Getting Over Yourself

September 6, 2012

Ann vs. Michelle

Okay, really they both were good, so “vs.” probably isn’t accurate.
They both spoke from the heart with good pauses, good eye contact, genuine appreciation for the subject of their talks.

One thin they (and all the “regular” folks who talked) illustrated is that it’s easier to stay focused on your message if  you know you’re not the reason that you’re speaking. It’s harder for candidates (would you really want to run for President and take all guff?) to divorce themselves because they’re going to take flak no matter what they say.
But if you want to improve your speaking, I recommend that you watch whichever speakers you find dynamic (lots to choose from these Convention weeks) several times. It will help you with your rhythms. Don’t try to copy, just absorb the rhythm of a speaker who is completely with the idea and not focused on technique or adulation.

Again, I think it’s quite instructive to watch how they handle the crowds chanting and applauding when they’re introduced as well how how they handle the interruptions.

Michelle Obama has such poise that she could acknowledge that the interruptive applause was taking place, but not let it control her being in charge of the occasion. It was masterful. As was the rest of her speech.

If you can forget the politics and appreciate the speakers, there’s  a ton you can learn from these speakers.

And, since everything is streamed online, you can watch anything you’ve missed and take time to analyze what’s working and not working.

Don’t you love the free lessons?

August 29, 2012

So, what did you think of Ann Romney and Chris Christie last night?

You’ve probably noticed the speakers get more polished (those with more experience) as the evening goes on.

What did you think of Ann Romney’s speech? Of Chris Christie’s?

It’s not too late you can watch all of them from last night, or just skip though and watch parts of it. PBS has it at http://video.pbs.org/video/2273864818

I’d like to hear what you notice about the speakers.

I like seeing how they deal with thunderous applause while waiting to speak.

Governor Scott Walker just started talking right over the applause.

Rick Santorum while quietly waiting for the applause to die down kept repeating “thank you” at reasonable intervals.

Ann Romney just waited quietly as she beamed at the audience.

And how did you like seeing Ted Cruz (Senatorial candidate from Texas) speaking without a lectern–the only one who did that? Did his cowboy boots make a statement to you? If so, what?

You can also notice an interesting range of passion and how it affects the message.

Ann Romney’s passion was evident and not combative or gooey. Her timing was great. She spoke at a pretty good clip that wasn’t asking for sympathy and wasn’t milking her points. Yet she spoke two lines in a measured way, with complete conviction, good pauses and good body language. It was almost as though there were periods between the words. “This. Man. Will. Not. Fail.” and “You. Can. Trust. Mitt.” Her focus, her body language, the pauses, made those simple sentences electrifying.

Governor Christie’s passion is much more emotionally delivered plus he doesn’t display the carefulness many speakers of the evening had which tends to sweep the audience along. Later you may rethink what you heard, but he makes it easy to get caught in his rhythms.

In spite of the passion, he doesn’t sound angry. Committed to his ideas and his party, yes. Personally angry, no.

Contrast that with the between-speech interviews with Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuna and Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad. Governor Fortuna spoke thoughtfully and with conviction. Governor Branstad was obviously passionate but angry. It felt personal. And he wasn’t going to let anyone get in his way to grind in his point.

These are good opportunities to observe other people’s approaches to speaking and use what you see to tweak your own speaking.

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