William Hague is a chirpy chappie. You cannot fail to be impressed by his refreshing ebullience as he strides purposefully on to the podium.
The audience: current students and distinguished alumni at the London Business School. Hague opened well, parrying deftly the introductory jocularity from the student president, who suggested his career would have been even more meteoric if he had chosen LBS rather than INSEAD prior to working for Shell and McKinsey.
However, Hague then got his head down into a script that appeared to have been written by someone else. Immediately we saw the symptoms of TLDS, or Tory Leader Drone Syndrome - although the reason many find Hague's voice boring is not his accent but the way he stresses all the wrong words!
The speech got better as he warmed to his subject, namely that Britain should be part of Europe, not run by it.
Ten minutes in, he dropped a bombshell; in the previous month, the US had created more jobs than both France and Germany in the previous 10 years. This, however, was mentioned almost en passant and he failed to develop his theme properly.
He used (and at times overused) the usual oratorical tricks so beloved of politicians, in particular the 'Rule of Three', where issues are listed in threes for added emphasis.
He ended well - the crescendo was there, as was the passion, his hand movements elegantly signalling the approaching finale. The applause, notwithstanding that most people in the audience agreed with his speech, was fulsome rather than ecstatic
Key lesson: Listen to how you speak.
Key moments: The self-assured opening and closing.
Silver tongue or foot in mouth?
Khalid Aziz, chairman, Aziz Corp e-mail: email@example.com.