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

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Armin Laschet Bewerbung 2021

Armin Laschet versus Friedrich Merz: This is where the speakers’ chaff is separated from the wheat.

Armin Laschet was elected chairman of the CDU Germany on January 16, 2021. He prevailed over his main rival Friedrich Merz. From a rhetorical point of view, I’m not surprised for a second. Why? You will find out in this article.

Armin Laschet’s speech was worlds better than that of Friedrich Merz. I suspect that Armin Laschet took a coach for this speech.

How do I compare the two speeches? I could easily list 20 points that struck me as positive in Laschet’s speech. At this point, only a few.

Armin Laschet Friedrich Merz


Really good: Armin Laschet makes a lot of eye contact with the audience behind the camera. Not ideal: Friedrich Merz often looks sideways at those present in the room instead of into the camera.
Both could speak even more freely if they had a teleprompter (or two) installed. That’s how Barak Obama has done it over and over again. Nevertheless, the point goes to Armin Laschet. Especially because he speaks the ending without reading.
He uses his father’s story in underground mining as an analogy for what really matters: Trust. Friedrich Merz needs practically no stories and no analogies. Therefore, no pictures arise in my head. But these would be important. The whole speech is too abstract, too general.
The camera settings are well chosen. In his place, I would have had a word with the picture director beforehand and certainly afterwards. The attitudes were consistently to his detriment: for example, several times we got to see bored party members or those who were doing something other than listening with interest.
Laschet cleverly put the recommendation to vote for him in the mouth of his father (14:08). Quoting Laschet, “He [der Vater] said, “Tell people they can trust you.” That goes down much better than, “Trust me.” He speaks in the “we” form, but I am not with him emotionally.
The conclusion is the highlight of the speech: Armin Laschet stands on the side of the lectern and pulls his father’s dog tag out of his pocket, creating an image for the ages. Moreover, he wonderfully closed the circle to the beginning of the speech. Friedrich Merz always shows himself more or less the same. It does not result in a special photo subject.

Conclusion: You should definitely watch Armin Lascht’s speech. And for comparison, a few minutes of that of Friedrich Merz. Finest visual material.

If you too want to give online and offline speeches that move your audience emotionally, give me a call. I will be happy to support you.

If you want more tips, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Of course, you may also share the post on social media. I would be happy.

I wish you success for your next presentation.

Thomas Skipwith