Can You Close Presentations Like Finance Minister Budget Sign-Off?

Wednesday 19 March saw the UK’s annual Budget. Delivered by Chancellor George Osborne. At the end of his bullish despatch box turn, fuelled by promising economic climes for the first time in five years, here are his final words;

Mr Deputy Speaker,

The central mission of this government is to deliver economic security.

We’re not promising quick fixes.

Instead we’re taking the next steps in our long term plan.

The forecasts I’ve presented show:
– growth up
– jobs up
– the deficit down

Now we are securing Britain’s economic future with:
– manufacturing promoted
– working rewarded
– saving supported

With the help of the British people we’re turning our country around.

We’re building a resilient economy.

This is a Budget for the makers, the doers, and the savers.

And I commend it to the House.

He clearly enjoyed himself.

And this was the blanket soundbite across all UK media that night.

Of the entire 55 minute speech, TV news editors picked this out. So what could we take from such a repeated sign-off?

In my first career year I had a two-day training course at the hands of Hewlett-Packard.

It included a final Board presentation.

I remember how the most experienced chap in the room (“Alastair”) nailed his closing remarks. His manner and tone were understated. He merely wanted to know, first, if he’d understood the requirements correctly, and second, was his solution the fit they were looking for.

A parliamentary speech is different. The intended audience of buyers (voters) are absent. Yet many still need to be sold.

I mulled over his delivery. And the impact it made. (Especially as five years ago I noted several useful rhetorical flourishes.)

The format of his summary is interesting. A short, sharp sentence each on just five aspects;

problem solving, style of solution, where it works, what it impacts, hopes for kindred souls.

For three of these, he uses the good old rhetorical rule of three. Not afraid even to talk in bullet points for the first pair, then signs-off with the lovely “the makers, the doers, and the savers”.

This was picked up by several broadcasters and internet parodists alike. Even putting it to music. Namely The Steve Miller Band’s huge hit, The Joker. With its pickers and grinners, lovers and sinners, jokers, smokers, and midnight tokers.

Interestingly, in interviews the next day, he went for his own ‘rule of five’. His favourite soundbite to explain where he was coming from was to rectify that, as a country, “we don’t make enough, invest enough, save enough, export enough, manufacture enough”.

Overall, I feel his oratorical approach works. So the solution selling question is, can you adapt the Chancellor’s oratory to close by playing a handy joker from your pack?

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