Tag Archives: Simon Jenkins

You are not reading a shopping list!

The superb Skolia choir, out of Notting Hill, are driven to astonishing levels of  performance by a musical director for whom the best is never enough. ( She would make a great pitch coach.) Her latest exhortation to her singers faced with the intricacies of Benjamin Britten was a salutory reminder that, ” You are not singing a shopping list!”


The same sentiment applies to many presenters. You are not pitching a shopping list!

In an article this week Simon Jenkins was looking forward with misgiving to the Oscar acceptance speeches.  He anticipated that their lists would be long with a gaggle of folk we’ve not heard of being thanked, endlessly. He then made some observations on general levels of speechmaking, many of which are valid in the pitch.

“When eventually the speech ends, no audience ever shouts, “More!” No audience complains that a speech was too short.”… Research shows that most audiences can recall little beyond the first five minutes of any talk.The brain simply shuts up shop..”

“The adjective rhetorical has become a mild term of abuse. Few speakers distinguish between uttering “the living sentence of the working mind” and reading out a text. The cadence of their normal speaking voice is lost in a reading drone.” (Rhetoric: the art of using speech and writing to persuade and influence.)

“The rhythm of words well-deployed is not just music to the ear, it is power projected. To be able to address others with confidence is a fundamental skill. To be inarticulate is to be handicapped.”