Public Speaking Secrecy From Very Private Citizen Hillary Clinton

By Andrew Ivey

Oct 16

We are struggling to work out whether a Washington Post blog has got a legitimate point with a Hillary Clinton speech this morning. The blog, by Eric Wemple, draws attention to a speech given by the former Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton in Atlanta, Georgia. Thus, her speech was at a convention organised by the National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS). But the issue is with public speaking secrecy.

Public speaking secrecy

Public Speaking Secrecy By Hillary Clinton

Public speaking at these events is pretty common for a former politician…especially one who might consider running for a Democrat party nomination for the Presidential elections in 2016.

Public Speaking Secrecy In Private

What seems to be exercising the Washington Post is that her speech in Atlanta was barred to waiting journalists, cameramen, bloggers and twitterers. The injustice of it all!

She’s very much a public figure without a public role…so her speech given to the retailers stayed private. As too did her answers to their questions. One of those answers was supposed to be a 25 minute answer…phew!

But, there’s nothing remotely unfamiliar about this public speaking arrangement. George W. Bush’s private public speaking falls into the same category.

There are two reasons for such a private speech arrangement:

  1. Barring journalists prevents the dissemination of news about the speech to people who haven’t heard the speech—effectively protecting the speaker’s rights to the speech. It’s not dissimilar to a concert not being available to people who haven’t bought tickets. Uncharitably, perhaps, it also protects the long-term earnings of the speaker as she rolls out her speeches across the country.
  2. The second reason might be more appropriate for Mrs Clinton with her Atlanta speech. She hasn’t decided yet to run for public office and any public dissection of her comments at this stage might prove prejudicial to her quest for that office. My suspicion is that a videotaped speech would not work. Because she would give a pretty anodyne performance. And that would not justify her speaker’s fee.

All in, I’m afraid it’s a non-story. More’s the pity because her public speaking will definitely become a little less riveting in future. That’s of course, when she does announce her intention to run for a nomination.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.