This post by Aaron Wherry in Maclean’s is a must-read for anyone interested in the best that political speech-making skills offered in this fine town. I agree wholeheartedly with his praise for Robert Fowler’s impassioned speech, but also draw your attention to Wherry’s observation:
We have may long ago lost our patience for hours-long addresses, but there remains a certain craving for the sight and sound of a politician speaking resoundingly, passionately and at length.
Going beyond the confines of the Queensway however, my money on the finest political speech of the year was this one by Gordon Brown. He gets bonus points for quoting the classics in his conclusion…
When Cicero spoke to crowds in ancient Rome people turned to each other after hearing the speech and said “great speech.” But when Demosthenes spoke to the crowds in ancient Greece and people turned to each other they said, “let’s march!”
But let’s not limit this best-of list to political speechmaking.
Two of the finest presentations in 2010 were TED Talks—neither relied heavily on powerpoint slides, but rather on thoughtful rhetoric and a speaker who believes passionately in a cause.
The first presentation was by Sir Ken Robinson, arguing for a revolution in education…
We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture.
The second noteworthy presentation was by game designer Jane McGonigal, making a persuasive case for how gaming can change the world, starting with this arresting point…
Right now we spend three billion hours a week playing online games. Some of you might be thinking, “That’s a lot of time to spend playing games.” Maybe too much time, considering how many urgent problems we have to solve in the real world. But actually, according to my research, at The Institute For The Future, it’s actually the opposite is true. Three billion hours a week is not nearly enough game play to solve the world’s most urgent problems.
And….there’s one more thing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a tip of my hat to Jesse Desjardins‘ award-winning “You Suck At PowerPoint,” doing his part for making the world a better place, free of snoozeworthy slideware presentations. (Added hyperlink for those of you accessing this on iOS devices)