Conference Oratory

UK political Party Conference season ends with the Conservatives this week. It’s Sunday start saw stalwart Foreign Sec William Hague deliver an activist pleasing Labour bashing.

Regardless of personal leanings, I particularly noted a pair of terrific speech techniques that sales presenters could well learn from. Here’s where the first came from, (a segment that began “The last government was cynicism in physical form, a party of political pyramid-sellers”),

trying to fool people they thought would never notice
by spending money they did not have
in pursuit of promises they never kept
in support of a fantasy they could not possibly have sustained.

Most solution selling by definition attacks a situation. Here Hague does this not once, but four times. He does it in the context of exposing what he believes to be at best folly, at worst criminal neglect. He takes what he sees as the aims of the former regime, and adds to each what he feels the failed reality of each strand. A masterful delivery.

The application of this for salespeople has an obvious health warning though. It clearly amounts to wanton dismissal of past decisions. So any usage must ensure it does not directly berate those responsible for such decisions if they remain in command.

This equally applies to any alternative offering. I would not necessarily recommend you frame your competitive threat with this approach.

One final tip here. Hague’s intention is a patently derogatory one, but with a simple rotation, you could gain similar impact from its positive twist.

Then there was his rousing conclusion. An octet of phrases that for him directly compared the ousted rulers dung-filled fields with the new occupant’s meadows of roses.

Here’s his shortest two by way of example.

Under Labour council tax doubled; with this Government it will be frozen.
Under Labour immigration was uncontrolled; with this Government it will have limits.

Again, this kind of comparison can inject energy into your pitch. I think this is the one of his two techniques which can be the most readily applied in a sales pitch. You know the kind of thing.

With the old system it takes an aeon to complete a task; with our solution you are done in a jiffy.

Key tricks to remember are to always begin each part of the construct in exactly the same way, and to list several. Hague starts “Under Labour…” and “with this Government…” and goes on with an entire set of eight, varying pitch between the short and sharp and the extremely detailed.

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