Moving from Brevity to Aha! in Your Presentation

Jerry Weissman

In 1988, Bill Clinton, then the Governor of Arkansas, gave a nominating speech for Michael Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention. By convention rules, Clinton was allowed 15 minutes, but he brought an 18-page speech. According to The New York Times,1 he read almost every word, rambling on for so long that the delegates began to chant, “We want Mike!” Ignoring their chants, Clinton went on and on and on. When, after 30 minutes, he finally said, “In conclusion...” the crowd roared their approval.

Later, in his autobiography, Clinton admitted, “It was thirty-two minutes of total disaster.”2

For his first venture onto the national political stage, Bill Clinton neglected to take ...

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