What Obama Must Do in His Inaugural

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This inaugural speech, unlike many in recent history, has the potential to be a great one. Communications coach and author LeeAundra Temescu illuminates what makes a great inaugural speech and what Obama can do to ensure his stands out.

There aren't many examples of pure oratory left in our modern world. However, on January 20, Americans and in fact, the world, will share one of the few left, Barack Obama's Inaugural Address. This inaugural will garner more attention than many because of the historic nature of the event, the swearing in of the first African-American President of the United States.

According to communication expert LeeAundra Temescu (http://www.thecontrarypublicspeaker.com), it also has the potential to be one of the great speeches in American history. "All inaugural addresses are important but some are more exciting than others because they come at a certain moment in time where a great speaker and a great event come together."

Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural was especially memorable because Lincoln was a born orator and because he was speaking in the middle of a great event, the American Civil War. Likewise, Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural, in which he stated "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.", combined his eloquence with the backdrop of the Great Depression. John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you. As what you can do for your country." came in the midst of a profound generational change in American society.

Temescu says "We've had presidents who were great speakers, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and we've had great events, the end of the cold war, 9/11, but we haven't had a meeting of a great event and a great speaker in an inaugural since JKF. Obama's oratorical skills and the current economic crisis are coming together at just the right time. We could have some rhetorical fireworks up there."

What must Obama do to leverage this moment? Temescu lists three essentials:

1. Keep it high level. This is not a plodding, policy laden State of the Union. It should be grand and visionary.

2. Create a memorable sound bite that encapsulates his message and can be easily remembered and repeated.

3. It must be inspirational. It would be unseemly to be too celebratory in the face of the crisis the country faces but it must give hope and a compelling call to action.

Temescu stresses this last point, "Americans need this speech. Inaugurals are sometimes purely ceremonial. This one is not. With all the bad news, we desperately need a man, a speech that lifts us up out of our problems."

The Contrary Public Speaker (http://www.thecontrarypublicspeaker.com) is an executive communications coaching firm based in Los Angeles. Founded by national award winning public speaker, author and commentator, LeeAundra Temescu, it provides high-level presentation skills, in-the-moment training and executive presence for top-level managers and professionals.


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