Three Parts to Any Good Speech: How President Obama Follows These Three Simple Guidelines

31 Jan

Barack Obama serves as the most visible businessman in the United States. Although not everyone supports his presidency, few can say his rhetoric is lacking. Most would agree that the president possesses an impressive and effective ability to persuade his audiences. Obama provides a template of how to verbally develop a concrete rhetoric in his 2012 State of the Union Address. Throughout the course of President Obama’s speech, he breaks each of his topics into three components. Whether he is speaking of job creation, the war in the Middle East, or the American auto industry, President Obama is sure to touch on each of these three components:

State the Problem/Background

President Obama always states the problem prior to his involvement. This step is important because it gives his audience a starting point for them to evaluate his success or failure. Doing so also allows the audience to see what he is responsible for and what his predecessors are responsible for. President Obama does a good job of this while talking about job creation as he states, “In the six months before I took office we lost nearly 4 million jobs. We lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect. Those are the facts.” By making this statement, he sets up a basis on which to build his credibility.

As someone looking to hone your public speaking skills, giving background information is a critical first step. Although you may not always be addressing an issue, in most instances, your audience will need some kind of background story to truly appreciate the meat of your speech.

State Your Actions

The next step President Obama takes is to state his actions. Without knowledge of his actions, it is much more difficult to attribute any results to Obama’s administration.  President Obama addresses his action on illegal immigration stating, “I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.” Here he uses a concrete and simple statement to inform his listeners that he has taken action.

If you don’t prove that you’ve done the groundwork, listeners might not give you credit for your result. Your credibility can be supported even further by the use of numerical data.

Show Results

Lastly, President Obama states the results of his actions. Like everyday people, his employment depends on results. It is paramount that he strongly states the positive results of his actions. America depends on how President Obama leads this country.  Thus, failure to show progress would be detrimental to his persuasive message. Through statements like “Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. Pakistan to Yemen, the Al Qaida operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they cant escape the reach of the United States of America,” and, “A year ago Gaddafi was one of the worlds longest serving dictators; a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today he is gone,” President Obama shows that the actions of his administration have caused positive results around the globe.

Results matter. Whether you’re presenting in a formal business setting or telling a story to a group of your friends, your speech always a purpose and a result. Your audience needs to know why what you are saying is important and how it relates to them. Doing so will give your audience reason to become more invested in you as well as what you are saying.

To see how President Obama follows these guidelines in his 2012 State of the Union Address follow this link:

by Melanie Gatewood


One Response to “Three Parts to Any Good Speech: How President Obama Follows These Three Simple Guidelines”

  1. Julia Millot February 29, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    This reminded me a lot of the STAR response that they’re always talking about when writing resumes, but I believe that it’s also extremely applicable to public speaking. By taking the steps you’ve outlined, anyone can definitely increase the effectiveness of their public speaking. Great article!

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