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In Praise of Boring Bloated Non-Committal (BBNC) Speeches

Well not in praise of exactly….

I wish I could tell you that every speech I have written was incisive, insightful, funny, memorable, quotable and all-in-all had the audience crying out to my client “don’t stop now….please do go on for another 10 minutes”. Well every once and a while I get to tuck one of those under my belt and say to myself “well done, mate.”

But the truth is I write a lot of BBNC speeches. Not on purpose mind. It is sort of a requirement.

Of course none of my clients ask for a bloated and boring speech. Perish the thought. But bloated and boring is what they tend to get if they ask or comment as follows:

  • we need it tomorrow
  • we are not sure about the messaging; we’ll get back to you on that
  • we need to fill up the time (usually for speeches delivered by politicians debating in legislative chambers anywhere in the world and where silence is regarded as a deadly sin)
  • it’s the same speech as last year, you just need to update the Power Point Slides OR
  • we want Power Point slides; we’ll send the graphs and pie charts over to you tomorrow. Do you need to talk to the PP person?
  • you really need to talk about our process (they don’t actually say that but a process speech is exactly what they want.)
  • we are going to circulate the draft to all our directors so make sure you get in a bit about each of their divisions OR
  • we are passing around an outline for comment…so write an outline
  • we haven’t decided our policy on this issue yet, could you just weasel word something until we figure out what it is? Well ok, they don’t say “weasel word”, but that’s what they mean.
  • remember last year you wrote a speech where we were in favour of this policy. Well now we are against it. Could you write a speech that now explains our change of heart
  • could you give us a second one, same topic but just in case we need it as a spare to fill up the allotted time
  • make it funny

I have had all of the above thrown at me and then some. In an ideal world there would be no demand for BBNC speeches but look at it this way. If there were no such demand, we would all be very poor. In all senses of the word.