PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

I haven’t listened to a State of the Union speech in many years.  I actually prefer to read the script the following day.

That sounds like a terrible admission for a speech coach, but something about the tradition that has grown up around this presidential speaking exercise makes it painful to listen to.

That something is the constant applause.  Every single, seemingly significant point that the President makes has to be followed by applause.  Interruption is the order of the evening.

The result is that any President, no matter how talented he may be, cannot establish a speaking rhythm.  A speech needs rhythm. 

William Safire put it this way: “A good speech has a beat, a changing rhythm, a sense of movement that gets the audience tapping its mind’s foot.”

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