Book Review: "Say It Like Obama" by Shel Leanne


by Cynthia Rodriguez


by Shel Leanne

I never realized what an excellent orator President Obama was, not until I read the book, "Say it Like Obama". My primary goal for acquiring this book was the simple purpose of improving my public speaking skills. Being quite the activist and advocate on numerous causes, I thought it would come in handy to learn from one of the best speakers today. I want to make it clear, my mission was not to attempt to copy or imitate him in any way, not that, that would be possible, anyway. I just thought it would be good to take some tips from someone who knows the true art of public speech.

Over the years, for the most part, I've gotten quite comfortable speaking to an audience. I've learned to treat it as if I were talking one-on-one to someone. The book actually mentions that several times.

Shel Leanne, who is a leaderhip expert, and has a very cool website, by the way, does an amazing job at presenting, breaking down, and analyzing exactly how to do it using as examples, Obama's famous speeches. She also uses other great speakers as examples like MLK, and JFK. I believe it always helps the learning process of anything by using specific examples. She illustrates how his dynamic use of techniques such as alliteration, rhetorical questions, non-rhetorical questions, among MANY other expert methods, including the use of body language can win over an audience. Even the efficient use of props and certain backgrounds are covered. And of course, CONFIDENCE is always key.

This is definitely one of those text-book type, "edumucational" kind of books I have not read in a long time. It's the type I'll be going over again and that you'll find on my shelf filled with different colored hi-lighted paragraphs, notes scribbled in pencil all throughout, and sticky notes. Yes, it's THAT type of book.

The secondary gain I got from this book was from reading some of Obama's speeches in full, was a true appreciation of him like I've never had before. I was very inspired. It makes we want to read more of his stuff. It actually made me feel, dare I say it? Proud to be an American. I haven't felt that way for a LONG time. All these years of Bush (and not the type I like), got me so jaded. The ONLY thing I miss from old Georgie Porgie was how much I made fun of him through my art. Oh well, I guess there are still a few Republicans left to make fun of, which brings me to my next point...

Opponents of Obama and the Democratic party may not become big fans of this book, because of the fact that they would have to bear through alot of his talk in order for Leanne to make her point. I don't think they'd be able to stomach through all the speeches just to learn about certain speaking skills. Too bad, so sad for them, because they can use it.

I feel that this can come in real handy for all GLBTQI community leaders in helping them along with talking to our often A.D.D like audience who are often times too busy dancing to re-mixes to pay attention to anything. I also find it helpful for my writing as well, since I've been told pretty often the way I write is basically the same as how I talk to people.

I believe the bottom line is, not being so formal, making the audience feel comfortable, making them feel like you are a part of them. I always felt that was very important. Just be yourself, and not try to be anything you're not. In the end, that's all you can do. Especially in a public position, trying to "fake it", the truth will come out sooner or later.

1 comment:

Black Falcon said...

I really admire Obama's ability to truly reach someone with his words. He is truly an accomplished Black Falcon, who can put himself out there, and impact others just by being who he is.