Learning through Observation

Posted by Hilari Weinstein on Sep 3rd, 2008
Sep 3

Eleanor Roosevelt once suggested, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself."

We can also learn from others’ excellence-when they get it right.

Did you catch any of the Democratic National Convention?  Political conventions are great opportunities to observe a number of speakers with dramatically different approaches and styles. 

Like his politics or not, Barack Obama is a talented and charismatic speaker.  For educational purposes, I recommend you take a peek at Obama’s recent DNC speech.  The link is below.  Not only was it extemely well written, but his delivery was exceptional.  It was an oratorical knockout-absolutely on-target.

In particular, pay attention to

  • how he uses pacing and his voice to take the listener to

  • many levels within his speech

  • variation of intensity

  • the use of stories

  • shifting from "me" focus to "you"

  • memorable themes

View the speech at:

What did you learn from viewing Obama’s speech?  Email me at Hilari@highimpactcommunication.com

Also, I encourage you to watch the upcoming Republican Convention to observe and learn what engages you and what doesn’t in the various speeches delivered.

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2 Responses

  1. Dr. Jim Anderson Says:

    Hilari makes a good point: once every four years we get a great opportunity to see / learn from folks for whom speaking is a major part of their job. I had a chance to watch parts of both conventions. What struck me as odd, was how many of the OTHER speakers (not the candidates) did such a poor job!
    I’m not quite sure where they went wrong – their style wasn’t to blame. Instead, I think that it was a poorly written speech coupled with a low energy delivery. The takeaway from all of this is to remember that you must strongly believe in what you are talking about otherwise it’ll show in your presentations!
    - Dr. Jim Anderson
    Blue Elephant Consulting – The Accidental Communicator Blog

  2. James Lloyd Says:

    Great Post and I agree about how we learn through observation. Take a look at my upcoming Motivational Speakers Training Course where I personally tweak your keynote speech to make you a top speaker.

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