3 techniques Bill Clinton uses to wow an audience

Bill Clinton has decades of public-speaking experience, a deep well of charisma, and record high favorability ratings. But even mere mortals can borrow a few of his simple techniques to make our own presentations shine

By Sam Harrison

Fast Company

President Bill Clinton took primetime stage at the Democratic National Convention and once again mesmerized, tantalized, and energized his audience.

Bill Clinton addresses the 2012 Democatic National Convention.

Watching his performance, it’s easy to forget this is the same guy who was almost booed off the stage at another Democratic Convention 24 years ago while introducing candidate Michael Dukasis.

The relatively unknown Clinton of those days was scheduled to speak for 15 minutes, but droned on for over a half-hour. His biggest applause line came at 32 minutes, when he said, “and in conclusion…”

But always the Comeback Kid, Clinton saw his failure and focused with laser intensity on polishing his speaking abilities. And most folks today, regardless of political leanings, recognize him as one of the best speakers of any generation.

The basic speaking techniques Clinton embraces, front and center last night in Charlotte, when he impressively ad libbed about 15% of his speech, to great effect, can be used by you to boost your presentation skills.

Here are three of his most powerful tools:


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September 2012