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3 Secret Oratorical Techniques Used by Obama and Soekarno Part 1 of 2

In an article in Forbes, Carmine Gallo a communications coach, stated that US President Barack Obama has been consistent in implementing three main oratorical techniques in his rhetoric. I was very interested to read the article and tried to compare it with one of the rhetorical styles of former Indonesian President, Sukarno. Interestingly, Sukarno also used the same three secret techniques.

In this part, we will learn together what these techniques are. Part 2 will be coming next week.

Using Emotionally Charged Language

The first secret is to use words that are charged with emotion. These emotionally charged words need to be neatly “stacked” one after another to create close emotional connections. As one word “builds” onto another, the audience becomes more and more emotional listening to it. Such a technique is extremely effective in piercing into the minds of the audience and making them “move into action.” The “stacking” also helps to create a smooth transition from one point to another.

Obama:

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

(Paragraph 1 & 2 Victory Speech Obama 7 November 2012)

Soekarno:

Saya terharu sekali (I’m touched) , bahwa kita pada hari ini dapat merayakan hari ulang tahun Republik kita yang pertama. Saya ingat kepada Tuhan yang Maha Kuasa (I acknowledge the Almighty God), mengucapkan syukur alhamdulillah (I give thanks to Him), sebab usia Republik kita yang satu tahun itu, tak lain tak bukan ialah berkat dan rahmat Tuhan Yang Maha Kuasa (it is none other than the blessings and grace of God Almighty).

Dan proklamasi kita itu menderu di udara (roaring in the air), sebagai arus listrik yang mengetarkan jiwa bangsa kita! (as an electric current vibrating the soul of our nation!) Seluruh rakyat kita, seluruh bangsa kita, menyambut proklamasi kita itu sebagai penebusan janji pusaka yang lama (welcome the proclamation of our heritage as a long awaited promise of redemption), sebagai aba-aba yang mengeledek untuk memulai kehidupan yang baru (as a sign that signifies the start of a new life).

(Paragraphs 2 and 5 Independence Speech Soekarno August 17, 1946: Sekali Merdeka Tetap Merdeka)

The choice of words is emotionally appealing. It serves to uplift the human spirit. Just reading this text would have brought shivers down your spine. Not shivers of fear but shivers of hope. Such words uttered in the right atmosphere will make your audience feel that they can do anything. It will make them feel unstoppable.

Look out for Part 2 of this article next week and I’ll share the other 2 techniques…

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