President Barack Obama is used so often as an example of a great speaker by ‘experts’ that he’s almost become a cliche. There’s no doubt that he can be a great speaker, on occasions, as many of us can be, to friendly crowds, with a well crafted speech, when everyone is listening and no one is heckling. But that’s not how most of the rest of us work is it?
Often, we’re speaking to a group of disinterested or cynical folk. Often we’re on late because everything else has overrun. Frequently we have no introduction and little reputation to live up to. Almost always we’re not the most senior person in the room. Challenging huh?
So the fact that Barack can do well with the ‘wind behind him’, is of little real relevance to the corporate speaker. But there are some things that we can learn.
Max Atkinson draws some useful lessons for all of us, in this short piece on his excellent website. Usefully making this point-
It’s commonly thought that effective orators are blessed with a mysterious gift, but all successful speakers use the same simple techniques, and have been doing so at least since they were first taught by the ancient Greeks. What makes outstanding speakers stand out is the frequency with which they use them. At its simplest, the more use made of these techniques, the more impressed audiences will be.
The full text is here- Max Atkinson’s Blog: Rhetoric & imagery in Obama’s victory speech.