Manner of Speaking

Analysis of a Speech by Bruce Aylward


I have a special interest in this TED Talk for two reasons.

First, the talk is given by Bruce Aylward, a fellow Canadian and one of my colleagues at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Bruce is a physician and an epidemiologist who heads the polio eradication programme at the WHO. I am very proud to know Bruce and many of the people in his department because of the incredible work that they are doing to rid the world of a terrible scourge.

Second, as mentioned in a previous post, I recently had the privilege of giving a half-day workshop on presentation skills to Bruce and several of his colleagues. Coincidentally, the workshop took place about a week before Bruce travelled to California to give his talk at TED. Bruce was kind enough to share his talk with me and solicit my feedback. It was a privilege to be able to make a small contribution to the terrific work that Bruce and his colleagues had done on the speech.

At 21 minutes, the speech is not short. But the subject matter is so important, and the speech is so well delivered, that I urge you to watch it. There is also an interesting two-minute discussion between Bruce and Bill Gates at the end. And, if you would like to help the fight to eradicate polio, here is a link where you can make a donation.

Bruce’s speech is below. My analysis, from a public speaking perspective, follows.