Here is why Tony Blair was an eloquent speaker

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

“Tony Blair’s (former UK Prime Minister) effectiveness as a speaker came from the overwhelming impression he gave, that even when he contradicted himself, at the moment he spoke a given sentence he believed it in his very sinews.”

This is a quote from a great book by Sam Leith, entitled You Talkin to Me?

In the book Leith explains the various figures of speech. He also deconstructs famous speeches and the technique of famous speakers.

Here are two pieces of information from the book that were memorable to me:

1. A simple, clear explanation of the difference between similie and metaphor. ‘Where similie says one thing is like another, metaphor behaves as if one thing is another. When someone greets his wife “Hello angel” he is using metaphor. When he says his wife is like an angel he is using similie.

2. That in Martin Luther King’s famous Lincoln Memorial I have a dream speech, the ‘I have a dream’ sentence was chosen off the cuff. King had used the sentence in other speeches but he hadn’t planned to use it on the day. (This is an example trying out riffs, turns of phrase  aloud in your interactions, meetings and presentations. Then they become available to you for other speaking events).

If you’re a keen student of oratory, you’ll love this book.

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