Festrede Von Viola Amherd zum 1. August 2023 in Luzern

August 1 Speech: Viola Amherd speaks no matter what.

On July 31, 2023, Europaplatz in Lucerne became a special place. Federal Councillor Viola Amherd appeared before the audience and left a lasting impression.

In her concise ten-minute speech, Viola Amherd emphasized Swiss values and the sense of community. Despite the serious content, there were also light-hearted moments. The core message: Switzerland is solid as a rock.

Amherd made use of tried and tested rhetorical devices, among others

a) Humor

A little humor never hurts and makes you likeable. Despite two cancellations due to Corona and a broken elbow, Viola Amherd came to give her speech. After all, the organizers were just as persistent – they invited her three times.

b) Perseverance

A broken elbow would have kept many from giving a speech. But not Viola Amherd.

c) Amherd’s humorous, spontaneous replica

The gift from Andrea Gmür, member of the Council of States, was remarkable. She presented the Federal Councillor with two bottles of wine – one non-alcoholic and one with alcohol. Quick-wittedly, Amherd replied: “Just to clarify: my accident was before we had drinks”.

d) Memorable analogies

Amherd stressed that security and independence are deeply rooted in the Swiss DNA.

For Amherd, the Swiss Constitution of 1848 is the blueprint of our country.

In the “ground station” Switzerland, natives and immigrants live together peacefully.

She stressed the need for the European protective umbrella.

e) reference to a local person

A special moment was the mention of Emil Steinberger, a local personality from Lucerne.


What could she have done better or differently, in the view of presentation trainer Thomas Skipwith?

a) Punctual start

The 40-minute delay should be avoided in the future.

b) Memorable end

“Thank you very much for your attention. is an run-of-the-mill closing. Recommendation: An appeal, e.g. with the words: “To democracy, continuity and peace. “To our Constitution of 1848. To the birthday of Switzerland”.

c) Dialect

She spoke in easily understandable High German. As a Valaisan, a short interjection in the Valaisan dialect would certainly have gone down well.


Recommendations to the organizers

The audience from the 2nd row on could hardly see Mrs. Amherd. An elevation or platform for the speaker would be recommended.


It was worth the trip to Lucerne to hear Mrs. Amherd’s keynote speech. Also as an example of what you can do right in a keynote speech.


To attractive speeches!


Thomas Skipwith


P.S.: Last minute checklist for your speeches: In this blog post.

Book recommendation

In the following book, you will find the tools, systems, and tips that will make you a persuasive speaker. So that you need less time for preparation and present with more confidence.

Reto B. Rüegger, Thomas Skipwith: To catch fish, use the right bait. Scoring as a speaker with Power Presentations

If you want support for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

1. August-Redner

Last Minute Checklist for your speeches – and your speech will be a success.

Congratulations! You were invited to speak and have prepared a speech. Do you have butterflies in your stomach because of it? When flying, each pilot does a preflight check before departure. You can do the same with your speeches using the Last Minute Checklist. With the last minute checklist you can check if everything is prepared so that there will be a smooth flight. The butterflies will fly in orderly paths and the hearts of the spectators will fly to you. In this article you will receive the 10 most important things to check for your successful speech. Use it for example for your speech on July 4, your national holiday.

1. Key message

Make sure your speech has a clear message or main theme. Can you write on the back of a business card in 10 words what your main message is? If not, you should sharpen your message.

2. The rule of 3

Your audience can only absorb a limited number of stories, points, or arguments. Especially when the audience casually bites into a hot dog and drinks a sip of wine or beer. Do you have more than 3 points? If so, think carefully about limiting yourself to the rule of 3. Examples of the rule of 3: municipality, state, federal government. Your country, Europe, World. Child, student, adult. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Ecology, economy, politics. Small, medium, large. Left, Center, Right.

3. Target audience

Think about your audience and adapt the tone and language of your speech to their interests and needs. Examples: Will you speak conciliatory or provocative? Will you speak formally or informally? What language? Do you also welcome people who speak a different language, people who think differently, foreigners? E.g. in their language? Do you use colloquialisms? Foreign terms?

4. Stories

Man thinks in pictures. Give him the pictures with a story. Already Martin Luther King enchanted and emotionally touched his audience with pictures in his speech “I have a dream”. Thanks to emotions, a story is better remembered. The best stories are usually the personal ones. Use them.

5. Sparring partner

Ask 3 people who will (or might) be in the audience to read through or listen to your speech beforehand. This can also be done online via a video call. This way you get feedback and can make last minute changes.

6. Time management

Have you written a manuscript? This is good and bad at the same time. Good, because you can count the words of your speech. With an average speaking rate of 100 words per minute, you know exactly how long the speech will take. And can easily stick to the organizer’s time limit. By the way, speaking for 10 to 15 minutes is a good rule of thumb.

Bad, because there is a risk that you will read the speech word for word. Reading to the audiene does not create an emotional connection with the audience. Therefore, write small cue cards and then speak more or less freely.

Stay on time with manuscript or cue cards. Because you are competing against culinary delights, e.g. hot dogs, a botltle of beer or a glas of wine.

7. Rehearsal

Have you rehearsed your speech? If yes: good. Did you look at the time when you did this? If yes: better. Have you videotaped yourself and watched the video? If yes: best.

8. Pauses

Deliberately use short pauses during the speech to let important points sink in and give your audience time to think. Have you marked up your manuscript or cue cards?

9. Questions

Think of possible questions that might be asked after your speech and prepare to answer them confidently. Have a sparring partner ask you a few critical questions. (See sparring partner above).

10. 2-2-96-Rule

Strive to set your own expectations correctly. You can’t please everyone. After all, a national holiday speech is a political speech. You express your opinion. This is allowed (in many countries). This is what a democracy lives on. Nevertheless, also mentally prepare yourself for the fact that there will be one or two people who will not like your speech. According to the 2-2-96 rule (picked up from an American speech coach): 2 people out of 100 will like the speech so much that they immediately want to start a fan club. 2 people tear the speech apart and possibly you with it. And 96 will find your speech good. Unfortunately, the 96 hardly express themselves or not at all. Don’t listen to the 2 negatives, listen to the 98 positives.


If you follow the Last Minute Checklist for your speeches you will tame your butterflies and will receive many pats on the back. And who knows: Maybe someone in your audience will follow your call to action or dream.

To attractive speeches!


Thomas Skipwith


P.S.: If you’re currently polishing your August 1 speech (Switzerland’s national holiday), get even more tips in this blog post.

Book recommendation

In the following book, you will find the tools, systems, and tips that will make you a persuasive speaker. So that you need less time for preparation and present with more confidence.

Reto B. Rüegger, Thomas Skipwith: The Worm Must Taste the Fish. Scoring as a speaker with Power Presentations

If I can support you for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

Frau fürchtet sich vor der Präsentation

The thrill of success: Master your nervousness in business presentations with these 10 tips.

You can make a positive impression with a convincing business presentation. It sounds so simple – if it weren’t for the nervousness that throws a spanner in the works. Here are 10 proven tips to help you handle your own nervousness with confidence.

1. preparation is the key

Preparation is always forgotten, underestimated or not prioritized enough. Solid preparation gives you confidence and reduces nervousness. Rehearse your presentation thoroughly and prepare for possible questions.

2. develop a positive attitude

Zig Ziglar, an American motivational and sales trainer, coined a term that has been with me since I was a teenager: “stinking thinking.” Instead, look at the presentation as an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and skills. Consider it a privilege to present your knowledge to the audience. After all, not everyone gets this chance. Therefore, try to turn your nervousness into excitement and energy.

3. breathe deeply in and out

This is what I learned years ago in Aikido training: pay attention to your breath. This also applies to business presentations. Focus on your breathing before the presentation. Slow, deep breaths help relieve stress and calm the body.

4. visualize the success

Do as the successful athletes do: vividly imagine yourself performing with confidence and poise. This mental image helps to increase self-confidence and reduce nervousness to a tolerable level.

5. keep eye contact

During the presentation, seek eye contact with the friendly looking audience. This creates a connection and diverts your attention from the nervousness.

6. speak consciously

Make sure your pronunciation is clear and distinct. Take your time when speaking and avoid speaking too fast. A calm and controlled voice has a professional and reassuring effect on you and the audience.

7. taking breaks helps against nervousness

Deliberately build pauses into your presentation to collect yourself and relax. Use these moments to take a deep breath and organize your thoughts. Take a sip of water. You will automatically breathe properly before and after drinking.

8. interact with the audience

Ask questions of the audience or ask for feedback. This creates an interactive atmosphere and diverts attention away from you and your own nervousness.

9. posture and gestures

Stand tall and confident to have a positive aura. Use your hands and gestures to support your words. An open body posture looks self-confident. Body and mind work in sync. When you put your body in a confident posture, you immediately feel more confident. Try it out right away. Take a bent posture once, then an upright one. Can you feel the difference?

10. accept nervousness as normal

Remember that nervousness is something normal that many people experience before and during presentations. Accept and embrace your nervousness instead of fighting it. After all, a presentation is not a walk in the park.

Book recommendation

For more in-depth tips on dealing with nervousness, such as the current grip, I recommend the following book:

Reto B. Rüegger, Thomas Skipwith: The Worm Must Taste the Fish. Scoring as a speaker with Power Presentations

If I can support you for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

Einstieg in eine Präsentation

Inspire from the start: 10 ideas for a convincing presentation introduction

10 ideas for an attractive opening

Business presentations are often boring like hell. Many times, you can tell right right from the beginning of the presentation. Read here how to make an attractive opening.

1. an interesting quote:

Design the introduction with an inspirational quote that fits the theme of your presentation. A good quote can immediately grab the audience’s attention. E.g. brainyquote.de and gutezitate.com.

2. an anecdote:

A short, funny or interesting anecdote can help the audience identify with you and your topic. E.g. Recently I was traveling on the train. There was a young man in a suit and tie, full hair and glasses sitting one row in front of me with his laptop on his lap. He was looking at a business presentation. I could read along! …

3. A question:

Ask a question that makes the audience think and points to the topic of your presentation. E.g. How many times have you …?

4. statistics:

Start with an impressive statistic that supports the theme of your presentation and captures the audience’s attention. E.g. 2300 cubic meters of water flow down the Rhine per second. This is equivalent to 51,500 commercial bathtubs.

5. a visual element:

Open your presentation with a visual element such as a picture or graphic that fits the topic and visually appeals to the audience. E.g. Create an image on the theme of your presentation with Midjourney or Nightcafé.

6. a personal reference:

A short story or personal experience can help the audience identify with you and generate interest in your topic. E.g. I still remember well …

7. an interesting fact:

Start your presentation with a surprising or interesting fact that supports the theme of your presentation. E.g. Nutella has sun protection factor 9.7 (from the book of the same name).

8. a short joke:

A well-placed joke can make the audience laugh and help them relax and focus on your presentation. Recommendation: The joke should have something to do with the topic.

9. a metaphor:

Use a metaphor to describe the topic of your presentation and help the audience understand it better. For example, camel becomes “desert ship”. Metaphor can be used to make an expression more figurative, vivid, and understandable.

10. a clear statement:

Begin your presentation with a clear statement that summarizes the topic of your presentation and prepares the audience for what follows.

Book recommendation

For an attractive start, I like to recommend the following book:

Michael Rossié: How do I start my speech?: 100 ideas for 1000 own starts
(Order at Amazon: Affiliate-Link)

If I can support you for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

Künstliche Intelligenz

From the idea to the perfect presentation: AI technology in action


Yes, AI tools are a real support for daily work. Even when it comes to creating a presentation. Do AI tools do all the work for you? No. Nevertheless, they are incredibly useful. There are several ways you can use AI for your presentations.

  1. Automatic text generation: In my opinion, currently (April 2023) still by far the most useful application. You can use AI tools like GPT-3 or GPT4 to automatically generate text for your presentations. This can be especially useful if you want to give an overview of a particular topic and don’t have enough time to write everything yourself. The AI tools (first and foremost ChatGPT) is a wonderful sparring partner and idea provider.
  2. Automatic translation: AI tools like Google Translate and – my favorite – DeepL translate your presentations almost perfectly into different languages. For example, it has long been unnecessary to translate a presentation from a human into the language in which you will be presenting. This way the effort is very manageable to have the slides in the same language as the language you are presenting in. This makes it easier for you and the audience during the presentation.
  3. Automatic subtitles: If you record your presentation on video, AI tools like YouTube or Google Slides can generate automatic subtitles for your presentation. This can be helpful for deaf people or people with hearing problems who have difficulty following the spoken word. Or for all others who are not proficient in the spoken language. For example, you can speak in German in your presentation, but the subtitles are in English, French or Chinese.
  4. Automatic slide layout: You can use AI tools like Slidebean, PowerPoint Designer or Beautiful.ai to automatically generate layouts and designs for your presentations. This can be especially useful if you are not a designer or do not have time to create a custom design.


It’s important to note that while many applications and tools are based on AI technology, they still require a fair amount of manual customization and review to ensure that the presentation you create meets your needs. So we can’t turn off the brain completely yet!

Full automation possible?

Currently, the AI tools still often require you to switch from one tool to another, so for example, you have to copy the text generated in ChatGPT to PowerPoint or Keynote using Copy-Paste. Or the application would help you for the design, but you are bound to the company template. In this case, the design suggestions are of limited use to you. For the latter, I wish I could use the company template in the AI tool as well. Surely this will come soon (or is already possible and I don’t know about it yet :-)). Currently, I stay in PowerPoint for the design and get inspiration from PowerPoint Designer from time to time.

Gamma.app: The egg-laying sow?

Gamma.app is already one step further. The prompt is integrated into the app. So there is no need to switch between applications. The order in which the app creates the presentation is interesting. After entering the prompt, the app asks how you want the design to look. Meanwhile, the app creates the content of the presentation. As soon as you have decided on a design, the app spits out the complete presentation including images. I tried this out using the example of “ESG for the construction industry”. The results were surprisingly good. However, I recommend reducing the whole sentences that are now on the slides to key words. Otherwise, the presentation becomes a pre-reading instead of a presentation.

At the moment, the Gamma app is still free. It only requires registration. Unfortunately, at the moment it is not possible to export the presentations to PowerPoint. The presentation is in a cloud – with the advantage that I and others can access it at any time.

To see what Gamma currently offers, I highly recommend trying out the Gamma.app.

More tips

For more tips and tricks on online presentations and online meetings, you can order the book “Online Meetings” by Thorsten Jekel and me.

If I can support you for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

Rehearsal / Proben

From rehearsal to perfection: how to rock your online presentation with Rehearsal.

Online Meetings Englisch Cover

Put your words into action.