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Showing posts from February, 2011

Mubarak's "I Cling To Power" Speech, Controlled Leaks and Managed Expectations

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When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak addressed his people for the last time on 10 February 2011 the disconnect between his words and the expectations of the audience was highlighted by the AlJazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/video/) split screen presentation, which showed us Mubarak on one side saying "I cling to power" while on the other side his people were waving their shoes and shouting "Leave, leave!". At the same time the crawl at the bottom of the screen was telling us that Mubarak was expected to step aside.

Watching these images reminded me that not being in tune with your audience is actually a common problem in public speaking, though rarely on such a dramatic scale. Yet you can avoid or manage most of these situations simply through controlled leaks. You are probably familiar with the technique from newspaper and TV of politics. Before a leading politician makes a possibly controversial announcement you will often see reports in the media someth…