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Public Speaking

How to Speak With a Calm Confidence



Written by: Joan Detz

In reviewing some old speeches, I came across the August 18 1988 acceptance speech that Vice President George Bush made at the Republican national convention in New Orleans. It stood out because of a calm confidence. “Calm” and “confidence” are words – and qualities – we don’t get very much.

Holiday seasons tend to be hectic. And because of one rapidly upsetting news event after another, this holiday season in the US seems to make “discordance” the word of the day. I thought it might be useful to step back a moment – dial the speed down a notch – and reflect on this speech excerpt:

“I may not be the most eloquent, but I learned early that eloquence won’t draw oil from the ground. I may sometimes be a little awkward, but there there’s nothing self-conscious about my love of country. I am a quiet man, but I hear the quiet people others don’t – the ones who raise the family, pay the taxes, meet the mortgages. I hear them and I am moved.”

The take-away line for me this news week is: “I am a quiet man, but I hear the quiet people others don’t.”

Speaking is important. Listening is, too.


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