Last night I finally got round to watching the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech.
It’s a fine story. But as I was probably the last person in England to see it, there’s not much point in telling you how the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue helped King George VI to overcome his crippling stammer.
But as a copywriter I do want to share one bit with you again. It comes at the moment the King is about to broadcast his all-important first speech of wartime.
This King is alone with Lionel Logue and his BBC microphone is about to go live. He’s on the precipice of his stammering returning, but Lionel says, simply:
Forget everything else and just say it to me. Say it to me, as a friend.
It works. The King delivers a magnificent, moving and powerful speech.
Because he addresses it to his friend.
It’s a completely different approach to the one the King wanted earlier in the film: help with the mechanics of speaking, of relaxing his throat muscles and strengthening his tongue.
And it reminds me of a lesson I learned the hard way – it’s all very well learning the mechanics of copywriting, but it’s pointless if you let it rob your writing voice of warmth, honesty and conviction.
Because they’re the hallmarks of someone talking to a friend.