Christopher DeMuth breathing

The previous posting, featuring Douglas Murray, was from a National Conservativism Conference held in Rome in February 2020. The Chairman of the conference was Christopher DeMuth, Sr.

He’s showing symptoms of Hump. The existence of hump is not the problem – everyone has that – but I’m concerned that the audience might notice. Someone like me spies stuff that would escape most audiences, but his quick shallow breathing is a little conspicuous. The reason that matters is that a speaker’s first task is to relax the audience, which in turn relaxes the speaker. If the audience is made aware of the speaker’s nerves it will remain edgy, which causes negative feedback that prolongs the hump. If I were advising him, I’d recommend an habitual regime of very slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing for at least the last minute before beginning every speech. It’s very relaxing, slows the pulse, sets a breathing pace whose influence will probably last throughout the speech, and can be done in full view of the hall because it is invisible.

I’d also recommend dispensing with a script, but then I always recommend that. In DeMuth’s case here the script is serving to extend his hump. More crucially it is unnecessary. 

When preparing to feature a speaker new to me, I habitually look for other examples of their speaking seeking trends and comparisons. In DeMuth’s case I found myself watching this keynote speech from 2015. In that case, though there seemed to be a script on the lectern, he broke free of it far more frequently and proceeded to shoot from the hip. On that occasion his hump was very discreet and much shorter. Furthermore, largely unhampered by paper, he did a much better job of engaging with that audience. That speech lasted an hour, whereas this is less than seven minutes. He absolutely doesn’t need a script, and it inhibits him.

It’s an important speech: a valuable speech. He’s given it an excellent Face: “Adios Davos”. And there’s also one sentence I particularly like, coming at 5:40.

We national patriots can get along with each other just fine.

That’s so true: if you can’t love your own country without hating other people’s then you’re doing it wrong.

He closes with a lovely triad. I won’t spoil it.