The Bush Katrina Speech
On August 29th President and Mrs. Bush marked the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by giving a speech.
Both Laura and George Bush have improved in their rhetorical skills since they took office in 2000. While Laura Bush delivered her speech effectively, she was still reading from a manuscript.
President Bush, on the other hand, added a personal quality to his speech. At key moments he paused to look out at the audience. He spoke from heart when he lamented the "failure of government at all levels."
Bush adopted a conversational tone as he used his own words to explain that part of rebuilding the city of New Orleans requires moving tons of debris.
At one point in the speech he made his typical verbal faux pas of tripping over his words. His response was to roll his eyes, smile, and correct himself. This personal nonverbal reaction let the audience know he was aware of his mistake. His expression seemed to say "Here I go again." He was able to laugh at himself.
Being personal allows the speaker to go off message and to react to the moment. The impact is a more authentic person-someone who is just like us.