10 Tips for Effective Speaking – Greta Thunberg’s London speech

Posted on April 25, 2019 in Speechwriting

Grera Thunberg’s speech to the Houses of Parliament, London, in April 2019 had 10 simple and effective tips for delivering a good speech. Read my tips below or the full speech here – it is only short, and my tips even shorter.

1.) Using questions is a powerful way to engage with your audience

‘Is that really too much to ask?’

‘Did you hear what I just said? Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.’

2.) She is not afraid to start sentences with ‘And…’, especially to single out a strong point

‘And I speak on behalf of future generations.’

‘And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones.’

3.) For impact, use repetitions of words and phrases

‘I could become whatever I wanted to. I could live wherever I wanted to. ‘

‘We children are not sacrificing our education and our childhood for you to tell us what you consider is politically possible in the society that you have created…We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.’

4.) Also for impact, you can also use parallels/contrast

‘People like me had everything we needed and more. Things our grandparents could not even dream of. ‘

‘The climate crisis is both the easiest and the hardest issue we have ever faced.’

5.) Giving examples of what you mean helps demonstrates your point and connects well with your audience

‘The UK’s active current support of new exploitation of fossil fuels – for example, the UK shale gas fracking industry, the expansion of its North Sea oil and gas fields, the expansion of airports as well as the planning permission for a brand new coal mine – is beyond absurd.’

6.) Catch your audience out with a … surprise statement

‘The UK is, however, very special. Not only for its mind-blowing historical carbon debt, but also for its current, very creative, carbon accounting.’

7.) Using contrasts creates drama and tension – and here emphasises a key point

‘We had everything we could ever wish for and yet now we may have nothing.’

8.) The power of short sentences is demonstrated here (in bold)

You lied to us. You gave us false hope.’

‘We must also bear in mind that these are just calculations. Estimations.’

9.) Use metaphor and analogy to engage and attract attention

‘Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?’ (She meant metaphorically, not literally)

‘Did you hear what I just said? Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.’ (ditto)

10.) And finally, using pictures and other senses is powerful, by tapping into your audience’s emotions

‘Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking.’

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