Speech Club: Michelle Obama's 2016 Convention Speech


Speech lovers everywhere, please tell me you watched Michelle Obama's speech! I'm guessing you did, or have, or plan to - and so let's talk about it for a moment. It moved me. And obviously so many others. That's starting point #1 for us as speakers.

But why? Why did it move us so much?

It was emotive. And - risking being overly simplistic here - there are two prominent emotions in persuasive speeches: FEAR and HOPE.

She spoke with HOPE. And right now that is incredibly moving for me--and so, so needed. From the 11th minute on, I couldn't stop crying. Tears just streamed down my face. I, for one, needed to hear this message.


"She spoke with hope; and right now that is incredibly moving to me. "


She did three things:

  1. She spoke in stories and images, letting us step into those images and SEE what she was talking about. It made me imagine - and then feel.
  2. She built the emotion of the talk with exquisite writing and delivery. It had momentum and pacing and moments that landed with both a thud and with grace. She controlled the movement of this piece so beautifully.
  3. And she articulated, with insight and power, what is at stake without succumbing to fear. She drew those stakes out for us over and over again. She spoke as a mom and a brilliant advocate. And by doing that we as the audience hear our own thoughts, put better than we've been able to put them, and we begin to believe...


At the end she says, "Let's get to work." And that's exactly what I wanted to do. (So, it worked.)

Wherever you are on the political spectrum, this speech is one of the best I've ever heard from a convention podium. (Rivaled, perhaps, by her husband's speech 12 years ago when I first thought, "That guy's going to be President.")



What do you think?

Did it move you?

If so, what was moving for you?