I’ve rewritten your speech, Mr. Blair.

So here it is: here’s my PDF, rewriting Tony Blair’s Rise Up Speech – as given at Bloomberg, on 17th February. Why rewrite it? Well, this version redresses the balance between substance and soundbites.

Mr. Blair’s speech was all substance, no soundbites. That makes it hard to get a reaction – or results.

If you’re covering a subject this pervasive, and important and complex … if your speech poses 50 – excellent – questions… then your primary target audience won’t have the inclination and your Daily Mail readers are unlikely to have the intellect to react the way you’d intended or hoped they would.

Sometimes it’s not a speech, it’s headlines ABOUT a speech that have most impact and provide greatest momentum. If you’re reaching out to millions of dissatisfied people in an electorate, then a lack of reaction – responses to memorable points – is a big problem.

This was a ‘rise up’ speech. In it, Mr. Blair’s command of detail was his undoing. He’s a good orator – always has been – and he knows how to deliver a good speech well. But this amount of substance would work against any speaker: the net effect is it became easier to attack the man than absorb the complexities of what he’d said and then defend his point of view.

A quick note, as always: my politic is my affair, but your speeches are my business. You can decide if the balance was right in Mr. Blair’s draft, or if mine delivers the same content – to slightly better, more digestible, effect…


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