The Inaugural Address (Through the Eyes of a Child)

I missed most of the inaugural festivities on January 20th, due to a long day with several of our clients. But we recorded everything, and my wife and I made a date for that evening to sit and watch all of it. I have only been to one Inaugural, in 1988. But I watch every four years, and am always fascinated by the speeches (in fact, I have several books on the history of Inaugural speeches). I love to take it all in, regardless of whether I voted for the new President or not. Inauguration Day is a momentous event, always, under any circumstances. And I never miss it. (That’s a long-winded way of saying “I was excited for this Inauguration” without having to get into the politics of why…)

When we sat down to watch that evening, our eleven-year-old son asked if he could join us. “Of course” was the only answer to that question. He sat between us on the couch just in time for President Biden’s speech. We listened, and we all enjoyed it very much, quickly agreeing that it was an excellent speech. I started taking notes while we were sitting there, because I knew I was going to write about it here. But then my son said that he really liked it. He said it several times. So I asked him why, and here is what he said:

I liked it because I understood everything the President said.

I liked it because it wasn’t too long. 

I liked it because he seemed like he believed what he was saying. 

I liked it because he seemed nice. 

Well… Ok, then…

I have been coaching communication skills for twenty years. And I am not sure I could give you analysis that is any more on point, valuable or universal than that.

Sometimes the best analysis comes from a person who looks at things in the simplest possible ways. And sometimes that analysis will come from a child whose head is not crowded with all the stuff that we adults think about.

It was a great speech, and certainly there were other reasons why, including the political context of this moment. But at the most fundamental level, it was a good speech because it was simple, it was (relatively) quick, he seemed confident, and he seemed nice. 

Nothing more need be said. Great advice for you, me and all of us.

Have a great day, and stay safe.

Photo used under the following license.

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.