Part II-Obama’s Inaugural Spice: A MEMORABLE OPENING

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

This is the 2nd in a series of 5 posts
on Rhetorical Tips and Techniques
that President Obama could have used
to make his Second Inaugural Address
more memorable.
Boldface indicates
a departure from the original script. 

         Scrap the preamble. That’s what President Barack Obama could have done to make the opening of his Inaugural Address more memorable. He could have begun with the pizzazz of a spectacular fireworks display.  fireworks1fireworks

       Instead, he dragged his audience through a 5-minute-9-second preamble before sparking the first splattering of applause. (President Kennedy needed just half as much time to elicit his inaugural’s first applause at 2:26.)

        Obama’s sin? He buried the “lede” in the parlance of journalists.

       In fact,  Mr. Obama could have begun his speech with his 10th paragraph. That’s right the first 9 paragraphs were not IMMEDIATELY relevant to an audience. The audience listened for a verbal hook to hang on to. Instead they got hung up on a twirling lasseau of platitudes. In the parlance of the texting world: TMI –Too Much Information. For more detail on TMI see Part I in this series on the President’s memorability mistake in becoming the Explainer-in-Chief.

Seize The Opportunity Together

      Let’s open with a fireworks display that captures the attention of the audience. Go to that 10th paragraph in the original script. Notice how this opening engages the audience more directly and immediately establishes the theme : Seizing the Opportunity Together.

         A decade of war is now ending.  An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment. We are poised for this moment. We are primed for this moment. We will seize it so long as we seize it—together.

                  Then task the audience to engage with you.
Too many speakers wait until the end of he speech
to ask the audience to climb on board.  Continue reading “Part II-Obama’s Inaugural Spice: A MEMORABLE OPENING”

Part I: Spicing Up Obama’s Inaugural Address

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 This is the 1st in a series of 5 posts
on Rhetorical Tips and Techniques
that President Obama could have used
to make his Second Inaugural Address
more memorable.
Boldface indicates
a departure from the original script.

President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address could have used some rhetorical spice.

           Obama mug shotAt least that’s the feeling of pundits from all political persuasions who were left groping for a memorable phrase –or a meaningful key message– among his 2,147 words following his 18 minute 40 second speech that seemed more bland than grand.

President Obama delivers Second Inaugural Address
President Obama delivers Second Inaugural Address

           How could a podium pro like Mr. Obama fall victim to such a pedestrian performance from a purely speaking perspective? And what could you do to protect yourself from the same malady if you had to deliver an address to your company  as their new leader?

              Read on to see how Mr. Obama could have engineered his own “Ask-Not-What -Your- Country- Can- Do -For- You etc” mark in the minds of millions. Read on to learn how you can more fully write and deliver a speech that will leave your audience humming your tune and maybe even dancing to your message.

         Read on for a general critique of Mr. Obama’s speech writing efforts. Then explore three follow-up posts that will more fully develop speech writing  tips and techniques that Mr. Obama and his speech writing team could have use for a more MEMORABLE opening,  a more MEANINGFUL middle and a more MOBILIZING close.

Restructuring Not Rewriting

     Then on Friday February 1 this 5 part series concludes with a full RESTRUCTURING –not a rewriting — of the President Obama’s Inaugural Address that more thematically connects all the dots.   In fact the final version that I will post on the last day of this five-part series will use ALL of the President’s words in his original script. My intent is to maintain the tone of this speech while helping the audience better tune in to the message. Continue reading “Part I: Spicing Up Obama’s Inaugural Address”