Speak like a leader

I used to wonder in English class, why am I learning about rhetoric devices? Why am I even tested on rhetoric or have to analyze it? I came across a video that answered it all for me on Thursday night right before I fell asleep called “Speak like a leader” by Simon Lancaster on Tedx Talks. He was the speechwriter for Tony Blair (UK prime minister from 1997-2007) and talks about how there’s a secret language (rhetoric) that determines who reaches the top in politics and business. People like Hitler, Tony Blair, Ronald Reagan, Shakespeare and iconic quotes used devices like repetition, imagery, metaphors, balance, parallelism, exaggeration, rhyme and more to persuade audiences. He’s noticed that almost all the previous top leaders (of the UK) have attended the only school in Great Britain that teaches rhetoric. Since we’re dealing with enormous challenges like “financial inequalities, climate change, and religious persecution in this world we have restricted debate to a narrow minority (18:00 Lancaster)” by not teaching everyone how to use rhetoric when sharing ideas. So he holds the utmost importance of teaching the next generation the tools in order speak up and become leaders. And that is what he believes is true democracy, when we all have the ability to articulate ideas in a manner where we can persuade large audiences.


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