As a leader, whether in libraries, or some other area, you will be called upon to make speeches and presentations. And if you’re not, you should be finding opportunities to make speeches and give presentations. This is a skill every leader must have and cultivate.
You’re lucky, because in 2012 there are and will be many opportunities to observe excellent examples of public speaking. Yes, this is one good thing about this election year. Regardless of your political leanings, you should be able to appreciate the speech former President Bill Clinton gave to the Democratic National Convention on September 5.
When so many speeches this year are long and tedious, or all sound the same, why does Clinton’s stand out as one that’s easy to listen to, one that holds our interest? The article “3 Techniques Bill Clinton Uses to Wow an Audience” contains tips that anyone can apply (I know I’m going to try to!) You’ll want to read the entire article, but I’m happy to summarize those 3 tips here:
- He knows when to stop and go.
- His gestures sync with his words.
- It’s how he says it, as much as what he says.
Inevitably, there are other articles about Clinton’s speech. “Why Bill Clinton’s Speeches Succeed” sums it up in its opening sentence: “Because he treats listeners as if they are smart.”
And you might also be interested in this one: Bill Clinton Shows How It’s Done. How’s it done? “The strength of his speech came in its efforts to persuade. Clinton made arguments. He talked through his reasoning. He went point by point through the case he wanted to make. He kept telling the audience he was talking to them and he wanted them to listen.”
You may have found other reasons you found the speech effective. You may have found other speakers you thought did a better job. My point is, there are lessons to be learned from this year’s political presentations. Are you making use of them?