Manner of Speaking

Analysis of a Speech by Phil Davison

The video below has been spreading like wildfire on the Internet. It is a short speech by Phil Davison, a Republican candidate for the position of Treasurer in Stark County, Ohio.

Davison’s speech, which was given to about 100 people, is, to say the least, memorable. In his blog, my friend Max Atkinson states that in over 30 years of collecting tapes of speeches, he has never seen anything quite like it.

News agencies and YouTubers are, perhaps not surprisingly, having a field day with the story. Now, I know nothing about Davison or the burning political issues in Stark County, Ohio.  But I would like to take a different tack and try to analyze the speech to see what lessons we can learn from it from the public speaking perspective.

First, the speech. If you haven’t seen it, fasten your seatbelt.

OK, what can we learn? First off, two main lessons:

Apart from these lessons, here are some other observations:

Ultimately, Davison did not get the nomination. In this article, he expresses his disappointment and his desire for feedback. Well, if he ever reads this blog, I hope that this post helps. Going forward, I would offer Davison the following ideas to consider:

And finally, let’s not forget one thing. It might not have been the greatest speech, but at least Davison had the courage of his convictions to stand up in front of 100 people and have a kick at the can. And that’s what public speaking is all about. It’s easy to criticize from the “cheap seats” but it’s another matter when you’re the one on stage.