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Biden’s Speech Outshines All—Even Bill’s

Whether you like his politics or not, it’s hard to argue that Bill Clinton knows how to give a speech.  While Ronald Reagan has been touted as the Great Communicator, Bill Clinton was his equal on stage and with a microphone.   They’ve met their match!

Joe Biden brought the house down.  In comparison, he even made Bill Clinton seem like an average speaker.

Joe did everything right:
•    Opening that was real—not histrionic.
•    Meaningful stories and quotes from his mother:

“Joey, God sends no cross you cannot bear.”

•    A glimpse into his nightly ride home, thinking about the people whose homes he passed.

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Hillary Clinton Uses Typical Politician Style

If you love Hillary, she gave a great speech and you’d give her an A +. If you really dislike Hillary, she gave a horrible speech and you’d give her an F. If you are an executive speech coach and can approach her dispassionately and ignore the content of her speech, you’d say she was an average politician.

This blog is non-political. It is based on my experiences with speakers from around the world. To keep this an assessment of style—not substance—I look at the overall stage presence, voice quality, variety of vocal pacing and projection, and techniques to make it memorable (such as humor, repetitive phrases, call backs, visuals, analogies, examples, stories.) So here’s my grade for her tonight: C.

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Day 2 Speakers Demonstrate How-NOT-to Speak

After a magnificent example of great speaking last night (see yesterday’s blog about Michelle Obama), the presentations at the afternoon and early evening sessions of the Democratic National Convention leave much to be desired. Most were average at best. A few were a little better than average and had some good techniques I’ll talk about. But there were some ones that did nothing to add to their political cause.

I’ll grade the speakers below, but first here are some hints that you can use in your business presentations:

1. When the crowd is noisy, don’t shout. It won’t help them or you.

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Michelle Obama Shows Us How to Give a Speech

Michelle Obama Speech Expert Grade: A+

WOW! Warmth, brains, beauty, substance, storytelling, repetitive phrasing, good use of Teleprompters. You name it, Michelle Obama displayed it. None of the shouting, trying to get the crowd into a false frenzy, staring at the Prompter….or any of the common mistakes that will be shown over and over at these conventions. HINT: Notice how Michelle used details to make her stories come alive. She told of her dad using 2 canes to walk cross the room to kiss her mom. Can’t you just picture that? It’s the details that make you feel as if you are in the same place, living the experience.

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Speaking to Large Crowds: Lessons Learned by Watching the Political Conventions

Business people can learn a lot about speaking in front of large crowds this week and next. The Democratic and Republican national conventions show the best…and the worst…techniques that speakers use.

As an executive speech coach, I will be analyzing the speeches from the perspective of WHAT BUSINESS PEOPLE CAN APPLY to their own presentations at work.

This is a non-political blog. There will be good and bad examples from each side of the political fence.

My purpose is to point out the mistakes that you won’t want to make when you get up to speak. I’ll also point out some of the techniques that are good to use in the business world.

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Rate the Speaker: Day 1 Dem convention

When the Democratic National Convention began, it got off to a good start–speech wise. In most years, the speakers that go on during the afternoon are usually the weaker ones–while the stars are on in prime time. But the good start was quickly shown to be a tease and the speakers for several hours reverted to speaking styles that tempt you to turn off the TV or walk out of the room.

Here are a few comments on things we can learn. I’ll try to attach the videos of these segments when they become available.

John Hickenlooper Mayor of Denver, Colorado Speech Expert Assessment: Grade: C
Like many people, he started off his speech like a racehorse, speaking quickly.

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