Einstein’s Chauffeur

Another fantastic speech from July’s Next Generation of Government Summit, this one from Andrew Rasiej, Founder of Personal Democracy Media.

Audience and Theme

Change takes time.

Like Mayor Morse, Mr. Rasiej is also speaking at an innovative Washington, D.C. conference geared towards public servants. The theme he sets out for himself is is a tough needle to thread, but he does it — creating change is necessary and important, but difficult.

Structure and Style

I’m curious as to whether the Encyclopedia Britannica has a reference to Jimmy Whales in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Mr. Rasiej uses a traditional three-part structure. He comes across as an expert public speaker, very effortlessly weaving complex ideas and analogies with stories, anecdotes, and high-level messages. He starts with a nice humorous story too, which sets the tone for what we can expect from his speaking style — he’s serious and skilled, but fun too; he “gets” it.

Best Practices

I love how he uses stories of others’ successes to tell his overarching story. No need to take his word for it, he’s telling us — take theirs.

Why Did It Work?

Mr. Rasiej uses a very appealing form of speechwriting here. It’s a general story told through a series of shorter stories, each one helping to build towards his conclusion. Pay close attention to how he tells each individual story. He sets each of them up with their own rhetorical devices so that, instead of just being data points in his speech, they each stand on their own. Very well done.

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