I have visited many conferences and listened to many great speakers over the years, inspirational, evangelical and passionate. Great public speakers draw you in, hold your attention and leave you wanting to embrace their story.
People who are truly passionate about their subject are a delight to listen to, however, long gone are the days when the PM could talk off the cuff on any subject. A modern leader is a puppet of the media managers and script writers.
A party campaign manager would have a fit if his charge spoke off script so these days the great leaders have got very good at reading their prepared speeches and making them sound like their own.
In the early days I would have allowed myself to be drawn in. Like a moth to the light bulb I would open my mind and allow the mesmerizing words to mould me like putty. The euphoric feeling of inclusion, of being a part of the speakers plans, of the uplifting, wholesome, convincing, compelling… ok stop right there! Then I started to listen.
When you actually listen, separate the phrases, analyse the meaning, the contradictions, the precise language used, you realise that more often than not the words are playing on your greed and vanity and are in fact hollow and meaningless.
Since I am a sceptic and like to understand, I have stopped listening and now I read the transcripts. This morning I read David Camerons electioneering speech in Hampshire where he said;
- …there is an “economic, moral and practical” case for lower taxes.
As part of his central election pledges on taxation the above statement sounds great, he went on to say “This is not just a vague promise,” he said. “We have a record”.
Early in my sales career I learned that if you told people what they wanted to hear they would place the order. In those formative years I discovered the dangers of promising more than I could deliver. I learned that to build a long-lasting mutually profitable relationship I had to learn how to manage expectation, how to offer a promise for those things I could deliver and how to say no when I knew I could not deliver.
…there is an “economic, moral and practical” case for lower taxes, is a very clever use of words, It plays on the aspirations of the electorate, it plays on greed and vulnerability. And while it does all this it promises nothing. It’s a “jam tomorrow” statement. If I took that statement to my sales manager he would kick me round the car park and tell me to come back when I had a real sale. By the way, a real sale is nothing untill the money is in the bank.
Cameron can make as many statements of aspiration as he likes, in reality none are going to be actioned before a general election and when the election is compleat, even if he does win, he will only have to say the landscape has changed and he can bin all his promises.
Remember, the tory party seek power to protect the wealth of the rich. The promises they make are only made to buy your vote as your vote brings them power and with power they can protect their wealth.