Obama Rose Garden Speech Passes Design Test

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Sep 12

At what stage does lateness become rudeness? When you are the main speaker on the podium there’s really no excuse for lateness. Unless, that is, you happen to be the President of the United States.

President Obama is characteristically ten minutes late or so for his speeches. If it’s design then it’s done faultlessly. His lateness builds anticipation and expectation among his supporters, as much as it aggravates everyone else.

His speech today in the White House Rose Garden was no exception. His ten minute speech began ten minutes late. By design.

And the design extended further to his new catch phrase:

Let’s pass this bill

His old 2008 campaign phrase, “Yes we can“, is perhaps a bit dated now.

So “Let’s pass this bill” featured throughout his speech. As a form of repetition it worked. But I sense that his supporters won’t grab this phrase quite so readily as its predecessor, “Yes we can.”

Design was also evident with his surrounding human props. He’s used white coated medics as a backdrop when he spoke about his plans for medical care reforms and today he surrounded himself with a good mix of anyone likely to benefit from the new jobs creation bill:

  • Small business owners
  • Construction workers
  • Policemen
  • Firefighters
  • Teachers
  • Construction workers, and
  • Military veterans

It worked, but the human throng was looking a bit edgy as the minutes ticked by and they waited for the speaker himself to arrive. As a public speaking technique this is the stuff of political campaigners…not the typical conference speaker!

Let’s pass this technique by.

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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. Andrew Ivey on Google+

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