UK stars missing the mark when speaking in public.
London, March 11th, 2009.
Gordon Brown might be receiving rave reviews in the US, but he’s finding the audience at home somewhat trickier. This is according to a report published today naming the Prime Minister as the UK’s most boring public speaker.
The report, from speech-to-text company SpinVox, reveals the PM has topped the list of public figures that people least enjoy listening to. One in five people (20%) selected the PM, ahead of David Beckham (14%) and Oscar winner Kate Winslet, who famously fluffed her acceptance speech at the Golden Globe awards (11%).
The research also revealed the public figures that Brits would most like to hear oratorical musings from – with silver-tongued Stephen Fry (31%) surprisingly beating newly-elected US president Barack Obama (28%) into second place. SpinVox is sponsoring this year’s ICA Figures of Speech fundraising gala where cultural luminaries, including Bob Geldof and Rory Bremner, will be delivering 5 minute speeches about their most treasured object.
SpinVox has also revealed the nation’s favourite public speaking gaffes – led by former US President George W. Bush but featuring Delia Smith’s famous 2005 half-time “Let’s Be Avin’ You” at Norwich City FC, Judy Finnigan’s famous 2000 ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the National Televison Awards and Boris Johnson’s 2008 Olympic handover speech.
It’s not just people in the public eye that are struggling when it comes to speaking up, the rest of us admit to problems too. 88% of us admit to feeling uncomfortable in front of an audience, with one in six (16%) describing giving a speech as their worst nightmare.
The biggest difficulties Brits have when it comes to public speaking include nerves (54%), fear of embarrassment (36%), not having anything worth saying (19%) and not knowing how to start writing one (14%).
Spinvox has teamed up with speechwriting and presentation expert, Alan Stevens, Past President of the Professional Speakers Association, to develop five handy tips designed to improve Brits’ speech delivery:
• Start strongly – make an irresistible promise to your audience for example, “What I am going to tell you will change your life!”
• Have only one core message – people only recall 1-2 sentences of every life experience, so make your message clear
• Tell a personal story - if you can relate your topic to your audience’s personal memories they are more likely to recall it
• Show your passion – if you don’t show passion for your topic neither will your audience, don’t be afraid to show emotion
• End with enthusiasm, energy and power – before they leave give your audience a call to action, give them a task to complete or something
Stevens says, “Dire speeches don’t inspire people, but well-crafted words, delivered with skill and passion, can transform the mood of a nation. Churchill knew this, Obama knows it, and our public figures should take note”.
Christine Domecq, CEO and co-founder of SpinVox says, “The research shows Brits clearly have an issue with expressing themselves publicly. It’s a real shame that people are lacking the confidence to stand up in front of an audience and say what’s on their mind. Speaking, rather than writing, is the most immediate way to get a message across and its about time the UK rediscovered the skills of renowned orators such as Aneuran Bevan, or more modern heroes like Colonel Tim Collins.”
Top five worst public speakers
1. Gordon Brown (20%)
2. David Beckham (14%)
3. Kate Winslet (11%)
4. Chris Moyles (11%)
5. Prince Charles (7%)
SpinVox reveals the top 10 worst ever public speaking moments:
1. George `Dubya` Bush, “Fool me once”, 2002,
2. Delia Smith, “Lets be Avin’ you!”, 2005,
3. Kate Winslet, “Oh, God, who was the other one again?”, 2009 Golden Globes, (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=efz6FtmvhJ8)
4. Judy Finnigan, an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at the 2000 National TV awards
5. Gwyneth Paltrow, sobs at the 2005 Oscar ceremony
6. Halle Berry, tears and screams at the 2002 Oscars ceremony
7. Boris Johnson, 2008 Olympic handover speech
8. Gerald Ratner, his “Total crap” speech, 2001
9. Keven Keegan’s “I will love it if we beat them”- anti Manchester United rant in 1996
10. Donald Rumsfeld, “Known unknowns”, 2002 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_RpSv3HjpEw)
Voice-to-text company SpinVox champions the spoken word. With the service you can receive voicemail messages by text and email and make verbal notes to yourself on the go with the SpinVox Memo service. With SpinVox, you can also speak your blog posts and social network updates by simply dialling a number on your mobile phone and leaving a message which will be automatically converted to text and posted on your chosen site. For users with several blogs and networks, a new ‘Ping through SpinVox’ service is available that simultaneously broadcasts spoken updates to thirty of the most popular social networking sites.
SpinVox is free to anyone wishing to use the service to update their blog or social network. Visit www.spinvox.com for more. You can also Ping through SpinVox by signing up at http://ping.fm/
The research was conducted amongst 1,000 UK adults in January 2009.
For more information about SpinVox visit www.spinvox.com.
For more information, or to enquire about interviews, please contact either Jenni Hayward, Bridey Lipscombe, Gloria Trapezaris or Russell Williams on 0207 234 9150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SpinVox® is the world's largest privately-held speech technology company, providing the only voice to text messaging services which are used daily by millions of people and whose user base has grown over twenty-fold in the last 12 months.
Through significant innovations in voice and network technologies which are protected by over 60 patents worldwide, SpinVox has converged the two most natural forms of communication - voice and text - to create the fastest-growing form of messaging: Voice-to-Content™.
SpinVox services are available directly on www.spinvox.com and through leading carriers and through new media, Unified Communications and other service providers globally.
Implemented as a carrier-class hosted network feature, SpinVox is proven to able to easily create value from everyday user behaviour using voice and deliver rapid and easy implementation of low input, sustained high reward services.
At the heart of SpinVox is its ground-breaking Voice Message Conversion System™ (VMCS), which works by combining state-of-the-art speech technologies with a live-learning language process. Developed by the Cambridge, UK- based SpinVox Advanced Speech Group; VMCS now serves users across five continents in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Italian.
SpinVox is now live with Alltel, Cincinnati Bell, Sasktel, Rogers Wireless, Telus, Telstra, Vodacom South Africa, Vodafone Spain, Movistar Chile, Livejournal and has announced a deal with Skype.
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