Before last night, most pundits said Mitt Romney’s speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC) was the biggest moment of his political life.
It was an opportunity Mitt simply couldn’t afford to mess up.
True to form, he didn’t.
Romney gave a powerful speech at the RNC, and I’m not talking about what he said.
I’m talking about how he said it.
5 Essential Public Speaking Strategies We Can Learn from Romney’s Speech
— video of Romney down below —
1. Eye Contact
Romney made sure to scan the room with his eyes the entire time. He didn’t stare into the middle of crowd and lose people on the left and right (no political pun intended). Eye contact with the audience breeds confidence and authority. If you’re looking at them, they have no choice but to look back at you.
Romney’s slow pacing and easy rhythm brought the speech to life. He didn’t hurry through any lines, and he let each new sentence sink in.
If you have a time limit for a speech, give yourself room to breathe. Don’t pack 25 minutes into a 10-minute window, and any decent politician will tell you: make sure to build in time for applause lines.
3. Tell a Story
Romney made sure to talk about the life of his father, former Michigan governor George Romney. You might roll your eyes at the tactic, but there’s a reason why every person running for office weaves stories into their speeches: it works.
You can only talk in vague generalities for so long. Give the crowd a concrete, tangible anecdote to drive your point home. People remember great stories. And every speaker wants to be memorable, right?
4. Engage the Audience
Throughout the speech, Romney made sure to ask the crowd questions. He never forgot he was interacting with other human beings and not just a TV camera. Being conversational is a powerful technique; it puts everyone at ease, makes them eager to contribute and willing to listen.
5. Respect the Audience
Romney spoke well past 11 pm ET last night. The thousands in attendance had no problem staying up late, but even raucous convention goers have their limits. If Romney had spoken for over an hour, he could have ruined an otherwise stirring oration (his speech was around 40 minutes long and felt like the right length).
Like Romney, our challenge is to know when it’s time to stop. It’s better to leave the crowd wanting more rather than cut it off because you see people checking their watches.
Respect the audience, and they’ll stick with you til the end.
OK, almost done. Watch this clip from Romney’s speech (1 min long). Note his slow pace, eye contact, storytelling and interaction with the crowd.
Do you have any other public speaking tips? Did you notice anything else Romney did that worked well?
Comment below, and let us know!