Lothery & Associates

Convention Conversation: Dems’ Turn 2

If you stayed up to watch the convention speeches last night, you saw a sharp contrast between two speakers.  One, a very prompter-attached candidate for US Senate, the other, one of the most masterful communicators in modern day.

Red, blue and tea party hats to the side, let’s talk, the talk!

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had a rough start. She hasn’t mastered using the rhythm and energy of the crowd to bolster her own energy, and drive viewer opinion. She ran straight through most natural pauses for applause, making it look like she just wanted to get through her speech and get off stage. In hindsight, maybe she knew what the rest of us learned later: former President Bill Clinton was going to take the stage for more than 45 minutes, so she may have just been making room for him!

If she’s going to win the senate seat in November, she’s going to need to learn how to speak with the teleprompter not to it. Her message was good, but between reading and speaking through thunderous applause, I don’t think anyone will actually know how good it was.

Now let’s get to the ham himself. Mr. Clinton was eloquent, but raspy. He certainly could have used a glass of water quite a few times during the speech. That water glass could also have rid him of the spittle that made itself a home at the corner of his mouth for the majority of the speech.  I don’t know about you, but it was a bit distracting for me.  Somehow, after office he forgot the rule about not pointing. He did it early and often. And I guess because he always pointed with the bent finger before, I never realized that his index finger appeared a foot long on TV! Creepy.

With the aesthetics out of the way, let’s talk about message. Can you say WONKY? Wow! I would NEVER recommend using that many numbers in a presentation or speech, however, he gave ample context and drew a mental picture for every single number and tied it to what it means to the taxpayer.

He had notable quotes throughout and brought life back to the once lame and quiet democratic party. His energy, passion and first hand examples of what he did and how he did it, and how that fits with the current president’s objectives, made for great connections to bring the middle fence sitters over to his side.

From the people tweeting in the convention center, per his usual, Clinton went off script and off prompter more than a few times, to make things more conversational.  I love this quality in any speaker.  As long as the facts are correct and the message is still consistent and on point, deviating here and there makes for great conversation.

It’s a quick recap today, because frankly, it’s hard to poke holes in Bill Clinton’s delivery. So here are our take-aways:

  • It’s OK to go off prompter if you can do so smoothly and not lose your place.
  • If you get dry when you speak, keep water handy, drink during a pause and don’t forget to check the corners of your mouth.
  • When the audience loves you, love them back with a pause for their applause!
  • Only use humor if someone other than a family member has told you that you’re funny! Seriously.
  • Enjoy their participation, don’t look annoyed that they aren’t letting you finish.
  • When you use specific data, which is highly recommended, make sure your facts are “bulletproof.” CBS News did a fact-check today and affirmed the former president’s claims. See Article.
  • When you’ve made the point, sit down.  While no one can hold an audience’s attention like Clinton, he was up there for entirely too long.

Until tonight’s finale, may all of your communications be good ones.


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Comment by Amedar Consulting | September 7, 2012 | 1:45 am

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

The comments are closed.


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