Speak like a leader | Simon Lancaster | TEDxVerona


Translator: Irina Lutsenko
Reviewer: Ellen Maloney Speech writing must be one
of the weirdest jobs in the world. No matter how carefully
the words have been prepared, you are never quite sure
how they are gonna be delivered. Yesterday, I was in London, and I was watching one of my clients,
who is a big Australian businessman, deliver a speech that I’d written for him. I’d written for him this passage,
kind of with Winston Churchill in mind, about how we’ve got to
fight for our future, fight to protect our position,
fight our competitors. And I’d forgotten
about the Australian accent. And I watched from the back of the room
with horror as I saw him go, “We’ve got to ‘fart’ for our future,
‘fart’ to protect our position, and I’ll tell you what, folks,
when I wake up every morning, there is one thing I know for sure
I’m gonna do that day; ‘fart’!” (Laughter) (Applause) So today I’m gonna share with you
some speechwriter secrets. I don’t know whether you know this, but there is a secret
language of leadership; a secret language of leadership
that we all used to be taught at school. Ancient rhetoric. This was a core part of the curriculum
in Ancient Rome, part of the trivium. In London, right the way
through to the 19th century, it was possible to get a free education
in rhetoric, but not in mathematics, reflecting the importance
that was placed on the topic. Today, teaching in rhetoric is restricted;
restricted to a powerful, privileged few. So what I’m gonna do in my speech
is revive this ancient art of rhetoric and share with you six techniques
so that you can all speak like leaders. So right, okay, stop. Right, stop listen. Look left, look right, look center. How are you feeling? Distressed? Anxious? Little bit edgy? That’s because I’m mimicking,
hyperventilating. This is the authentic sound of fear, and that fear transfers to you. This is an ancient Roman
rhetorical device; they used to call it asyndeton. And it’s one leaders still use today. So David Cameron uses it: “Broken homes, failing schools, sink estates.” Tony Blair used to use it as well: “Education, education. education.” Barack Obama too: “A world at war, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis
in a generation. Why three? Well, three is the magic number in rhetoric. “Government of the people,
by the people, for the people.” (In German)
“One people, one empire, one leader.” (In Italian)
“Eat well, laugh often, love much.” (Applause) That was the hardest part
of this speech to practice, so thank you for the applause. This is also an ancient Roman
rhetorical device. They used to call it tricolon, which makes it sound like
a peculiar part of the digestive system. But it’s just putting things in threes. You put your argument in threes, it makes it sound more compelling,
more convincing, more credible. Just like that. And so we find the rule of three
here, there, and everywhere. And so indeed you can tell
the history of Verona through nothing more
than the rule of three. If you think that Caesar
used to come here 2,000 years ago, “Veni, vidi, vici.” 400 years ago, Shakespeare wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” which was set here. “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” But of course, far and away the most momentous
event in Verona’s history – today’s TEDx; “Reinvent. Rethink. Relay.” Right. Let’s move on; number two. (Applause) Three sentences in which
the opening clause is repeated. Now this is what
Winston Churchill did with his, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields
and in the streets.” Of course, he could have said this
a whole lot quicker. But he wanted to communicate
his emotion, so he repeated it. When we are emotional about things,
our perspective distorts. And this then manifests in our speech. And so this is
the authentic sound of passion. I love Verona. I love Italy. I love pasta. I love tiramisu. I love all of you. I love the excitement, I love the energy, I love the enthusiasm here in this room; Are you feeling my passion? You should be because I am a speech writer
and I know how to make a point. It sweeps people away. And this is why this technique is used by
slick salesmen and by market traders. “I’m not asking £20, I’m not asking £15, I’m not even asking 10 pounds.” It sweeps people onto the next point,
which is free balance in statements. “Ask not what your country
can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” “There is nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured
by what’s right with America.” “To be or not to be.” If the sentence sounds
as if it’s balanced, we imagine that the underlying
thinking is balanced, and our brain is tuned
to like things that are balanced. Balanced minds,
balanced diets, balanced lives. And so we are drawn
to these kinds of sentences, we are attracted to them even if
that balance is actually just an illusion. Like, we’re looking
to the future, not the past. We’re working together,
not against one another. We’re thinking about what we can do,
not what we can’t. Now let’s move on to number four. Metaphor. Metaphor is probably the most powerful
piece of political communication. But it’s the bit no one ever talks about,
the elephant in the room, so to speak, which is extraordinary because we use
metaphor once every 16 words on average. So our conversation is littered
with metaphors, scattered with metaphors. We can’t speak for very long
without reaching for a metaphor, and metaphors are very loaded. See, metaphors are all over the place, and they are political
in that they are used by people to lead people towards things,
or indeed to make them recoil. And so we use beautiful images,
images of people, images of love, images of family, of sunshine,
in order to draw people towards things, and we use disgusting images-
vermin, scary monsters, disease, sickness, in order to make people recoil. And they’re all lies,
and they are never challenged. And yet they have an enormous impact
on the way that people behave and respond. There’s been research showing
changing nothing more than the metaphor in a piece of text can lead to fundamentally
different reactions from people on questions ranging from whether or not
they’ll invest in a company, whether or not they will back
particular crime policies to even whether or not
they’ll support a foreign war. And so this is really important stuff.
and it’s all around us. So let me just take
three of the big metaphors – three is the magic number – three of the big metaphors
that are around at the moment. “The Arab Spring”. You’ve all heard of The Arab Spring. You can’t talk about what’s going on in the Middle East
without calling it an Arab Spring. “The Arab Spring”. Sun’s shining, flowers blooming. This is a time of regrowth,
rebirth, rejuvenation. And yet it’s a big lie, isn’t it? Even the most optimistic,
geopolitical experts look at the Middle East and say this is going to take
two generations to recover. It’s not an Arab Spring;
it’s an Arab Inferno. Take another one; “The Calais Jungle”. Now this a phrase
that has really taken root, metaphorically speaking,
in the last year or so. If you Google “Calais” and “jungle,”
you get 70 million results. If you google “Calais” and “croissant,”
you get just half a million results. And what’s the image
this is planting in your mind? It’s planting in your mind the idea
that migrants are like wild animals, to be afraid of, they are dangerous,
they represent a threat to you. And this is a very dangerous metaphor
because this is the language of genocide, it’s the language of hate. It’s the same metaphor that Hitler used
against the Jews depicting them as snakes. It’s the same language which was used
in Rwandan genocide by the Hutu against the Tutsi;
they were described as cockroaches. And so it should be
of intense concern to us that this is a phrase that is being used
now by the mainstream media to talk about some of the most
vulnerable people on our planet. Let’s take one more;
“The financial storm”. The financial storm
for the financial crisis. Was the financial crisis
really an act of nature as the storm metaphor suggests? So it has nothing to do
with greedy bankers? Or timid politicians? Or ineffective regulators? The storm plants
a phoney image in our minds that this is something
that just swept in, naturally and equally, will just sweep away
with no need for action on our parts. It’s a big lie. Pope Francis knows that it’s a big lie. And so he doesn’t speak
using the financial storm metaphor. He has a different metaphor. He talks about
the dung heap of capitalism. And so there he is using
the metaphor of shit, which is wonderful because
what he is calling for, he is demanding a clean-up
of the whole system. And this is a metaphor
that every human being on the planet can instantly understand,
will be instantly disgusted by, and this is a metaphor
that can get a giggle from time to time. So falling into this
metaphorical space is one that some of our funnier politicians
do from time to time. Boris Johnson, back in the UK, he’s talked about how the labor leader emanated from the bowels
of the trade union movement. In my time working in government we had Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
described as two cheeks of the same arse. And Ronald Reagan once talked about
government as a baby with a huge appetite at one end, no sense of responsibility
at the other. So let’s move on to number five. Exaggeration. When we’re emotional,
our perspective distorts. This manifests in our speech. And people who are emotional
about something will therefore go over the top. So, “My god, I’ve been waiting
to give this talk my whole life. I didn’t sleep at all last night, and I am going to give
my heart and soul to you.” Okay, these are all
exaggerative statements. Leaders do this kind
of stuff all the time. You might think it’s out of order,
but in actual fact, exaggeration is just part and parcel
of ordinary conversation. So they’re just replicated
in the kind of things that we do naturally when we do that. Let’s move on to number six; rhyme. There is research
showing people are more likely to believe something is true if it rhymes
than if it does not rhyme, which feels absurd but it’s down to
what linguists talk about as the processing fluency of language;
how easy is language to swallow? If you speak using
long words and long sentences, it’s like giving someone a steak
and asking them to swallow it. Whereas if you give them
something pithy, like a rhyme, it’s like asking them
to just sip on some Prosecco. And we learn things through rhymes
from the moment that we’re toddlers. “One, two, buckle my shoe.” And so rhymes are signifiers
of truth in our society, so they can often be used
therefore to conceal fallacies. I don’t know if any of you
remember the OJ Simpson case. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Yeah? “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It sounds simple, it sounds true, but my god we could save
some healthcare spending if that really was up to it, wasn’t it? Another one in the UK; we all learn spelling through this line
“I before E, except after C,” which would be great if only it were true. But it’s complete nonsense. There’s just 44 examples of words
in which that’s true. There’s 900 examples of words
in which it is not true. I once presented this to a room
full of people who worked in the city, and they said, “Oh yeah, we’ve got one;
you’ve got to speculate to accumulate.” Argh! Maybe the whole financial crisis
was predicated on a rhyming fallacy. If only the bankers had been going around
saying to one another, “Speculation leads to liquidation,” perhaps, we wouldn’t have been
in this mess that we are in. So there we go. There are the six steps. And using these six steps you can make
the most absurd arguments sound plausible. Why? If you’re into ancient rhetoric, because they work their way through
ethos, pathos, logos. If you prefer thinking about persuasion
in terms of neuroscience, they work because they speak to the instinctive,
emotional, and logical reins. And so I’m gong to demonstrate this now. I’d like one of you to throw me an issue. And I will jam a speech out for you;
I will improvise the speech. So who would like to suggest
a topic for me to… Seriously, go on. (Audience yell out) Donald Trump? (Laughter) (Applause) Do you want me to go for or against? For or against? (Audience yell out) For. (Laughter) Right. Plain-speaking. Honest. Authoritative. America’s been waiting for someone to grab it by the scruff
of its neck, and pick it up. America’s been waiting for a politician
who can dare to tell the truth. America’s been waiting for someone
who can really show leadership. Trump’s being knocked
by the liberal establishment, but he is winning support from the people. That’s because he is not spinning;
he is telling it like it is. And he’s not just speaking
to America at its heart, but he is speaking to a truth
across the world now. The world has been waiting
for enlightenment from someone like Trump for a long while now. And I tell you what, all of us here in Verona today, we ought to be thanking our lucky stars
that for once we’ve got genuine political debate
taking place in the United States. Maybe, who knows, we might get
something like this in Europe one day. Stranger things have happened. So… If you think about Trump
that he is someone we should dump, then to all of you in the EU,
I say, “Fuck you!” (Laughter) (Applause) Thank you. I would just like to make it
absolutely clear for the record, I think we should dump Trump. (Laughter) (Applause) He is a chump. Thank you. It’s a playful exercise, but the point
I am making here is very serious. The reason we all used to learn
rhetoric at school was because it was seen
as a basic entry point to society. How could society be fair, unless everyone had equal ability
to articulate and express themselves? Without it, your legal systems, your political systems,
your financial systems are not fair. And so it should be
of intense concern to all of us that education in this has been narrowed
to a very small and powerful elite. In Britain, there is one school
that teaches rhetoric, and that is Eton. 19 of our last 50 Prime Ministers
went to this school. So did our current Mayor of London,
so did our Archbishop of Canterbury. It is absolutely scandalous that when in the world we’re dealing
with such huge challenges – financial inequalities,
the apocalyptic threat of climate change, religious persecution
unmatched since the 1940s, – that we should be restricting debate
to such a narrow minority. Instead of teaching our children
to sit down and shut up, we should be teaching them
to stand up and speak out. So let’s revive rhetoric. Let’s really reinvigorate
debate around the world, and let’s really give every child
on the planet a chance to become a leader. What should we call this grand initiative? Well, here is an idea. How about “democracy”? (Applause) Thank you.

100 thoughts on “Speak like a leader | Simon Lancaster | TEDxVerona”

  1. The talker says that these rhetorical devices help to make our speech being accepted or trusted by the others, even if our speech is something wrong. He should have said that we need to use this rhetorical devices to get only true message straight.

  2. I like this speaker because of the relevance of the content of the topic-"Speaking like Leaders," and how he use the materials he had at hand. The body phonetics, the changing timber of voice, even history of speakers and their immortal quotes. Nice…I like it.

  3. Interesting so far, but the financial crisis was not due to greedy bankers, timid politicians, or ineffective regulators. The system was broken. The individuals making the loans did not have to bear the risk of those loans. If they did, then they wouldn't make loans that are too risky because they would lose their money; it's common sense.

  4. just curious why is there some people in the audience wearing headphones is there a translator or something for them? also great video thank you for sharing

  5. He's an excellent guide to public speaking (speaking from my own experience). Wise words in the end; schools of rhetoric must be available for all children whose future is in their hands because adults failed them.

  6. Wonderful person with a professional presentation.
    I Can not have enough of this speech.
    Thank you for this Gift.

  7. We should dump trump , interesting use of rhyming words to subvert political conversation with sloganeering rhetoric 🙂

  8. Wish he didn't use his platform to teach as a political soapbox. He unfortunately couldn't help himself to forcing his political opinion on the audience. As a speaker this is a big no no and by the crowds reaction thru most of it he lost half the audience. Maybe he should go to the next room to the public speaking seminar. He had the content but was a very unprofessional in his delivery.

  9. The reason the United States thrives is because we are a constitutional Republic, NOT a democracy. Rhetoric is for those who wish to manipulate, policies are for those who lead! Aim to help others, not promote some rhetoric.

  10. This was so good! This has actually made me think how as writers we've automatically learnt this way of writing by reading so many classical books by celebrated writers! Still in love with Charles Dickens. <3

  11. Oh well, he was good til he bashed Trump. Not agreeing is OK, being a chump about it means he is not authentic.

  12. this guy had my full engagement the whole video. Some of my instructors could stand to learn a few things from him also the dump trump he's a chump rhyme was too freaking funny, im gonna be using that one for sure

  13. Thumbs up until he said dump Trump. I wouldnt like Trump either if I was from Britan and Trump had just leveled the economic warfare Britan has been waging on the US for decades. Self serving, Unnerving, and not politically swerving.

  14. Interesting method of "being a leader". However this guy appears more like an extrovert. We can't judge people's leadership style by whether adopting these techniques at all as there are certainly introverted leaders who might focus more on how things really are rather than how they drag people's attention. If only there was no sort of "determinator" for "style" for being leaders, the contents and ideas themselves are more worthwhile to be seen.

  15. That awkward moment where his pro-trump applause was about 30% more than his anti-Trump applause in Verona, Italy.

  16. I wonder of those that are listening during the moment he improvised the last words rhymed because the bold guy did not look like he’s having fun

  17. Apart from songs, this is possibly the only video I've watched repeatedly. Brilliant, from start to finish

  18. He does not recite the COMPLETE spelling rule: "I before E except after C, OR when sounded as A, as in neighbor or weigh."

  19. Trump is your daddy. Why so saddy? He ate your breakfast, he ate your lunch and he ate your dinner. Dont be pissy, vote for Trump, sissy

  20. I guess this is just another example of how TEDx is a crutch for the Socialists agenda. Why must there always be a political agenda in academia these days? Sad.

  21. Here's to the gentleman of Verona, the smart-suited tiger in tiger's clothing, the sweet talking, power broking Bugsy Malone of mixed metaphors, the clean shoed walker of dreams (Oh god that's four things…) . Beyond excellent with wonderful warm delivery though we should remember that these are the tools of persuasion to be used for good or bad, and best when mixed with genuine passion, compassion and meaning.

  22. the audience wasn't so responsive maybe they like the illusion and don't want to know how it's done.

  23. You said “It’s not an Arab spring it’s an Arab inferno” 😢 and I say “there will be spring there will be rebirth and there will be regeneration” 🤲🏼

  24. ah the tenents of persuasion.. only usefull when you have so thing to say.
    europe and the united states are under attack my thenequater.. ultra fast breeding peoples who do not share our values, religion or genetics. they destroyed theor countries, now flee to take from us. yea for real. PLuS the planet is already full.. its adding carbon all the time.. headed toward carbon asphoxiation. SO we absolutly must i pliment global 2 child per family "incentives". go ahead and have three.. some dont have any.. but the money wont be as good as 2. finally.. the e.u. is dragging its southern states.. trade deficites must be repaid.. not loaned back.. if you share a common currency then its repaid at the end of the year.. or states die. a loan can never be repaid. and interest is even more absurd. portugal, italy spain greece..are loosing money because of the centrality of the german industrial complex.. if you want consumers, you'll need to repay the TINEY trade imbalance.. about 1%. just food for though.. also equality is rubbish. brown people in the u.s. are 20 ti,es more likley to kill whites than reverse.

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