A sure thing to be able to hold her own during public hearings, that is!
Whether or not she becomes the next appointment to the Supreme Court is yet to be determined. In less than ten hours there are already over 28,000 blog posts discussing the nomination, lots of controversy, and lots of opinions.
Based on today, the only conclusion I can, and will, draw is that Judge Sotomayor demonstrated sound public speaking skills that will make her quite formidable during the confirmation process.
Every speaker, regardless of political affiliation, can learn from watching Judge Sotomayor’s acceptance of the President’s nomination.
- Speak Slowly/Pause - Sotomayor’s cadence was perfect, period. Every word was timed perfectly, and she made sure there was no where to focus except on her message — slow speech meant no slip-ups. I can not stress the importance of this enough. Every great prizefighter knows the key to setting up and controlling a fight is an effective jab — Judge Sotomayor used cadence as her “jab” very, very effectively.
- Eye Contact- Again, excellent. She did not “ping-pong” back and forth, and her eye contact was strong throughout.
- Annunciation – The tempo and cadence of the speech was very deliberate and allowed her to fully annunciate every word, as well as stress certain words, and even syllables. It was a great display of confidence and power, and one that every speaker can learn from.
- Use of Emotion – Again, the pace and cadence allowed the Judge to speak in the moment and actually feel what she was saying, and it showed. Examples — Describing her niece “My niece Kylie — she looks like me!” Describing her mother “I am only half the woman she is.”
It was critical that Judge Sotomayor deliver her message effectively, as this was her first opportunity to do so, and her only opportunity to define herself before everyone else got a shot.
As with all things, there was room for improvement (too much dependence on prepared text) but all in all, a very impressive performance on what is going to be a fascinating process. As with any campaign this is only the beginning, but Judge Sotomayor took her best shot at Campaign 101 — define yourself before your opposition has a chance to.