“Never underestimate what Bill Clinton can do at a podium.”
– Tom Brokaw
Just as I turned on the TV Tuesday night, I heard Tom Brokaw speak those words. Having seen Bill Clinton speak live and in person at the 2000 “Take Back the House” fundraiser, Brokaw’s comment caught my attention. I agree – Bill Clinton is a mesmerizing speaker. On Tuesday night his main goal in speaking was humanizing Hillary Clinton. Some would say this is not an easy task. Many feel it was the most challenging speech of his entire life because, when he’d spoken about Hillary in the past, he’d taken things personally and been lured into the Control physicality. Tuesday, as he spoke for more than 40-minutes, he was relaxed, dynamic and engaging. He used much of his range while leading us on a journey into aspects of Hillary that the media hadn’t yet brought into the public eye.
Michelle Obama did that in her speech on Monday night too.
In fact she accomplished more in less time.
So far, Michelle Obama is the star of the DNC. How did she do it?
The speech as written was very strong. However, her vocal presence, the way she embodied those words, is what knocked it out of the park.
As she speaks, Michelle is rooted in a Sense of Purpose. She’s embodying what’s important from head-to-toe. She’s connected (truly, madly, deeply) to the audience while taking them on an emotional journey. Because she’s in the Balanced physicality and energizing the space (rather attempting to FORCE the audience to see things her way through muscular effort and yelling) the ride is dynamic. There are brief moments in which she strains in the throat – usually when the room is cheering and she’s beginning to speak again just after the peak of their applause. Those moments are incredibly challenging. It’s hard to hear yourself with thousands of people shouting in your ear, so it’s tempting to yell right along with them. (That’s why many of the speakers at these conventions, such as Bernie Sanders, tend to strain and almost shout the entire speech.)
You can feel Michelle’s passion and love in moments such as:
“I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUV’s with all those big men with guns.”
“When they go low, we go high.”
“What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure … Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.”
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black women, playing with their dogs on the white house lawn.”
By breathing life into the experience, Michelle allows her emotions, passion and life force to shine through on her voice. This is, in fact, how she brought the audience to tears.
Never underestimate Michelle Obama’s ability to move a crowd of people.
– Lauri Smith
PS – I wrote this prior to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night. My unedited emotional response to that … he has everything Bill Clinton has, everything Michelle has, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned … I might have more to say in a future post.
PPS – If, like Michelle Obama, you want to learn to do more than communicate – to move people emotionally when you speak – then sign up for a Breathe Deep & Breakthrough Session. I can help.