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Some will argue that Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech was not his the majority of electric speech, or that it failed to provide on unfairly high expectations.

You are watching: Barack obama inauguration speech 2009 analysis

Nonetheless, examining the speech provides 5 crucial speechcreating lessons that deserve to aid us all be better communicators.

This post is the latest in a series of video speech critiques which assist you analyze and also learn from great speeches.

Speech Video: Barack Obama delivers Inauguration Speech

I encourage you to:

Read the evaluation in this speech critique;Study the speech message in the complete transcript; andShare your thoughts on this presentation.

Speech Analysis – Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

Keep in mind that numbers in square brackets (e.g. <14>) describe paragraph numbers in the speech text at the end of this article.

Speechcomposing Lesson #1: Start via a Strong, Simple Speech Outline

Speech analysis by media pundits frequently concentrates specifically on the soundbites — a few phrases below and tright here hole-punched out of a 17-minute speech. It is simple to forget that other words were supplied to stitch together those soundbites right into (hopefully) a cohesive totality.

So, it is worthwhile to research and also analyze the speech outline of Obama’s inauguration speech, bereason all speechauthors have the right to learn from the strong, simple structure which helped convey his message coherently.

My very own wishlist for his speech was that he would certainly accomplish five tasks:

Be frank and hocolony about the realities of the economic situation and warsAddress the sagging morale and lack of confidenceAppear strongOffer an olive branch to the worldMake a call-to-activity for personal contributions (alengthy the lines of “Ask not what your nation can do…”)

I think Obama accomplished all of these aims in his inauguration speech making use of a simple six-part structure:

Thank you Some will point to Obama’s point out of Shrub as mere formality, but it’s even more significant than that. Obama is pgetting to respect for the individual regardless of whether you agree via them. Therefore, it is essential he complies with his own advice. To perform otherwise would damage his credibility.Honestly acunderstanding the financial crisis Obama was blunt and also direct, using phrases like “the obstacles … are actual. They are major and also they are many kind of.” He didn’t promise services in this year or the following. He didn’t sugarcoat it, and I applaud him for that. As the financial issue is #1 in the minds of Americans, he was wise to address this initially in his speech. Equally important, he showed great solve and also management with his powerful “But know this, America — they will certainly be met.Americans have constantly challenged situations and also overcome them In this section of the speech, Obama remains regular through his message of hope that won him the election. He is speaking straight to numerous Americans who feel the “sapping of confidence throughout our land. He cites scripture <10>, describes the Declaration of Independence <10>, and also then reminds his audience of the struggles of the past which were get over . He concludes this area by reminding everyone that the core Amerihave the right to toughness still persists .Address cynics This brief interlude seems to be aimed at Congress and also other political forces. In an attempt to persuade those who are skeptical of his plans, the crucial expression here is “Their memories are short.”Sheight around and also to the World This section was extremely, exceptionally strong. His words are solid, yet friendly. He charts a brand-new foreign policy which is anchored on common, huguy ideals. I expect that this component of the speech will be obtained quite favorably about the world.The solution lies within the determination of the people Obama transitions ago to the American human being via remarkable skill. Drawing a parallel in between the armed pressures and also normal citizens in regards to embodying a spirit of service was masterful. This is the call-to-action which I was specifically trying to find, and he ceded past expectations. The concluding story taken from the Revolutionary war was an excellent metaphor, and also a fine way to conclude.

Speechcreating Lesson #2: Craft Impactful Lines

The message and also outline are even more important, but the soundbites are vital as well.

If there’s one weakness in Obama’s speech, it’s that there’s no clear, unmistakable expression which world will certainly be quoting years from now (although only time holds the definitive judgment).

There was no “Ask not what your country have the right to execute for you”.Tbelow was no “I have a dream”.Tbelow was no “This was their best hour.”Tbelow was no “Yes we can.”

But that’s not to say that this speech was doing not have in wondertotally crafted and impactful lines. As I listened, a number of of these resonated strongly via me and also I found myself reasoning “Oh, what a line!”

… start aobtain the work-related of remaking America.Their memories are short.” <18> (I specifically loved the brevity of this line)“The question we ask this particular day is not whether our government is as well huge or as well tiny, yet whether it works” <19> (He busts open up the dispute by reframing the question.)“e reject as false the option between our safety and security and also our ideals.” <21> (A specifically sharp indictment of Bush’s plans.)“e are prepared to lead as soon as even more.” <21> (Ssuggest stated, yet this is exactly what America’s allies wanted to hear.)“For the civilization has adjusted, and also we need to change via it.” <26>“What is compelled now is a new era of responsibility” <29>

Finally, although it wasn’t a solitary line, I loved whatever about how paragraphs 27 and 28 were crafted (which contained “a moment that will certainly define a generation“, even though it is a somewhat cliche statement).

Will any of these be quoted decades from now? It’s difficult to tell, however my money is on “the work of remaking America” or “a brand-new era of responsibility.”

Speechwriting Lesboy #3: Employ the Magical Rule of Three

Finding examples of the Rule of Three in speeches by good speakers is favor finding smiling children in a candy store. Examples abound!

But this does not lessen the prestige of this speechwriting tactic. Quite the opposite! If all the Presidential speechauthors wield the Rule of Three, why don’t you carry out it even more often?

Here are simply some of the examples in the inauguration speech of differing length:

humbled by the task before us,grateful for the trust you have actually bestowed,mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.Homes have been lost;jobs shed;businesses shuttered.” <5>“Our wellness care is also costly;our schools fail also many;and <…> energy <…> thrconsumed our earth.” <5>“all are equal,all are cost-free,and all deserve <…> pursue <…> happiness.” <10>“struggled and also sacrificed and also worked” <15>“birth or wide range or faction” <15>“we have to pick ourselves up,dust ourselves off,and start aobtain the job-related of remaking America” <16>“to spend wisely,reform poor actions,and carry out our business in the light of day” <19>“the justness of our reason,the pressure of our instance,the tempering features of humility and restraint.” <22>

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Speechwriting Leschild #4: Amplify Words by Drawing Contrasts

As discussed in the speech evaluation of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, periodically the finest means to highlight and also sharpen ideas is to present contrast.

Here are a couple of examples from Obama’s Inauguration speech:

rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace” versus “gathering clouds and raging stormsrecognize that your world will certainly judge you on what you deserve to build, not what you ruin.” <25>“we will extfinish a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist” <25>“a guy whose father much less than sixty years back could not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a a lot of sacred oath.” <32>

Speechcomposing Lesboy #5: Thread Your Theme Throughout Your Speech

If the core message of your speech is the plot of the story, then the layout of your speech is the establishing and mood.

Stated an additional means, your message is the what you say— your design template is the just how you say it.

Inauguration speeches are exceptionally normally collection through themes that emphadimension the continuity and also progress of a nation. Whatever the involves of the era, they have the right to be expressed relative to the previous.

The theme for Obama’s inauguration speech might be expressed as “illustration toughness from our prevalent past“. (This is regular with Obama’s intellect — he is well versed in the nation’s background through his studies of Lincoln and also others.) This speech continuously drew examples from the previous and even urged the human being to return to old worths near the end of the speech:

But those worths upon which our success counts – hard work and honesty, courage and also fair play, tolerance and also curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these points are old. These things are true. They have actually been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

All in all, there are plenty of referrals to the past to collection the theme for this speech:

mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestorsForty-four Americans have actually currently taken the presidential oath” <3>“faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our beginning documents” <3>“So it has been. So it have to be via this generation of Americans.” <4>“passed on from generation to generation” <10>“Our journey has never been …” <11>“Concord and Gettysburg ; Normandy and also Khe Sahn” <14> At salso words, this passage is wondercompletely brief, yet maneras to expectations 4 wars: Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, and also Vietnam War, respectively.“Their memories are brief.” <18>“Our Founding Fathers <…> broadened by the blood of generations.

See more: Problems From " Why Do Derivatives Never Grow Old ?) Why Do You Take Derivatives

” <21>“Recontact that previously generations…” <22>“the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington” <27>“But those values upon which our success counts – tough occupational and honesty, courage and also fair play, tolerance and also curiosity, loyalty and also patriotism – these things are old. These points are true. They have been the quiet force of development throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” <29>“In the year of America’s birth…” <33>