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Three Lessons Learned From The King’s Speech

March 8, 2011 fm


Firth and Rush in ‘The King’s Speech’

Yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed watching The King’s Speech. What a feel-good film, what superb dialogues, what a highlight for public speaking fans around the globe.

A public speaking trainer myself – I was especially amused to see the training methods of the Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

Of Logue’s multiple facets portrayed in the film, I’d like to highlight three characteristics which turn him into a fantastic trainer from my point of view.

Lionel Logue is authentic, Lionel Logue is practical, Lionel Logue is transparent.

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Authentic

The “jumped-up jackaroo from the outback” stays authentic throughout the entire training process. He calls his client ‘Bertie’ against all protocol, he repeatedly insists on his Australian origin, he refuses to follow the royal patterns. It is his perseverance that helps him gain the trust of King George VI. Logue stays authentic, he stays himself – and always with a smile.

Logue’s style reassured me that I should never leave the thin ice I tend to walk on.

Authenticity always wins – be yourself!

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Practical

At some point in the movie Lionel Logue almost loses his engagement because he cannot provide any diplomas or titles. Logue is an autodidact who learned what he knows by helping Australian soldiers overcome their post-war traumas. Learning by doing is his key to success.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell – all college drop-outs – must love Lionel Logue who, rather than preaching theory and other second-hand knowledge, employs unconventional techniques and has a talent for friendship to help his client King George VI.

Public speaking is not about diplomas, public speaking is not about titles, public speaking is about practicing and receiving constructive feedback.

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Transparent

The reason for Logue’s transparency, his continual uncovering of the King’s unpleasant childhood memories has a clear objective – to lay open the true reason for his stammering. And yet, apart from the psychological path it is this emotional transparency that builds a bridge of sympathy between the two men. It is this bridge of sympathy which lays the ground for training success.

It is always amazing to see how much people struggle with opening up and sharing the other side of the medal with strangers – or even family and friends. It is this downside which makes us human. Lionel Logue is human. This is why we love him so much.

Dare to be human!

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Three Lessons Learned

We all can learn from Lionel Logue. In The King’s Speech he teaches the King, but he also teaches us, the audience, to be authentic, to be practical, to be transparent.

Watching the movie I could identify with Lionel Logue 100%. For sure, I will make references to the movie here and there in future seminars.

Thanks to the film makers. Thanks for your great PR for Public Speaking – one of the most powerful sources of self-confidence – for King George VI and for all of us.

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