Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Auto Cue Geddon: Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

Iain Dale asks whether the day of the autocue is passed. And he wants speaking tips. So here goes ...

Seven Habits of Successful Speech Makers

, write an hour-long speech which is mostly style and with little substance, with that being the sort of old time dog whistles that your audience love.

Second, re-work and re-work and re-work it and learn it verbatim until you have it off pat.

Third, spin only that you are going to speak WITHOUT NOTES. There is no content in the speech anyway, so, yes, spin that it'll be delivered without notes - more or less.

Fourth, make sure you point out you're not using notes at least a couple of times near the top.

Fifth, deliver speech and enjoy the media adulation that despite going into the conference hall naked you have worked your cock and bull off delivering the thing WITHOUT NOTES.

Six, carelessly leave a couple of pages of scribble in camera view and discard them on stage. NB You are a "memory man" so try to remember not to scribble these on the back of your 100% scripted text that you have just spewed out verbatim.

Seven, similarly make sure there are no copies of the whole thing lying around. Discovery of these will blow the idea that you have actually extemporised from a couple of sides of scribble. Or that "mistakes" in fact and syntax are in the heat of the moment. If you are found out on your one spinning point: "Without notes", the lack of substance will become evident.

I've seen Peter Hain making a few speeches in my time. Without notes or autocue and with. In the former cases he has never failed to make a joke about "no heckling" and self aggrandise about his armed Special Branch officers. And he usually drifts or indeed lurches off message rather easily.

While Guido continues to think he single handedly scuppered Mr Hain's deputy leadership challenge I remember a pre-emptive undermining of his prospects at the 2005 Brighton Conference.

There was his own inability to use either of the screens - of the type used to hide himself by a shy future PM in launching his campaign - without moving his whole head, neck, torso, body 45 degrees west or east like the Thunderbirds puppet he inspired (top). But beyond this the script seemed, from his delivery at least, to be alternately stalling and racing.

Lovely work from Gordon's people I thought at the time. You can have all the ostentatious armed body guards you want and still get mugged at the lectern.


jailhouselawyer said...

He could try opening his mouth for starters...

Chris Paul said...

Good point.

tory boys never grow up said...

You missed step 3a - tell Guido the main soundbites from the speech beforehand.

Remember half a mind to vote Tory thats all it takes.