The 100: Insights and Lessons from 100 of the Greatest Speeches Ever Delivered

Emma De Vita reviews Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi's book for managers

Every manager has to take on the challenge of public speaking at some point, whether it's passing on an edict from on high or giving a presentation at a conference.

Most find it an odious duty. What's the trick to getting it right?

According to Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi, the authors of The 100: Insights and Lessons From 100 of the Greatest Speeches Ever Delivered, it's important to say something relevant, construct it well and include something inspirational.

During these difficult times, it's easy for team morale to slump. Former US President Bill Clinton was excellent at promoting a brighter future. "This ceremony is held in the depth of winter," he said in his inaugural speech. "But by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring."

Another timely lesson comes from Charles de Gaulle, who knew how to provide leadership in adversity. He was firm and offered a crystal-clear sense of direction. "Must we abandon all hope?" he asked in a BBC broadcast of 1940. "Is our defeat final and irremediable? To those questions I answer - no! Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not and shall not die." Courage, mes amis!

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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