TL;DR – His speech is simple, direct and personal.
Not bad for someone who just joined the Labour Movement almost a month ago on April 24th and speaking as an incoming Labour Chief (now Labour Chief).
Minister Ng Chee Meng delivered his speech during the debate on the President’s address last Tuesday (15 May) in response to the priorities of Government mentioned in President Halimah’s speech.
We pretended to be PR experts and deconstructed his 11 minutes long speech.
Here’s why we think he nailed it:
Keeping it simple
“For Singapore to be competitive in this new arena, we need to be hungry. Businesses will need to transform, towkays will need to change their mindsets, and workers will need to be eager to learn, upskill and continually upgrade…”
No flowery language. No jargons.
Ng spoke in a simple language and conveyed what really mattered.
Using active voice
“…Workers are worried about making ends meet. There are concerns about buying a home, about their retirement savings, about healthcare costs, and having enough for their children’s education…”
Note how Ng’s speech was written in active voice.
It’s more informal (not casual though) and doesn’t come across as distant as it would have if it was written in passive voice.
Addressing the root of the problem
“The real question here is whether employers are willing to employ senior workers instead of having the fixed mindset that these workers are a burden, more expensive and untrainable.”
The Labour Movement lobbied for re-employment of older workers and now, it wants to set up a Tripartite Committee to help mature workers continue working if they choose to.
But all these efforts will be futile if employers cannot transform their mindset towards hiring of mature workers.
“I chatted with 2 uncles, both 75 years old, at Changi Terminal 2 curbside recently. They are working as porters…On one hand, I was happy to see them healthy and active; but on the other, I wonder if provisions for their retirement are adequate when they are no longer fit to work or decide to retire.”
Ng related his personal experiences with union leaders whom he met during union visits. This added a human touch to his otherwise factual and “dry” speech.
Storytelling is also an effective way to engage the audience…but don’t tell grandfather story lah. 😛
Being direct and persuade with a classic structure
“The Labour Movement will need to push the transformation agenda by working even closer with Government and businesses, and this how the Labour Movement will be here to assist.”
Ng was direct in stating the purpose of his speech early. Subsequently, he expanded his points on how the Labour Movement wants to make things better for workers.
“In conclusion, we need to take better care of our low-wage workers…But needless to say, solutions are only possible if employers, workers and Government work together…We hear you, we are with you, and we will make it real, together.”
Towards the end, he summarized key takeaways for people who did not follow through the speech. (Aiyah, sometimes speeches are too long :P)
Here’s Minister Ng Chee Meng’s full speech in Parliament: