Getting Over Yourself

August 29, 2012

What was Romney thinking?

Really. What do you think Romney was thinking when the convention erupted at the end of Chris Cristie’s speech?

I can hazard a guess that he was uncomfortable and didn’t want to look like he was showing off. It was the moment of everyone’s jubilation at Mitt being the nominee and he stayed seated and kept his face neutral.

This matters to you because you can be tempted to try not to look inappropriate when someone is praising you–in a meeting, as they introduce you, as you get an award. But if you look at how it makes him look distanced from the idea and what’s going on, you should be able to see that letting yourself appreciate the bigger picture rather than focus on yourself will actually make you look interested, happy, appropriate–and invisible.

If you didn’t see it, watch and let me know what you think: It’s at the end of the evening. Because it’ll be a quick lesson for your own speaking.


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

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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