YOU might say that one reason Barack Obama is president of the US is because he knows how to give a good speech. In 2004, when Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was the Democratic Party`s nominee for the presidency, a little-known senator from Illinois gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. That senator was Obama. It was a remarkable speech - poetic, and inspiring. The people who heard it would remember it for a long time.
Since 2004, Obama has written and delivered thousands of speeches. These are usually praised for two reasons: he treats the audiences like intelligent adults, and he is able to express complicated ideas in a straightforward, natural way.
Before becoming president, Obama was a lawyer, a college professor, and a successful writer - his two memoirs have become best-sellers. The skills he needed to succeed in his previous jobs have also contributed to his success as a speechmaker.
As a lawyer, Obama learned how to make strong, convincing arguments. As a professor, he learned how to explain complex subjects in ways that helped students understand without boring them. As a writer, he learned how to use language to have a powerful impact on his audience. Star musician will.i.am even turned one of Obama`s early speeches into a song during the election campaign.
Obama delivers speeches to audiences large and small. He can make his audiences laugh or cry. His speeches are always thoughtful, well written, and just right for each occasion.
Teleprompter: Obama doesn`t go anywhere without his Teleprompter. The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president`s prepared remarks follow him wherever he goes to speak.
Writing team: Obama has a team of people who write his speeches. The writers chat with Obama for hours about what he wants to say. They listen to recordings of past presidential addresses and seek advice from advisers. Obama usually edits and rewrites the drafts several times.
Obama`s tricks for a lighthearted speech that stays on message:
Make fun of the guests: Obama starts his speech by gently teasing his guests. His opening lines grab the audience`s attention while giving them an opportunity to relax and laugh at themselves and each other.
Make fun of yourself: A good rule for speechmakers: If you`re going to make a joke about someone else, be sure to make one about yourself, too. Obama mocks his own poor choices for filling the position of Commerce Secretary, saying, "No President in history has ever named three Commerce Secretaries this quickly." In fact, his first two nominees for the position withdrew their names for different reasons. In a process that had otherwise gone smoothly, the Obama Administration was tripped up by the problem of filling the Commerce seat.