Last night, I joined hundreds of other Vancouverites at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for an evening with Edward Snowden.

For more than an hour, the intelligence-contractor-turned-whistleblower spoke to us via videoconference. He was articulate, quietly passionate and completely focused…at 5:00 a.m. Moscow time.

Set aside for a moment the substance of his talk. Just consider this:

Speechwriters often have to write for less-than-ideal events; speakers often have to deliver despite jet lag, poor acoustics or recalcitrant LCD projectors.

But if Snowden can speak with such energy, intelligence and poise at the end of an all-nighter, into a video camera, in exile… well, it puts any challenges I’ve faced into context.

Here are my sketchnotes from the evening (drawn in darkness, by the light – ironically enough – of my privacy-nightmare iPhone).

Sketchnotes from Edward Snowden talk Sketchnotes from Edward Snowden talk Sketchnotes from Edward Snowden talk Sketchnotes from Edward Snowden talk

Big props to SFU Public Square for putting on the event — and to CBC’s Laura Lynch for her lively, incisive questions.

Subscribe to SpeechList

Insight, advice and ideas for speechwriting, speaking and leadership communications — from my inbox to yours.

Thanks for signing up! Now just one more step: check your email inbox for a confirmation link, and you're all set!

Share this post