10 episodes

The ‘Story of a Speech' Podcast, explores, educates and explains why every business person needs to master the skills of speaking and storytelling. The two Michaels will share insights, speaking tips and of course many stories.

Story of a Speech Michael de Groot

    • Business

The ‘Story of a Speech' Podcast, explores, educates and explains why every business person needs to master the skills of speaking and storytelling. The two Michaels will share insights, speaking tips and of course many stories.

    Fair Game

    Fair Game

    Valerie Plame is employed by the Central Intelligence Agency, a fact known outside the agency to no one except her husband and parents. She is an agent involved in a number of sensitive and sometimes dangerous covert operations overseas.

    Her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, is a diplomat who most recently has served as a U.S. ambassador to Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe. Due to his extensive background, Wilson is approached by Plame's CIA colleagues to travel to Niger and glean information as to whether yellowcake uranium is being procured by Iraq for use in the construction of nuclear weasons. Wilson determines to his own satisfaction that it is not.

    After military action is taken by George W. Bush, who justifies it in a 2003 State of the Union address by alluding to the uranium's use in building weapons of mass destruction, Wilson submits an op-ed piece to the New York Times claiming these reports to be categorically untrue.

    Speech text:

    "How many of you know the 16 words in President Bush's State of the Union Address that led us to war? (none) How many know my wife's name? (everyone)

    How can you know one, and not the other? When did the question move from "Why are we going to war" to "Who is this man's wife?"

    I asked the first question and someone else asked the second. And it worked. Because none of us know the truth. The offence that was committed was not committed against me, it was not committed against my wife – it was committed against you. All of you.

    If that makes you angry or feel misrepresented, do something about it.

    When Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall, just after the second draft of it, he was approached by a woman on the street, the woman said, ‘Mr Franklin, what manner of government have you bequeathed us? And Franklin said, ‘A Republic madam… if you can keep it.’

    The responsibility of a country is not in the hands of a privileged few. We are strong and we are free from tyranny as long as each one of us remembers his or her duty as a citizen. Whether it’s to report a pothole at the top of your street, or lies in a State of The Union Address, speak out!

    Ask those questions. Demand that truth. Democracy is not a free ride man, I’m here to tell you.

    But this is where we live. And if we do our job, this is where our children will live. God Bless America."

    Link to video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKbpLDdw4KU

    Links to content discussed in the podcast:



    Thanks for listening, feel free to reach out with your questions and until next time. 🎈👇

    Michael-Don Smith

    Michael de Groot

    • 48 min
    Rhetorical Devices

    Rhetorical Devices

    This episode covers the topic of 'Rhetorical Devices'. 

    Quick explanation: "A rhetorical device, persuasive device, or stylistic device is a technique that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a meaning with the goal of persuading them towards considering a topic from a perspective, using sentences designed to encourage or provoke an emotional display of a given perspective or action. Rhetorical devices can be used to evoke an emotional response in the audience, but that is not their primary purpose." Some links below with an exhaustive list of them. 



    There's no way we will cover them all and you will hear a back and forth discussion between the two Michael's exploring, explaining some random devices and uncover how they might be used or indeed are being used in some examples they discuss.

    Thanks for listening, feel free to reach out with your questions and until next time. 🎈👇

    Michael-Don Smith

    Michael de Groot

    • 52 min
    V for Vendetta

    V for Vendetta

    Just in time for November 5th, when we celebrate Guy Fawkes night every year in the UK.

    Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate vision of Britain in which a corrupt and abusive totalitarian government has risen to complete power. During a threatening run in with the secret police, an unassuming young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) is rescued by a vigilante named V (Hugo Weaving) -- a caped figure both articulate and skilled in combat. V embodies the principles of rebellion from an authoritarian state, donning a mask of vilified would-be terrorist of British history Guy Fawkes and leading a revolution sparked by assassination and destruction. Evey becomes his unlikely ally, newly aware of the cruelty of her own society and her role in it.

    V for Vendetta film clip

    V's speech:

    V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, where upon important events of the past, usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing you’re conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly, there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. They were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic, you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words; they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgotten.

    Thanks for listening, send us your questions and until next time. 🎈👇

    Michael-Don Smith

    Michael de Groot

    • 49 min
    It's all in your hands

    It's all in your hands

    An episode with a difference. We share some of our own current stories from our world in public speaking and storytelling. Some of the topics we will be touching on include, Vanessa Van Edwards and Captivate, Harry Truman, past president of the USA, the brand new documentary on Amazon Prime 'Rocketman', the lucky golfer Gary Player, Donald Trump and his hands, the analysis of hundreds of TED talks and why they went viral, the use of #hashtags for your stories on social media, especially Linkedin.

    Next month we will be back with our analysis of an amazing speech from the movies, which will be from the movie V for Vendetta.

    Thanks for listening and until next time. 🎈👇

    Michael-Don Smith

    Michael de Groot


    • 41 min
    The Great Dictator

    The Great Dictator

    We continue with our series of discussing 5 of the most famous and greatest speeches from the movies. Charlie Chaplin was a genius, his speech in this movie still applies today. It was made in 1940!
    The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first film with dialogue. Chaplin plays both a little Jewish barber, living in the ghetto, and Hynkel, the dictator ruler of Tomainia. In his autobiography Chaplin quotes himself as having said: “One doesn’t have to be a Jew to be anti Nazi. All one has to be is a normal decent human being.”
    Chaplin and Hitler were born within a week of one another. “There was something uncanny in the resemblance between the Little Tramp and Adolf Hitler, representing opposite poles of humanity, ” writes Chaplin biographer David Robinson, reproducing an unsigned article from The Spectator dated 21st April 1939:
    “Providence was in an ironical mood when, it was ordained that Charles Chaplin and Adolf Hitler should make their entry into the world within four days of each other.  Each in his own way has expressed the ideas, sentiments, aspirations of the millions of struggling citizens ground between the upper and the lower millstone of society.  Each has mirrored the same reality – the predicament of the “little man” in modern society.  Each is a distorting mirror, the one for good, the other for untold evil.”
    Chaplin spent many months drafting and re-writing the speech for the end of the film, a call for peace from the barber who has been mistaken for Hynkel. Many people criticized the speech, and thought it was superfluous to the film. Others found it uplifting. Regrettably Chaplin’s words are as relevant today as they were in 1940.
    Watch the official clip: https://youtu.be/J7GY1Xg6X20
    IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032553/
    The CYSS (Craft your Signature Speech) Master Your Message 1 Day Bootcamp with Michael-Don Smith on 27 July 2019.
    The Share Your Story - Storytelling Workshop with Michael de Groot on 20 August 2019.
    Both workshops qualify for a £40 discount when you use the code SOSPODCAST upon registration and/or checkout. 
    Location: The Shakti Rooms, 3rd Floor Avebury House, 55 Newhall Steet, Birmingham B3 3RB

    • 1 hr 21 min
    A Few Good Men

    A Few Good Men

    With this episode we start a 5-episode series of discussing 5 of the most famous and greatest speeches from the movies. We start with discussing 'A Few Good Men', starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon.  We unpick the content of the speech and examine it against the ABC of delivering speeches, the colourful language, the metonymies used to make the audience work and remember the speech. Enjoy!


    In this dramatic courtroom thriller, LT Daniel Kaffee, a Navy lawyer who has never seen the inside of the courtroom, defends two stubborn Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. Kaffee is known as being lazy and had arranged for a plea bargain. Downey's Aunt Ginny appoints Cmdr. Galloway to represent him. Also on the legal staff is LTJG Sam Weinberg. The team rounds up many facts and Kaffee is discovering that he is really cut out for trial work. The defense is originally based upon the fact that PFC Santiago, the victim, was given a "CODE RED". Santiago was basically a screw-up. At Gitmo, screw-ups aren't tolerated. Especially by Col. Nathan Jessup. In Cuba, Jessup and two senior officers try to give all the help they can, but Kaffee knows something's fishy. In the conclusion of the film, the fireworks are set off by a confrontation between Jessup and Kaffee.

    • 47 min

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