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Home » Simon Lancaster: Speak Like a Leader at TEDxVerona (Full Transcript)

Simon Lancaster: Speak Like a Leader at TEDxVerona (Full Transcript)

Simon Lancaster at TEDxVerona

Here is the full transcript and summary of top speechwriter Simon Lancaster’s TEDx Talk: Speak Like a Leader at TEDxVerona conference. Simon Lancaster runs Bespoke, a speechwriting consultancy and he has written speeches for many top politicians and CEOs.

In this talk, Simon Lancaster discusses six steps that leaders use to make their arguments sound more plausible. He argues that education should be open to everyone and that we should call this initiative “democracy.”

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Speech writing must be one of the weirdest jobs in the world. No matter how carefully the words have been prepared, you are never quite sure how they are going to be delivered.

Yesterday, I was in London, and I was watching one of my clients, who is a big Australian businessman, deliver a speech that I’d written for him. I’d written for him this passage, kind of with Winston Churchill in mind, about how we’ve got to fight for our future, fight to protect our position, fight our competitors.

And I’d forgotten about the Australian accent. And I watched from the back of the room with horror as I saw him go, “We’ve got to ‘fart’ for our future, ‘fart’ to protect our position, and I’ll tell you what, folks, when I wake up every morning, there is one thing I know for sure I’m going to do that day; ‘fart’!”

So today I’m going to share with you some speechwriter secrets. Because I don’t know whether you know this, but there is a secret language of leadership; a secret language of leadership that we all used to be taught at school. Ancient rhetoric. This was a core part of the curriculum in Ancient Rome, part of the trivium. In London, right the way through to the 19th century, it was possible to get a free education in rhetoric, but not in mathematics, reflecting the importance that was placed on the topic.

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