The OraStory of Obama

As someone who has earned her living as a professional speaker for the past 20 years, I’ve been fascinated by what I call the “OraStory” of President Barack Obama.

Regardless of your politics, he is a riveting speaker. I love studying the transcripts of his important speeches and analyzing why they work so well. I then share my subsequent insights with my consulting clients and audiences so they can take their presentations to transcendent levels.

There are many reasons Obama’s speeches POP!

One reason is because he uses Alliteration, Iambic
rhythm and Rhyme to create AIR–tight sound-
bites that make him instantly eloquent.

As I explain in Chapters 16-18 of POP!, using words that start with the same sound (Alliteration) makes our language lyrical.

Iambic meter (Jack and Jill went up a hill) makes our message easy to repeat and remember. Words that roll off the tongue are more likely to stay in the brain.

Words with the same vowel sound (i.e., fight or flight) gives our mind a hook on which to hang a memory. Simply said, rhyme is sublime.

Combining these three oratorical devices has the power to make your message POP! and make your message stick.

Do you have an important presentation coming up? What do you want audience members to stop, start or do differently as a result of your talk?

Have you crafted the desired action into an AIR-tight sound bite? If not, chances are people will not even remember what you said, much less act on it.

This is much too important to be left to chance. Invest the time to craft a phrase that pays so listeners can repeat something they heard, word-for-word. Doing so will turn them into your word-of-mouth ambassadors because they’re still be talking about you and your message weeks, months, years later.

  1. Great post, Sam. This is a really interesting insight. I have been using POP! for one of the projects I am working on, and it is absolutely brilliant. The book is worth its weight in gold!

    • Thanks Drew:

      It always makes my day when readers take the time to let me know POP! is helping them break out their priority projects.

      Thought you might like to know the paperback version of POP! (with updated examples and new quotes) is being released from my publisher Perigee-Penguin next week (whoo hoo.)

      Email us at with “newsletter” in the subject heading and we’ll be glad to send you our February newsletter that talks about the book — including where I’ll be speaking as part of the media tour in February and March (incluidng Inc. Magazine’s GROWCO conference in Orlando, FL.)

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