Mayor Alex Morse speech

23-year-old Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke, Massachusetts delivered a powerful presentation at the Next Generation of Government Summit this past July. I’d like to break it down, and analyze what I think made it so effective.

The speech in its entirety can be viewed here:

Audience and Theme

Mayor Morse is speaking at an innovative Washington, D.C. conference geared towards public servants. In his speech, he describes his election as Mayor at the age of 23, and his innovative initiatives to improve his impoverished community. His speech was expository, meant to instruct more than persuade.

Structure and Style

Mayor Morse’s speech employs a traditional three-part structure. He begins with brief thank you’s, a self-introduction, and mapping out the topics of his presentation. The speech combines what appear to be practiced and rehearsed remarks with an off-the-cuff, conversational, free-flowing and contemporary style.

Best practices

Mayor Morse is clearly a rising star, but he doesn’t let his potential celebrity get in the way of his message. He employs self-deprecating humor — “Every mayor has their quirky facts…Those are mine…Now you know where volleyball was invented” — to draw the audience into his story.

He also plays a number of his campaign’s ads, which were very well done and — from what I recall — brought the house down. The instrumental track was very effective in deepening the mood.

Why did it work?

The story. Mayor Morse had a powerful story to tell, and the techniques he employed to tell it served to enhance it. An excellent example of highly effective, sharp, yet unassuming, public speaking techniques.

Like Mayor Morse himself.

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