Speakers want to make a point, but they want to build rapport with the audience first. I say, build rapport while getting to the point—and build rapport by getting to the point.
Trying to get Vital Speeches International out the goddamned door, I'm looking for the point of a speech by Malaysia's prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. And if you think that's a mouthful, check out the phlegm he clears after several paragraphs of formalities and niceties:
In fact, over the past several months, faced with various challenges at the party and government level with relentless assaults by the opposition, I was thinking deeply about the approach I should take for my speech at this meaningful gathering.
When I met many people in the process of preparing this speech, I received many suggestions, one of which was that I should no longer be a gentleman and gentle … instead I should be more stern, counter the allegations and insults and strike back hard against the various parties including Dr Mahathir and his minions.
However, brothers and sisters, patience … patience is a part of faith …
The more that I pondered the suggestions, I felt that it would be better to take the noble path by adhering to the message from the Prophet to his wife Saida-tina Aisyah, to be gentle with your words, even with your enemies.
More so with the noble qualities of the Malays, as depicted in the poem of National Laureate Usman Awang and Malay-Riau Laureate Tenas Affendy.
Melayu itu orang yang bijaksana, Budi bahasanya tidak terkira, Kurang ajarnya masih beralas dan bersantun, Kalau berkelahi biarlah cara Melayu, Kalau menikam pula, pun dengan berpantun, Walau menyanggah dikuntum senyum. Kalau merayu dan meminta, Hendaklah pada yang kasih dan sudi memberi. Mencontoh biarlah pada yang senonoh, Berteladan pada yang sepadan. Adil menjadi hakim, Amanah dalam bersumpah.
Even so, …although the Malay character rejects animosity, is loyal and very patient … he will never concede defeat despite the severe dangers that he faces.
So,… if last year, I chose to be gracious….in today’s speech…I will take the stand and attitude of a mature leader.
As the saying goes, we must be above them and not to bring ourselves down to their level. …
As my daughter Scout, then seven, urged her cousin Parker, then three, "Come on, Parker. While we're young!"