From a good and bad communications perspective, the start of the British General Election campaign has been highly eventful.

It began with the announcement of the election date – 4 July 2024 – with a rain-drenched Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in front of 10 Downing Street seeking to persuade voters that he was the party leader with a plan.



However, this was undermined by the absence of any kind of weather protection – even a mere umbrella – which raised questions (and jokes) about his and his Conservative Party’s planning abilities.

The communication lesson for us all is that when you’re announcing anything, the immediate location where you choose to make your presentation and what’s going on around you at your launch can say more than any verbal utterances you make.

In a much drier and better-planned indoor election campaign speech this week, the Opposition Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, set out to show that his changes to his Labour Party – made since he replaced the previous more left-leaning contentious Labour Party leader – meant that he could be trusted to put his country ahead of his party. 



Sir Keir’s speech was pitched at those who opinion pollsters identify as the many so-far undecided voters.

Very different though the two men’s speeches were, there was one common element between them.

Both leaders sought to show things that they have done or experienced in the past to indicate how they would perform as leaders in the future.


Real-Life Examples That Show, Not Tell


This issue seeks to examine the “Show-Not-Tell” technique of linking one or more real-life examples of what you have done or experienced with what you’re planning to do in the future.

It isn’t seeking to influence the way anyone who has a vote in this election may decide to use it.

Rather this column is seeking to look at what we, as communicators, can pick up from these two speeches whenever we need to persuade an important audience.

The links to both speeches follow. 

So it’s great if you can at least watch the start of the Sir Keir Starmer video where he’s talking about the struggles of his factory-working dad and his mum, the nurse who was battling with a debilitating illness.

He talks about the fear of debt and rampant inflation with which his family and others had to grapple as he grew up in the 1970s.

Why’s he telling us this?

It’s to show that he can relate to anyone who is struggling now.

And it’s aimed at illustrating the message that if Sir Keir becomes the prime minister he will prioritise the challenge of creating economic stability.

Sir Keir also reminds us how economic chaos was so seriously generated by the rash of hasty decisions made by the Conservatives in the short frenetic time while Liz Truss was in charge at 10 Downing Street.



 So you can see how Sir Keir is setting out to show that his early experiences paved the way for his determination to provide economic stability for the United Kingdom in the future.

You can check out the Starmer speech here:



And you can hopefully envisage from this presentation how a leader in the business world can potentially tell part of their back story to show why they are marshalling their company to tackle a particular problem afflicting their potential customers.

In presentation training sessions – one-to-one or in groups – a key aim is to help participants select the right story from their past which shows why they want to achieve a certain goal in the future.



Details of sessions on Presenting With Confidence, Impact & Pizzazz are set out at:


One Shining Positive Example Amidst The Raindrops


In his election announcing speech, Rishi Sunak chose to start with a real-life example of how, when the Covid epidemic surged in 2020, he introduced a scheme to protect jobs at a time when when most people were prevented by the government from going to work.

The so-called “Furlough Scheme” was planned when he was  Chancellor of the Exchequer, and provided government grants to employers to pay most of the wages for their “furloughed” staff.

This was something many TV viewers would have remembered, quite possibly fondly.



By referring to this, Rishi Sunak was seeking – in communication terms – to what’s called “hit a resonant chord” with viewers.

This means to revive memories of something about which people may have positive thoughts as they remember him in his role as the “hero of furlough”.

So despite the atrocious decision to give his speech in the rain without protection, the prime minister gives himself a chance of playing on voters’ past positive memories.

You can check out this highlight of the prime minister’s otherwise not-so-well executed announcement at the start of this video here:


Again this is something which in a (hopefully rain-free) presentation, that you can potentially do by choosing the right example from your past to remind people of your credibility and success about something – to enhance your chances of future success.

If the prime minister can do it amidst atrocious weather, you can potentially plan to speak of your great example in your far better-executed future presentations where you wisely choose the ideal conditions!