Can Public Speakers Learn from The King’s Speech?

Every so often I watch a film that proves to be a fantastic source of learning and inspiration as well as entertainment. Recently I saw The King’s Speech and it really moved me. Afterwards, I started to wonder what it was that made it so powerful.

The acting was superb and believable.   The Prince’s frustration with his inability to speak fluently in public was palpable, and this made a wonderful contrast with the closing sequences where he clearly demonstrated to himself and the world that he had mastered his stammer.   The filming was tight and the period references felt accurate and relevant.

For me, there were three powerful lessons from The King’s Speech

  • That even the most intractable things can be changed with a combination of determination and the right support network.
  • That a quick fix is rarely the solution and that hard work and effort does pay huge dividends.
  • That ones ability to speak clearly and confidently in public can have a huge positive impact on yourself as well as your audience.

Interestingly I then did a search to see what other people had written about this superb film in relation to presenting and I came across this excellent Slideshare presentation by Jessedee.  I thought you might like it too:

If you haven’t seen this film, I urge you to look for it online or to get your hands on the DVD.  I’d love to hear what you took from it, so post a comment below.

Gavin Meikle
The Presentation Doctor


  1. Gavin Bergin on 06/02/2011 at 14:57

    I thought the film was sensational.

    As someone who stammers and who works very hard to have control over my speech by using techniques learnt on the McGuire Programme, I found the emotional aspects of the film to be so realistic.

    • Gavin Meikle on 06/02/2011 at 16:05

      Thanks for sharing Gavin. Your comment comes at a very appropriate time. I was just saying to my wife this morning that I would like to have a post on the McGuire programme. I would also be interested in finding out what I can learn from the McGuire approach that might help other non-stammering but equally nervous speakers. Perhaps we should meet up for a coffee sometime.

  2. Andrew Wilcox on 03/02/2011 at 15:18

    It is a great movie and will not doubt win some Oscars. To add to the points you picked up on:

    He went daily to see the therapist. Weekly and monthly sessions with your “therapist” are unlikely to result in significant, quick or lasting change.

    There was great technology around even then to give you feedback on what you are doing. Use your phone to record your speeches and presentations. Then listen to them. Use a webcam to video the event. Perhaps pointing it at the audience to see how they react. Permission probably needed.

    He had fantastic support from his partner.

    I went with a speech and language therapist, I cannot safely comment on those aspects of the movie. 🙂

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