoid when discussing foreign affairs. A Foreign Secretary is required to discuss Britain’s role in the rest of the world and what the country as a whole can do to help others. When discussing the country in relation to the rest of the world it is very easy to begin to sound more like the leader of the that country – whether they wish to or not.

However Philip Hammond has an air around him that feels that he considers himself a front-runner for the party leadership. Obviously anyone as high up as Hammond is expected to at least get a look in as the next party leader, but when it comes down to it and he is facing the likes of the formidable and strategic politicians such as May, Gove, Osbourne and Boris, he is likely to be left in their dust.

There is no doubt that he is competent and is a self-made man outside politics. But unlike the Labour Party, the Conservative Party has a few football teams full of self-made people. The competition is so much tougher in the Conservative Party – the calibre of MPs and Ministers is simply higher. Hammond is the sort of guy of guy you want in Cabinet – but not necessarily leading it.

Conservative Party Conference – Boris and his Brick

Boris and his Brick

Boris Johnson’s speech at Conservative Party Conference was the kind of speech we have all come to expect from Boris. Both Boris and his Brick were funny and energetic. He simultaneously attacked Miliband and poked fun at Cameron – perhaps the only mainstream Conservative politician who can get away with that unscathed. He teased Theresa May too – cheeky and naughty kid style.

As in previous years he discussed how grand and  inspiring London is via amusing quips and anecdotes – he is a great ambassador for the city. Boris has never been one to talk about policy detail, he prefers to focus on the positives and the future and the trajectory, rather than macroeconomic policy – never mind microeconomic!

He may be called a buffoon by the opposition and the ignorant but Boris is exceptionally bright, ridiculously hardworking, very funny and is a master of delivery and playing to his strengths. He has personality and the much sought after authenticity. He is the closest thing to political Hollywood Britain has – even the most dreary conference events had queues outside if Boris was speaking at them. Many lobbying groups could save their dubiously named “refreshments” (aka expensive awful wine and mediocre-even-when-they-left-the-kitchen canapés) if they could only secure Boris as a speaker.

Conservative Party Conference – Theresa May stays on point.

Theresa May stays on point.

Theresa May’s conference speech was remarkable. It was remarkable in comparison to all the other conference speeches as Conservative Party Conference. The most remarkable thing about the speech – Theresa May stays on point. This may sound strange but cast your mind back to all the other speeches. How many discussed the economic recovery, deficit reduction, campaign strategy or Ed Miliband’s speech? How many cabinet members talked about subjects which are not in their brief? How many minister’s use their conference speech as an opportunity to get on their soap box and give their piece about a whole host of issues? Theresa May did not do this. She discussed what she was there to talk about – Home affairs. She talked about security, terrorism and crime and did not waste time discussing other departments and other minister’s work.

By doing this Theresa May shows that she is leadership material – she can show that she will get down and do the job she is given, no point scoring or petty party politics, just hard work and a commitment to getting the job done. May probably did not go out to give a leader’s speech, but by delivering a speech that stayed on point, she was able to sound even more like the next Tory leader than the rest.

Of course, she has given a far more wide-ranging speech before at the ConHome conference a few years back. But this speech was all about showing how good she is, how competent our Home Office Minister has been. This position is normally a poison chalice. A terrible job concerned with terrible issues. She has performed well and has probably been in the job for as long as anyone else – ever. Her reputation is better 4 years after getting than the job than when she was appointed. Theresa May is not flash and funny like Boris. But she is competent. Which Angela Merkel has shown is a positive attribute amongst voters.

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