At the end of April 2014, Lord Lawson of Blaby gave a speech to the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment at the University of Bath, in England. His being the Chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lawson’s pronouncements on the subject of climate change usually excite a degree of interest, and this occasion was no exception.
You should not be too alarmed by the indication at the foot of the video that it lasts for nearly an hour and a half. Lawson’s speech ends at 46:30, and the rest is questions – quite robust ones by the way.
At the outset, Lawson asks for his briefcase, which had been placed in the care of someone else. He is duly delivered his script, from which he reads the entire speech. Some might say that he is not making a speech so much as presenting a paper, and I would tend to agree. The process that we witness is in every sense that of a talking head. We would get more out of it if we each were to read that paper to ourselves (till the onset of the questions). That way our minds would process the information at our own pace and rhythm, rather than his, with consequent greater understanding of what is argued. It’s the same phenomenon that makes the film of a book almost invariably inferior to the book.
If you would rather read it yourself, here is a transcript.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I would greatly prefer him not to have used a script. Using paper, even if as skilfully as Lawson, instantly robs your delivery of a substantial part of its persuasiveness.They will also expect me to claim that I could have enabled him to have dispensed with it, though they might not believe it.
One man, who would probably not have believed it last Wednesday, did a course with me on Thursday. He is a senior executive in a well-known British company. On Saturday he sent me an email. I have not sought his permission to identify him so I shall not do so.
What I failed to highlight on Thursday was that on Friday I was hosting an all day workshop with senior members of the xxxxxxxx team. I had been having kittens for weeks. Through the time in your course I was mentally whittling down the workshop from 20 slides, to 6, to 2. That’s what I slept on, and eventually I conducted an 8 hour workshop with no slides and no notes. I launched the day with a James Bond opening (an icebreaker) followed by a 15 minute speech on why we were there. A speech with purpose! What followed was a very lively and interesting workshop. I could not have done it without you. You switched a light on, and I hope I can keep it alight in future presentations.