Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gov. Jindal and Mr. Rogers

What can Bobby Jindal's delivery teach us about what NOT to do in front of an audience?

Before he spoke a single word, he bombed. How? By making a Mr. Rogers entrance.

Jindal should have begun his speech with this feet planted - ready to deliver. Instead, he strides merrily towards the camera, much like Mr. Rogers entered the room the beginning of each episode.

What makes this mistake especially egregious is Gov. Jindal's age. He is 37 - the youngest governor in America. What he needed to do at that moment - that critical moment of first impressions - was to raise his status. His Mr. Rogers entrance communicated "casual," and only served to lower his status in the eyes of the audience.

An older, more established politician could have gotten away with it - maybe - but not a junior governor.

From the Green Room: If you're more junior than your audience, make sure that your body language raises your status.


Anonymous said...

Even worse, Gov. Jindal presented himself, oxymoronically, as a rather dark Mr. Rogers, emerging spookily from the recesses of the chamber. More's the pity, since his message was well worth hearing.

Anonymous said...

I heard Jindal and Obama's performances described post-facto as "Journey opening for the Rolling Stones" ... pretty accurate, I think. Also, what strikes me as especially strange about Jindal's speech was the overemphasis of that "Americans can do anything" line. The grocery store anecdote in which the immigrant or visitor marvels at the plenty on America's shelves is a bit of a cliche but it could have worked fine if it set up that theme in the beginning. Jindal could even have referenced it in the middle and used it to close at the end. But five times was pure overkill.