Fergus Reid Buckley, public speaking coach to hundreds, died on Monday. He was 83. Reid Buckley, like his older brother William F. Buckley, was an expert debater. In 1988 he founded the Buckley School of Public Speaking. The school trained hundreds of leaders—including many conservative leaders—to be effective public speakers. Syndicated columnist David Limbaugh was one of them. Limbaugh writes:
Through years of publicly debating liberals, Reid honed his skills as a debater and became an enthusiastic evangelist of the formula he developed to help people become effective communicators. His training took place over a few short days, but it was as power packed as any instruction I’ve ever received. We not only had to put in long hours at the school, but he also loaded us up with homework for our nighttime pleasure.
He was a hands-on teacher who delighted in his trade and in imparting his skills to his students, from untrained neophytes to leaders of major corporations. He personally evaluated and critiqued every student and provided them detailed notes on their strengths and weaknesses, which were enormously instructive and practical. He also surrounded himself with extraordinarily competent and cheerful employees, who made his school all the more valuable and enjoyable.
Reid was full of personality, wit, and charm. As serious as he was about his craft and in imparting his technique, he always made it fun. He sometimes came to class, which I attended in the dead heat of summer, in shorts. He was invested in each and every one of his students, fiercely committed to making them better communicators. He sincerely believed that creating better communicators would lead to a better society. [National Review, April 17]