One of the more-effective speeches to be delivered in the UK recently – effective in the sense that it inspired protests shutting down central London and sparked a debate over whether to accelerate clean energy targets – was given to Parliament by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl.

Intrigued? Here it is:

My first reaction was, that’s it?

Set aside the content of the speech and consider the delivery. Were the speech judged on Greta’s presentation skills alone it would have been quickly forgotten. Standing at a podium, holding a microphone, head down and reading a script in a bit of a monotone: on the surface, that’s not quite hitting the mark, right?

Even Greta isn’t sure she’s connecting with the audience, asking at one point, “Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

They were quiet because the content had them arrested – a good reminder for all of us that the architecture of your communication matters more than the delivery. It’s not that delivery doesn’t matter, it does, and improvements in Greta’s would likely have amplified her Big Ideas somewhat. But at the core, the design of the content is still what matters most: that’s where we really need to get it right.

Greta Thunberg’s speech to Parliament is a good reminder that when faced with a choice of investing what time you have available in your communication’s design or in its delivery, focus on design.

PS Here’s the transcript in case you’re curious what she actually said: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time


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