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LostInParadise's avatar

What do you think of Obama's speaking style?

Asked by LostInParadise (24922points) May 1st, 2009

Apart from what he says, a lot of people have been very impressed by how Obama speaks. He is very smooth and poised and projects confidence. I voted for him and as presidents go he speaks well, but that is not setting the bar very high. I find that he lacks warmth. The message I get from the speaking style is, “Don’t worry, I can handle this.”

Ronald Reagan has been dubbed “The Great Communicator,” but I always detected a lot of anger.

My favorite presidential speaking style is Franklin Roosevelt. When I hear recordings of his fireside chats, I always feel as if I am being included. While his diction reflects the wealth he was born into, he has a warmth and sincerity that is all inclusive.

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27 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

I find Obama to be articulate and learned when he speaks which helps him to convey his ideas well and instills a sense of confidence in some viewers. From what I understand, he is able to communicate so effectively this way because he relies very heavily on teleprompters when he does a majority of his speaking. From what I’ve personally observed, he continually looks left and right (always at the teleprompters) and rarely directly forward.

I read a news article a while back that stated that Obama relies more on a teleprompter to speak than any other president has before him and without the teleprompter present, he doesn’t sound nearly as confident and eloquent. I’m not sure how factual that is but it was interesting nevertheless.

asmonet's avatar

I’d rather “Don’t worry, I got this.” than the warmth of “Let’s share a cold one.”.

LostInParadise's avatar

Roosevelt may not have been a great intellect, but at least he did not come across as a complete ignoramus the way Bush did. I believe Bush actually to be intelligent, which makes his disregard for the facts all the more upsetting.

cookieman's avatar

I think Obama’s press conference the other night proved (to me at least) that he can think on his feet, be articulate, and be engaging. He was genuinely funny a couple of times. While he wasn’t as smooth as when delivering a prepared speech, I found him no less intelligent.

I agree that he has an air of confidence that says, “I got this”.

Honestly, I enjoy listening to him quite a bit.

LostInParadise's avatar

I think part of my problem may just be that Obama is so much younger than I am. It makes it a little more difficult for me to relate to him.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I love to hear him talk. The sound of his voice is calming, his speech pattern is easy on the ears. This is one president that I’m actually going to sit down & listen to when he holds press conferences & state of the union addresses. When he speaks, I listen.

aprilsimnel's avatar

His manner is a little distant, but I wasn’t looking for folksy from him. “Smiling faces sometimes…” and all that

Supacase's avatar

I have never understood the praise for his speaking style. It has never particularly impressed me. He says “uh” all the time, which drives me crazy. I have always taken that as the sign of someone who doesn’t have their thoughts together and can’t think on their feet. The confidence others see comes across as stiff and a bit arrogant to me. JMPO

benjaminlevi's avatar

He is hilarious when he gets sarcastic.

aviona's avatar

…and sexy

theartfuldodger's avatar

To all the people who have something to say about teleprompters – a president and his speech writer write what appears on the prompter. At least President Obama is literate enough to read his, and doesn’t stutter and stumble like our previous president, and actually have to have his teleprompter rewound.

charliecompany34's avatar

when he “uhs,” he is recollecting what he just said so that it can connect to what he will say in the next few seconds. he is retracing his thoughts and speaking at the same time being sure to make his statement is clear and concise.

he does not ramble or speak so fast that what comes out becomes fodder for the media or a mistake he has to publicly recant.

he often says “let me be clear” and by saying that, he actually means it.

charliecompany34's avatar

in other words, he is not a radio DJ that has studied how to be on air and rarely say “um or uh.” he is the president with lots of stuff on his mind. i’d say “uh” too if i were in his shoes.

bluedoggiant's avatar

Personally, I think its amazing, but there are some embarrassing mistakes that he makes, but its all cool

casheroo's avatar

I love the way he talks. I loved the debates and the faces he made, he tried to keep a straight face..but that’s pretty hard when talking to someone with ridiculous views. His “are you fucking kidding me?” face would shine through sometimes, it always made me laugh.
He is eerily calm though, but doesn’t bother me.

cookieman's avatar

@Supacase: See, the “uh“s don’t bother me because I feel he is pausing to collect his thoughts. If he was more polished and could omit the “uh“s and other auditory pauses, I would think he is too rehearsed. As @charliecompany34 says, he’s not a radio DJ. I don’t want him to sound like a pitch-man.

@casheroo: I lurve his “are you fucking kidding me” face.

@LostInParadise: I see your point, but his age is part of the reason I can relate to him (as he is closer in age to me and my peers).

mattbrowne's avatar

His speaking style expresses well that he always listens first. He connects with his audience and is aware of the emotions that are present. He can put into words what people feel. Like @casheroo I love the way he talks.

zephyr826's avatar

I was fortunate enough to attend the town hall meeting in Missouri on Wednesday, and he is amazing “live”. He does say “uh” and “um” more than one would wish, perhaps, but he thinks things through rather than saying something rash that will come back to haunt him (for the most part). He was able to take questions from a retired auto worker, a middle school counselor, a high school junior, an acupuncturist, a Baptist minister, and a fourth grader. In each instance, he was able to address their question personally, while still being able to relate it to the administration stance. It was passionate and intelligent without being patronizing. He didn’t treat the fourth grader any differently than the minister, considering all of the questions equally. I was greatly impressed.

in the interest of full clarification, I’ve only seen one other president speak live, and that was after their term was over, so I don’t have a great sample for the comparison.

mammal's avatar

vaguely stimulating, but ultimately unfulfilling.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

The way he pauses before he speaks kind of makes me think he has someone feeding him answers. But I think his speaking skills are very good.

Crusader's avatar

Two Obama’s

1.) Teleprompter Obama

2.) Improvosational Obama

For Obama #1 Very Polished, like a news anchor.

For Obama #2 in a Democratic Rally- enthusiastic, energetic,
and aligned completely with liberal talking points

#2 Any other situation-dreadfully incompetant. Not unlike Bush at times, but Bush was Much Better at improvisation and believability.

cookieman's avatar

@Crusader: Hey, how’s the weather in that alternate universe you live in?

Crusader's avatar

Facts; CNN poll, and other polls

95% of Dems like Obama
35% of Reps like hims

Enjoy your mutual-hate society.

critter1982's avatar

Fred Armisen from SNL has ruined Obama’s speaking style, at least for me.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

A sort of decent orator.

Can we have a sort of decent President instead?

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