Barack Obama’s example of answering a tough a question
Below is a video clip of Barack Obama handling a tough, loaded question from a Fox News reporter – and my analysis of the clip.
This was a 9/10 performance.
Here is my analysis of the Obama’s speaking.
- His first words, that subtly teased the questioner. Namely, ‘I doubt I’ll have time to outline my entire foreign policy doctrine’.
- The light, humorous retort about the questioner’s organisation with, ‘I’m not sure you ran them’.
- At the start and throughout the answer, the superb, measured speaking combined with fluent, flexible translation of thought to speech. Due to this fluency, his seven minutes of speaking flew by.
- That Obama used the speaking device of anaphora with ‘have never been . . . have never been . . .’
- The vignette with anaphora where he argued his critics objections, ie. ‘You should be . . . ‘, then rebutted the propositions, followed by, ‘What do you mean?, What else do you mean?, so what else should we be doing?’.
- The masterful demonstration of thinking while speaking. This behaviour aligns with luminary speaker, Bob Carr’s telling point that,
‘you don’t get marked down for being thoughtful’.
- The use of a thumb to index finger, hand gesture for important points and the ‘owning’ and occupying the physical space with wide arm gestures to the side of his torso – and use of a karate chop, hand gesture to drive home key messages.
- Use of the word ‘orbit’.
- The metaphor of ‘playing the same note’.
- Near the end of his speaking, combining a deeper vocal pitch for added authority, with the phrase ‘my role as Commander-in-chief.
I SUGGEST HE
- Omits needless words. Being a lawyer, Obama’s inclination is to answer questions as he would write them. This can make his speaking be verbose. After he finished speaking – due to its length – I couldn’t restate his key points. He needed to briefly summarise his key points at the end of his answer.
- Reduces the use of ‘ums’.
- Pronounces the (th) in the word ‘them’.
Your CALL to action/How to apply for this post. Save the clip in a ‘Think on you feet’ folder. Before you have to enter into tough, speaking situations, watch the clip and use it as an expert model, for adaptation to your speaking style.