16 June 2011

How many numbers can you get into 20 seconds & has Balls exposed Brown as an amateur?

However reluctant ITN may be to show clips from speeches on News at 10 (see previous post), it only took them a few minutes to get an excerpt from this morning's speech by shadow chancellor Ed Balls posted on YouTube - for which thanks.

In the first clip below, you'll hear Mr Balls packing six numbers into 20 seconds.

At a rate of one every 3.33 seconds, he made his mentor seem a bit of an amateur: in a speech two years ago, Gordon Brown only managed to get nine numbers into 59 seconds at the much slower rate of one every 6.55 seconds.

You can compare their efforts in the following clips, where you'll see that both of them illustrate a rather important point about presentation. What intrigued me was just how much of what I'd written about Brown (HERE) could just have well been written about Balls:

'A few months ago, I made the point that Gordon Brown tends to pack far too much information into his speeches and still has to take notice of a crucial tip from Winston Churchill about simplicity.

'In his final press conference before the Summer recess, he was at it again. At one stage, as you can see below, he managed to mention nine numbers in less than a minute.

'The trouble is that a lot of people glaze over when numbers come at them so thick and fast – a problem that’s even worse if, as in this case, they’re delivered in a flat monotonous tone of voice.

'And the importance of speakers conveying enthusiasm for their subjects cannot be overestimated – for the very obvious reason that, if a speaker sounds bored by his or her subject matter, why should the audience feel any less bored, let alone be inspired by it?

'Add to this Mr Brown’s earnest facial expression and it's hardly surprising that he’s so often referred to dour’.'

Son of Brown?
Six months ago, David Cameron accused Ed Miliband of being the "son of Brown" (HERE). On this evidence, it's a title to which Ed Balls has a rather stronger claim.

Balls: 6 numbers in 20 seconds:

Brown: 9 numbers in 59 seconds:

1 comment:

Aaron Wood said...

How bad are his speechwriters - he could spread the numbers out, create some context and give the impression of more content. So close together, without pauses, it seems like he is trying to get past the numbers because he is embarassed about them.