A couple of years ago we jokingly offered the then-Prime Minister as a media/presentation trainer. Needless to say he didn’t respond to that offer. But this morning, reading that he is charging a ‘small fortune’ for four speeches he is to give staff at a London hedge fund, I was relieved he didn’t!
He’s signed up to deliver four speeches for Lansdowne Partners (whose founders include Paul Ruddock, a major Conservative donor no less) on geo-political issues this year, on a reported fee of nearly £400,000. So along with Bill Clinton, that makes him the most expensive person on the speech-making circuit.
His spokesman has defended the fee saying “Mr Blair remains one of the most popular international speakers around.” Hmm, I’m not so sure about that…
Anyhow, definitely nice work if you can get it. Want to follow in his footsteps? Here’s a mini guide to public speaking, Tony Blair style…
1. Use phrases like ‘You know…’, ‘guys’, and make sure your rounded public school vowels have an edge of estuary to them. You guessed it – it’ll make the public think make the interviewer think ‘he’s just a regular guy, like me’.
2. Use pacing and pauses to hold an audience and get your points across. However, if you take it too far it can be perceived by cynical people not as deep-felt sentiment, but scarcely-veiled contempt (see speech endorsing Gordon Brown).
3. In response to a tricky question from your audience: Stop, angle your head, and say ‘look’… then carry on. This is intended to make them think ‘he’s just a regular guy, like me’.
4. Use your hands sparingly and never use a single finger to underscore a point, or you come across like, well, John Prescott. Never use your fists for similar reasons.