Winner and Loser: How gracious were they?

By November 7, 2012March 30th, 2020SpeakerNotes

Watching the presidential election coverage I wondered, how the two candidates felt as the returns streamed in? How would the “loser” prepare himself for his final speech? And how would the “winner” present himself as he delivered that all-important acceptance speech to the American public?

It was after midnight, when Governor Mitt Romney proudly walked on stage, by himself, greeting his supporters and proceeding to deliver his concession speech.  His remarks were gracious and short, congratulating President Obama and calling on lawmakers and job creators to look beyond political lines and solve the problems facing the country.

Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, escorted President Barack Obama, on stage as he greeted his supporters and acknowledging his re-election as President of the United States.  Inspiring and patriotic, Obama remarks included painting a vision of a bipartisan nation and promising “the best is yet to come”.

Both men did an outstanding job delivering the two speeches that closed out the 2012 Presidential Election.

The Concession Speech
Romney, deeply sad walked on stage both proud and humbled. What I found most comforting about his concession speech was his authenticity.  He didn’t appear to have any prepared remarks and simply spoke from his heart, maintaining eye contact with his audience and keeping that Romney half-smile on his face.  The one telltale sign that showed his feelings of defeat was his lack of any gestures.  He kept his arms by his sides and any type of emotion was communicated strictly through his facial expression.

Obama in his 20-minute, acceptance speech was the eloquent orator that we met during the 2008 election.  He has an innate ability to quickly and easily connect with his audience by sharing stories or making anecdotal comments that reflect his understanding of the struggles of the average American, openly and easily sharing his love for Michelle and his daughters and the melodic inflection of his voice that makes it easy to listen to what he is saying.  What I did miss during his talk was that famous Obama smile. He won and yet I never saw him smile or show any physical expression of excitement about his re-election.

Final Thoughts
My last comment. . . I couldn’t help but notice how the stress of the campaign took a toll on both men.  Romney and Obama both looked tired and perhaps even a little beaten up.  And I am sure they are both glad it is over!

Those are my observations, what are yours?

 I hope this Presidential Election Series has provided you with valuable tips, lessons and skills you can implement in your own presentation style.  Thank you for following this series over the past two months, for your comments and for sharing these postings through your social network.  Please come back and know we always welcome your thoughts.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • You are absolutely right, Rachel…he did flash a smile after the “dog” comment and that is also about the time he became more animated and visibly expressive. Personally, I would have appreciated a smile from the moment he walked out and acknowledged his “win”. Also, thank you for your Truman quote … so true!

  • Well done observations on the post-election speeches. Your notes on body language and facial expression, and whether they supported or conflicted with spoken messages, was particularly interesting. The president did flash that Obama smile once, very briefly … after he told his daughters that, “One dog’s probably enough.” He might change his mind: Harry Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

  • Joan, thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective. I understand that Obama had a strong hand in crafting his acceptance speech and I too thought it was a bit too long…I believe it felt drawn out because he started slow (like he was warming – up) and about 2/3’s of the way through became animated and more visibly passionate … adding gestures and more facial expressions … all this lead to his resounding conclusion.

  • Stephanie,

    So glad you posted this. I went to sleep before the final speeches and your blog gave me easy access to seeing them today. Both the Romney and Obama speeches were inspirational and give hope that the near future might show improved bipartisan efforts to overcome our nation’s challenges. From a presentaion perspective, I was very touched by Romney’s sincerity as he spoke from the heart, and I was proud of him. At first, I thought Obama’s speech was too long… but the fact that he took the opportunity to make an inpirational statement to all Americans at this time when the entire world is watching was brilliant. His speech was obviously well crafted in advance and achieved the desired result… enthusiasm and hope.

    Reviewing the election speeches from a presentation perspective has been very interesting and educational. Thanks so much.