Inauguration Presence

The epitome of true leadership presence!

Presence is about so much more than the words that we speak.  Yesterday we had several exquisite examples of real presence. Barak Obama and Elizabeth Alexander were the most compelling for me.

Barack Obama: Most people pay attention to his words because they are so riveting. I’m curious about how he conveys his presence. Check out the video on YouTube (for some reason I couldn’t copy it to this site).  He begins to speak at 2:40 min.  Notice how comfortable he is in his own skin, how he carries himself.  Notice the silences, the pauses between important points.  Notice how deliberate he is as he articulates his words.  What else do you see that’s beyond the words themselves that conveys that this man is a great leader?

Elizabeth Alexander: Inauguration Poet (video below)
Watch how she let’s herself fully arrive in front of the audience before she begins.  She takes a breath.  She looks out at the audience.   And, then she begins to speak.  She too, in a different way, speaks with such deliberate phrasing.  I know she is reciting poetry, but I think that there’s something we can learn about leadership presence from how she delivered those words.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32swTzWtYjs&hl=en&fs=1]

2 thoughts on “Inauguration Presence

  1. Nice post, Terry. I especially like your observations of how deliberately she speaks. I know this is something you know a lot about.

    I’m working on getting the comments to show up a little more clearly so people can read them a little easier.

  2. I enjoyed Elizabeth Alexander’s articulate speaking and deliver (more than the actual poem itself).

    She captivated me with her relaxed, present demeanor.

    I admired how she was “in control” of her speech and felt “one” with it and her audience.

    During the video, I noticed how she:

    – Takes 10 seconds to take a deep breath, slows herself down, and places herself in her environment

    – Connects with her audience

    – Speaks articulately and clearly

    – Punches her words, especially her “Ts”, “Ds”, and “Ss”

    – Maintains a comfortable, consistent, and fluid pace as she delivers each word

    – Effectively pauses at specific points to allow her audience to digest and appreciate her communication

    I recommend this type of delivery when native English speakers engage in conversation with non-native speakers. It facilitates clarity and comprehension.

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