Romney, you need a speech coach.

    While I'm not going to vote for you I certainly don't want Santorum to get the nomination because in an American Idol electorate like we have, a fluke could happen and Santorum would be a much worse option than you. So I'm offering you a few pointers on your speech, your body language, the telling of homilies---and suggesting you spend at least one weekend at Outward Bound.

    The first thing you need to do is slow down your presentation. You look flighty, and fidgety, like you need to go to the bathroom. Stop all that. Stop looking like you know everyone in the audience---you don't, and you can't. It looks disingenuous. The best presenters pick one person in the audience and stay with him or her. A good speaker will have an image or person in mind. I would suggest Todd Palin, he is today's Mr. Republican, not you. He's the voter you need to hang onto.

    The jeans aren't doing it for me. Workers wear 501's. Maybe women like your jeans, don't know about that. But here's the thing. You keep spinning and dancing on your toes in your tight jeans. A boxer can do that but your shoulders and chest are too slim. You need to spread your feet further apart, plant them ,and square your shoulders. And no more putting your hands in the pockets of your suit pants when you're debating, looks like a car salesman that you know ahead of time is going to rip you off. 

    Notice I used the term "suit pants"---which is a term that is used by your voting constituency when they go to a wedding, funeral, or are forced to take their wives to an Anniversary dinner. The rest of the time they wear work jeans, not designer jeans with a crease down the front. Dancing on the stage is the last thing you should do if the opposition is already defining you as a weather vane. 

    About your singing, that was interesting. You were pitchy but I'm not so worried about that. What was evident was that you don't know about your diaphragm---now don't get nervous, it's something both men and women have and it is what controls the strength of the voice as well as the conviction---because it relates to the solar plexus, the center of being. A good speech coach can on a weekend teach you to speak from your center instead of forming all your words from the throat up. Notice how Santorum is taking more time and reaching for the lower baritone range. You have a great, fixable, baritone voice but you need to learn how to use it. Try to find out which speech coach Santorum is using.

    You blew the story about your father being a lath/plaster/carpenter apprentice. Even Steve Rattner, easily your equal as a Finance guy, picked up on it. Too short, didn't make sense, didn't milk it. For one thing Todd would know that these are three separate trades, so would many others you are trying to reach. I actually worked for a lath man who was a subcontractor to my Dad's building company. My Dad thought I should earn as much as I could in my Summers off from college, so I became a lath man's assistant---three months of hand fulls of nails in the mouth. The whole point about putting nails in your mouth is to keep your hands free while you position a chunk of lath board. Then you hold it in place with an elbow and knee while you spit a nail into your free hand, point first, and give it a hit with a lath hammer.

    "By the way did you all know they actually sterilized those nails for that exact purpose, for that specific trade? It's sad to see those old trades disappear, isn't a real master plasterer...such fine craftsmanship. Today, it's all drywall and paint---not saying anything's wrong with that, but sometimes we miss the old days. We have a bright future ahead if we....." It makes a story, not a half-baked example.

    I have an MBA, although I wasn't a Baker Scholar like you. I respect that. I wouldn't have lasted a year trying to compete with a guy like you. I have worked in mostly small companies, and for some reason I have a penchant for the back lots of small industrial plants---not the front office, and not for Corporate Finance.

    And here we get to the nub of the problem. The reason you look like a quick in and out hair tonic salesmen is that you are subconsciously categorizing your audience, you are so far removed from their life experience that you know you can't connect, so you try to perform like a stand up comic. I'm not sure how you correct this problem. Maybe that's where a wilderness experience would come in handy.

    I suggest a kind of national media sensation where you are dropped off in the middle of a wilderness with just the basics: Swiss army knife, three fish hooks, some line, and a jar of Zeke's "Balls of Fire" fish egg bait, a rain jacket, 1 lb. of smoked cheese, one quart of water and purification pills, and, I'm cutting you a break, a small survival guide. Maybe you could parachute in, that would be very gutsy.

    The media would be focused for a week on where and if you're going to survive it. You might actually not make it, but consider the alternative, if you don't exhibit some personal adversity a snot nose kid like Rick Santorum might win the nomination. If you come out alive, you'll win the nomination, and quite possibly a lot more. You are a guy who appears never to have faced adversity, abjectly so, and it doesn't resonate with Todd Palin---who broke his leg during a race but still finished and won the Iron Man. 

    Well, Obama didn't appear to have faced much adversity either, but he's already in office and you are not.

    It's not that you can't deliver a quick quip. You finished Perry off with the very first Al Gore quip. Gingrich doesn't hold up well when he's not berating a debate moderator. But Santorum is finding his strength and part of it is in his speech. I don't know if you saw the movie, available on DVD, the "King's Speech". It was over dramatized, but it's relevant to you. Watching you on stage is painful. But your problem is fixable. Not everything in this life is about religion, family and finance. Some of life is under a car, on a Greyhound bus, or climbing up a rock face where you think you can't keep going but the alternative is dying overnight in sub zero temperature. 


    I have no preference among the Republican candidates.

    Well, which do you prefer for fishing streams up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire?  Zeke's "Balls of Fire" or Zeke's "Stinky Cheese" ?

    I don't fish.

    How about lath? Like economics, it takes two hands. 

    Well Santorum scares the bejesus out of me also!

    And Mitt? Mitt is no Sinatra and I just cannot see children running toward him like they do to Paul or Santorum for that matter. So regardless of current polling, I just do not see Mitt winning the general election.

    But I do know this.

    If Barry loses, we lose both Houses of Congress and we are screwed no matter what happens. ha

    Normally I wouldn't be worried about Santorum. But if a black swan event were to happen right before the election, Santorum might be more dangerous than Romney.

    If Romney was as smart as he thinks he is, he would listen to you.  I don't think that he is, and therefore, probably won't.  Your advice is pretty specific and right on the button. His politics are bad, and his presentation ranges from mediocre to horrible. You can have bad politics and a good presentation and win, and you can have good politics and a mediocre presentation and win.  You can't have both be bad and win.  And right now, the spectre of Santorum is scary to anyone who has cognitive reasoning abilities. 


    P.S. I notice that the banner says that this is Dagblog Haiku Day ... Do you think we can petition to have every Sunday be officially designated as Dagblog Haiku Day? 

    I second the motion that every Sunday be designated as Dagblog Haiku Day!

    Just kidding.

    We all like you and the heading leads to you and no one else.

    Besides a lot of us look forward to this every week.




    Heh...I like this blog post!  It's quite different, and I enjoyed reading it.  Speaking as a singer in a local choir, I can definitely agree with you about the diaphragm. 

    On a rather personal note, Romney reminds me of me when I'm with young people (teenagers, mostly).  I'm good with babies, and very small children, and I'm pretty good with young adults and my peers.

    But when I'm with teenagers, I tend to get tongue-tied and shy.  It makes me come off as stiff and uncomfortable (which, I guess, I am).  I'm not sure if this is a carry-over from my angst-ridden days spent skulking through high school corridors with my shoulders huddled over my books, waiting to get picked on yet again, or what it is.  But I watch Romney trying to look like an average Joe and I can actually feel his pain.  It's hard to watch. 

    He's clueless, really, outside of his zone.  And that's not a good trait for a President, nor for a candidate. 

    I hope he takes your advice, Oxy.  I, like you, am scared silly by Santorum.  (No jokes please). 



    Hey, LisaB. 

    Like you, I would be no good in front of teenagers. But once I did the same gig in front of a lot of dfferent audiences and it's amazing how with some experience you can predict most of the responses and hone everything down.

    As far as taking advice, I suspect that's his most fundamental problem. 

    I think Oxy's advice is great here and I hope Mitt doesn't take it because, though I understand the worry about a fluke Santorum general win, I don't believe that a country that is too "centrist" for even John Kerry will ever allow a president Santorum.

    My take, for what it's worth, on Mitt is that he's a CEO.  CEOs are, in person, great salespeople.  They know how to motivate key employees, convince key customers and, after those things, win over strategic partners and investors.  An old value investing joke, that I believe started with Buffett, was that you should never interview the CEO while doing your research because a good CEO will make you want to buy a crummy thing.

    But that's one on one.  CEOs speaking before crowds tend to suck.  And, this is no surprise.  The talent to give a great speech to the masses, like Reagan, Clinton, and Obama have exhibited, doesn't necessarily translate into the ability to get a deal done one on one, and vice versa.

    Romney, we know from his balance sheet, is awesome at the one on one (or small meeting) dealing.  But CEOs, who mostlys exist in the one on one or small meeting environment, almost always think they're great at speeches.  Turns out that they mostly aren't.  In a small meeting, the CEO has authority, even when acting as a supplicant.  That allows a certain nonchalance and swagger.  When you perform in front of a large group, the group is in charge.  That's why Romney gaffes so much.  He thinks he's in charge when he isn't because he's used to feeling like he's in charge.

    I think you nailed it. I spent some time recruiting CEO's and what you say rings very true. One on one they are extremely competitive, have great vocabularies, play squash or similar, know their wines and will find a way to beat you or upstage you. But like you say, that's one on one. It's not leadership in the sense of getting a crowd you don't control on your side. I think the Romney team just went into this thinking they could buy both the primary and the general with advertising and could gloss over the rest. What a surprise, money can't buy you love. 

    Why does this bring to mind that ol' saw, 'You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'?  Perhaps in this case it should be reversed.  Think about it...

    When I started my business, it began as a combo offering for various entitie's marketing and internal/external communication needs.  While both segments were successful, it soon became evident that unless I wanted to expand both staff and operations, I would have to choose one and I chose to focus on communication facilitation.  In short, businesses and groups hired us to assist them in acquiring tools that would promote a positive communication environment.  

    One of the requirements was that management and employees were mandated to both attend workshops together.  Lessons learned was how to identify, care about and relate to those who have different roles within the 'team'.  

    In other groups, if it was a workshop topic of 'Job Interview Skills', the first lesson was to learn all one could about the business's services, products and market placement.  And find something you could honestly relate to within the organization and tout your research in the interview.  This shows them you cared enough to 'learn about and understand' their history and needs, as well as what the job seeker could bring that could support and help them obtain their goals.

    I've watched Romney's interactions - body posturing, tone inflection, eye contact, et al. at speeches, meet and greets and with media.  It's painful.  He doesn't want the job, he wants the position and there is no team in his I.

    To be a good communicator, you have to want it and care about sharing - listening, being open minded and speaking with - not at/to - the other(s) involved.

    When he attempts to communicate, he uses his 'father knows best' tools which he perceives as having served him well at home, in the boardrooms, church hierarchy and within his limited socio-economic groups.  His roles in life to date (by choice) have not necessitated that he step outside his chosen boundaries.  

    He talks, you listen and implement the actions he states are needed.  It seems to have worked well so far, no need to change now.

    And the fact is, his communications do deliver the truth about him and his beliefs.  Perhaps that's all that we need to understand and pay attention to, and most seem to get all the messages he delivers.  Loud and Clear.

    Thanks Aunt Sam. Sounds like you had a very interesting business there. I know what you mean about making choices and decisions about growth in a small company. 

    I think the "father knows best" attitude is correct and that Romney actually underestimates his audience. Actually he has even less leadership qualities than most CEO's because he is a finance guy, and hasn't run a large diversified company, e.g., like GE, where he would at least be on speaking terms with the kinds of teamwork concepts you were involved in. 

    I've read quite a bit on Romney, both the positive and negative facts, opinions and rhetoric. 

    What's important to note is that Romney doesn't perceive that those not in his socio-economic, church hierarchy are of any value except what they can do to promote both personal and professional agendas he supports/needs.  Thus, he doesn't actually, or care to, 'know' about what paths are trodden by the masses.  

    However, that is not to say he is shallow.  Nope, he has a very deep reservoir of core beliefs and agendas.  And one reason his public communication is so stilted is because this is the only way he can control and not divulge too much. It's his Father Knows Best role/mandate  - and within his 'families' there is no equality/democracy, only the opposite. 

    If you consider all his 'forums', whether work, church or home, this is fact. It's not secrecy per se, it's just the way it is and he believes his success is proof it's the best system.  

    Oxy, I know I'm coming to this late, but this is great!  I think you nailed it perfectly.

    I suggest a kind of national media sensation where you are dropped off in the middle of a wilderness with just the basics: Swiss army knife, three fish hooks, some line, and a jar of Zeke's "Balls of Fire" fish egg bait, a rain jacket, 1 lb. of smoked cheese, one quart of water and purification pills, and, I'm cutting you a break, a small survival guide. Maybe you could parachute in, that would be very gutsy.

    He is all you say he is, and Aunt Sam adds awesome frosting to the cake.

    Thanks, Ramona. And also, Aunt Sam.


    I meant the whole piece was great.  Didn't make that clear enough.  Thanks.

    Thanks very much, Ramona. I'll put that in my emotional bank. 

    lol.  That's pathetic.

    What's pathetic? My bereft emotional bank? Or that I'm a bull shitter?

    I really did appreciate your compliment. 

    1. Yes

    2. You tell me

    3.  Thank you.  laugh


    In the news today: apparently he has no interest in learning to talk conservative from the conservative talk pros:

    Maybe he just made a large bet with someone that he would run in every state, regardless of the outcome. Or maybe he's trying to fulfill a prophesy. 

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