“Best Speech of all Time” howled the strap-line. “Oh yeah?” I thought, “how many times have I seen that claim?”
With the thousands of speeches I’ve watched on line I couldn’t estimate how many were heralded by superlatives, but I could count on one hand how many lived up to them. The best speeches tend to speak for themselves rather than asking clickbait headlines to do it for them.
He’s speaking about leadership. I can remember only one previous speech on this blog, claiming specifically to train leaders. That speaker wouldn’t recognise leadership qualities if they stood up in her soup. I have better expectations this time.
Regular readers of this blog will immediately know my first impression.
Bald opening + shooting from the hip = proper speaker.
But there’s much more to support that. He is manifestly far more focussed on his message, his audience, and how the one is influencing the other, than he is on himself. That indicates the ideal speaker’s mindset, but there’s more still. His material is beautifully constructed for maximum digestibility. His mix of Need-to-Know and Nice-to-Know, hard data leavened by illustrative anecdotage and parallels, is really masterly. He’s a joy to watch.
My problem is that, with a blog to write and my rhetor instincts glowing from the quality I am witnessing, I have no time to reflect on his arguments, though what I have registered deserves reflection. I must remember to return to listen again at my leisure.
So is it the best speech of all time? No, of course not. The nature of this medium means that there can never be such a thing, but it is really very good indeed.