Let’s compare speeches!

Last week we shared an analysis of Queen Elizabeth’s powerful speech about the current crisis. This time, we’re taking a bold step presenting the first comparative analysis by Team Speak Academy. Hungary’s President, János Áder delivered a similar speech on Good Friday. This presidential speech was well crafted and delivered well. In his speech, President Áder illustrated multiple speaking techniques.  


With the first glimpse of the President’s speech, you see that it was recorded outdoors with the nation’s capital, Budapest, and our national symbol, the Parliament in the background. If you remember, the Queen’s speech was recorded inside her castle. Delivering a speech indoors can make its atmosphere more royal, more elegant. In light of current circumstances doing it outdoors may be better for multiple reasons. We listeners generally prefer vivid, visual effects. Recording a speech outdoors provides you with more light and naturally vibrant background. Second, as people struggle with the stay-in-place orders, seeing the sky, landscape, and sunshine, can be visually and emotionally pleasing. Think about how you feel, when the sun reappears after a long winter.

The structure of both the royal and the presidential speech is similar. Both start by describing the current depressing situation. Then, they list all the merits of the whole society. Both speakers address the citizens of their respective nations forcefully; by doing so, they subtly convey that the crisis is under control. “We can do great things even now. How we handle this situation can set an example for the future.” This is motivating. Our speakers first thank the citizens and then elevate them as positive examples for everyone listening. Interestingly, at the end of their speeches, they both refer to meeting and seeing one another soon. This is more than a mere formality; it doesn’t add much weight to the speech but allows the speaker to end on an upbeat note helping to ease the nation’s tension.

We would like to highlight a useful speaking technique invoked by President Áder. It is something we also teach during the Speak Academy courses. By beginning with the example of Mother Theresa and of her quote, he starts strong. Then, at the end of his speech, he effectively refers back to it. This is a powerful way to emphasize your message. Furthermore, you can refer to it elsewhere in your speech. Do it in a way that is connected to the main message of your speech, and it will make it easier for your audience to understand and to remember it.

Both speeches would have benefited from the use of a bit more body language and the use of a bit more emotions. When heads of state speak, they must project grace and authority. Often, the emphasis is on “filling” the role of the position. As a general rule, though, the audience resonates better with speakers, who are more emotionally engaging. A speaker need not go overboard and dance in a lime-green running outfit, but facial expressions and gestures go a long way in communicating your message. Think about the power hidden in a smile. It is difficult to not smile back. If you are in a sad mood and someone smiles at you, that smile is enough to make you momentarily forget your woes. Communication is not only about words. In the case of our two speeches, both are very selective about the words they use, spoken as true professionals.

I hope you find these exercises helpful and become inspired to inspire others.

From time to time, we will review Hungarian speeches, too. The blog is written in English only. We decided that even though the speech may be in Hungarian, the analysis will be in English.

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