We have 3 Questions

The three questions Queen Elizabeth II asked before delivering a speech

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I’m a big fan of The Crown on Netflix, I think the storytelling is fantastic and I find myself consistently googling details on little facts that they dropped that always pan out as true.

In S5 E4 there was a great scene between the Queen and the Queen-Mum. They were debating the Queen’s pending “Annus Horribilis” speech in which the Queen-Mother felt that the Queen may be running risk of “hashtag: overshare!”. Amidst the heated exchange, the Queen Mum said, “Don’t forget the three questions that you always have to answer…”

Those questions were:

  • Does it need saying?
  • Does it need saying now?
  • Does it need saying by me?

I immediately hit pause and pondered this (my wife was not amused). The more I think about it, the more I think they’re brilliant. So many presentations suffer from not asking the above. The best thing is that they are gates. If you answer no at any of the gates in order, you can just stop asking. So often when we work with our clients, they simply fail to get past the very first gate!

What is important is to remember that you don’t just use the Queen’s Gates to check the validity of your talk or presentation as a whole, you can use them to check any content that you are looking to include. Most speeches and presos are not inherently bad, they are made bad by the inclusion of superfluous information. The Queen’s Gates will help you from falling into this trap.

The irony of the scene is that the answer to all three questions was a resounding, “Yes!”. The country needed an emotional connection with the Crown over that period. The Queen’s speeches were always rich with logos (head), and ethos (gut), but what the nation needed then was pathos (heart), and they got it in droves with this one.


Note: All footage is from Netflix’s The Crown, Season 5 Episode 4 “Annus Horriblis”.  
To view the original speech please click here