Speeches at any time, but in the instance of Annual Conferences /Dinners can often be more than a tad indigestible, the unfortunate fact that they are either devoid of any sincerity and conviction or that the presenter is so far out of their comfort zone, the room squirms more than a politician in front of Shane Ross.
Last week proved to be different. Us motoring journalists listen to speeches on a regular basis, a natural by-product of car launches, model updates or state of the nation addresses, as seen through the eyes of an Importer/Distributor. Suffice it to say, it takes more than a descriptive adjective and a wry quip to capture our ears, never mind an infiltration in our guarded souls.
So, bedecked in a black tux, white shirt and ubiquitous bowtie, complete with shiny shoes, I gathered with at least 500 similarly dress dapper men, at the SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry’s) 61st annual dinner at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, formerly the ‘Burlo’, in Dublin last Friday.
After the usual backslaps of reunification, we took our seats and the current SIMI President Paul Linders took his place at the plinth – another speech was about to befall us – this man, unknown to me personally, has stuff to say!!
And then he began, and he got the whole room at ‘Hello’. Articulate, knowledgeable, fluid and believable, Paul Linders put his words among us with confident, professional ease. No room for ‘emms’ or ‘ahh’s, Paul fired pure prose at the gathering – his only impediment being that he has to stop for breathing on occasion.
Such was his refreshing performance, it could easily have rendered its content irrelevant. He was upbeat, yet realistic on the current January figures, the recovery process of the Motor Industry and the not insignificant fact that 310 new businesses have been created within the past year. And while he was buoyant, his pragmatism put the ABS on declaring the recession as a distant dot in our mirrors.
Paul’s restating on the January figures of a 32% increase in car sales, LCV’s up 45% and HGV’s up 41%, make undoubted good audio for our ears, as did the news of more employment and increased access to finance, with new providers coming to market and older one reacquainting themselves with customers.
At the end of his effective proclamation, one could only be impressed. While Paul spoke with eloquence and flow on the Irish Motor Industry, I could easily see him do similar justice on any subject he was given. Yep, I enjoyed the Annual gathering of our Motor Industry – the positivity palpable throughout the night. Be warned - as I face into another year of multiple speeches and presentations, the gauntlet of Paul Linders will rattle around every venue.
By Tony Toner, BeepBeep.ie Motoring Correspondent.