Lessons From a Political Crisis Simulation

I had mixed feelings about participating in a White House crisis simulation. While I wanted to get practice with crisis communication, I feared my lack of political experience would hinder my abilities. Fortunately, my role as White House Press Secretary mostly involved communicating the messages others created. My job was to help the public understand…

Amp Up Your Speech With Rhetorical Devices

Rhetorical devices aren’t just for creative fiction. If your speech sounds a bit dull, perhaps even boring, you can up its impact by adding some frequently used rhetorical devices. Even if you have a great speech, chances are you can add a few more elements to take it to the next level. Whether your speech…

Political Humor: Rules from Obama’s Al Smith Dinner Speech

Humor is an effective tool in numerous formal settings, including speeches. Jokes help speakers earn audience attention, demonstrate personality and focus on issues without sounding too forceful. The annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner provides a forum for typically serious speakers to show they can also make—and take—a joke. During the 2012 dinner, President…