No Presidential Seal For Obama Speech

President Turns Speech Interruption To His Advantage

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Oct 18

It has to be every public speaker’s nightmare. It’s the moment that bits of the stage rigging topple over. It’s the moment that the backdrop leans awkwardly. Or, in the case of the President, it’s the moment that a key element of his lectern gives up the ghost. And it happened with this President Obama speech.

Obama speech

The President was giving a speech at Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women Summit” in Washington last week. The Obama speech started well and he was definitely well into his stride when it happened. Yes, the Presidential Seal gave way and dropped to the floor, with a very audible thud.

The jolt was certainly an interruption. And, we suspect that it was quite a glorious visual feast to the watching audience. But to the accompaniment of general laughter in the auditorium the President worked the moment with some quick quips to his obviously delighted audience. These quips included:

“All of you know who I am.”

and, he also referred to the clearly nervous back-stage crew:

“They’re sweating bullets back there.”

Following his quips, he then aimed to get back on track with:

“Where were we…?”

Obama Speech Gets Back On Track After Interruption

This was a great recovery line. But, it also gave notice to the Obama speech teleprompter whose job it was to re-commence the teleprompt (autocue). So, that transition also appeared faultless.

You can discover more public speaking tips with the Time to Market series of public speaking tips, podcasts and videos. You might well be able to use some of the techniques for managing interruptions during your speech.

Or, when you are ready for more serious public speaking tasks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss our training, coaching and rehearsal options.

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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+

  • […] vagaries of staging. It's not unusual. President Obama once one lost his Presidential Seal during a speech. Fortunately Theresa May couldn't spot the silent disappearance of key figures from her conference […]

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