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