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
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.
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”