For those with an interest in public speaking or personal development.
In the initial public speaking course that I deliver, I ask delegates to bring along an item that is representative of their culture, and speak about this item during the session.
It is invariably fascinating.
The above picture would be representative of my national culture.
This iconic picture of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, was taken during a firestorm in the Blitz, at the height of the Battle of Britain, in December 1940.
It is an image that smacks of standing alone; surrounded by death and destruction. Yet standing firm, being defiant and being resilient.
My parents told me that, during the Battle of Britain, the country had its back against the wall, Britain was nearly broken and invasion was imminent.
But we fought back. And part of our armoury was words.
Because Britain’s leader, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used powerful oratory – communicated via crackly radios – to rally people to a cause. Indeed, during the Blitz, Churchill had issued an edict stating that St Paul’s must be saved at all costs.
Sometimes, if I feel despondent, I glimpse at this picture and my mood lifts. Because, if I feel that life is being tough to me, it is nowhere near as tough as the lives of previous generations of Britons who lived through those dark times. Who would listen to the words of a leader in their freezing homes (if their homes were still standing), to give them hope; to keep going.
78 years after this iconic picture was taken Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent masterpiece of St Paul’s remains. An Elegant Elderly Lady, her skin pockmarked by bombings, but still standing. Solid, steadfast and resilient.
A life lesson to us all.
With much warmth
Public Speaking Matters