Prepared speeches vs. off-the-cuff

sniffles5's picture

There's been a number of dyspeptic posts made on the Citizen blogs about Barack Obama's non-prepared speech rhetoric. On a scale of one to ten (ten high), Obama's prepared speeches often hit the 9+ mark, he's that good. His extemporaneous speaking skills are not as high, maybe in the 6 or 7 range. Obama has a choppy cadence in off-the-cuff.

Nonetheless, he still rates higher overall than most current speakers today. McCain is a middling 5 or 6 on prepared speeches, and maybe a 4 to 5 on off-the-cuff, relying quite a biton campaign sound bites.

Palin is a study in contrasts, she's dynamite on prepared speeches (8 or 9) but dear God she is horrible on Q and A!!

Most people tend to be better in one speaking area. Reagan gave great prepared speeches, but bumbled quite often on hostile questions (see his Bitburg/Nazi press conference or better yet his pathetic Iran/Contra whining).

On the other hand, Nixon was great at Q and A, not so great on prepared speeches. JFK gave two great speeches ("Ask not" and "berliner") but was so-so the rest of the time....he was far above average at extemporaneous, though.

I tried thinking of speakers who excelled in both areas. Bill Clinton, of course, was probably the best overall speaker of our lifetime. He simply has the knack for it. Two other speakers I recall doing well in both areas were Gary Hart and John Edwards. (side note: notice what Hart, Clinton and Edwards had in common? Sticking out tongue )

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