By the end of the last presidential debate, I was half listening, while standing on my head (that’s not a political leaning, just an exercise thing).

But when she spoke, I almost fell over.

Senator Amy Klobuchar rocketed out of nowhere this week to a surprising, 3rd place finish in the NH primary.

How did she do it? A stellar debate, say the pundits; specifically, her two minute close.

Let’s look at 7 tactics she used:

1) Be prepared. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard this a zillion times. But don’t discount it.

Unlike other debates, the candidates in NH were NOT asked to make a closing statement; the final question was about child poverty.

But Senator K. had practiced her close, and knew how to pivot from the question to get there.

2) Be present. You can say the same thing 1,000 times, as presidential candidates do, but still sound spontaneous.

When Senator K. told a story about President Franklin Roosevelt (see #4), she made it sound, not long ago, but as if it were happening right here and now.

3) Speak with emotion. How do you engage others—not just their heads, but hearts too? 

Start by asking yourself, Why do you care about this? And why should anyone else?

You project emotion with your voice and body language. But underneath, you’ve got to feel your message matters.

4) Tell a story. You’ll capture others’ attention, and make the moment stick.

The Senator’s story: After FDR died, he was carried by train across country. A man, standing by the tracks, was sobbing, and when asked if he’d known the President, the man said, “No—but he knew me.”

She told the story masterfully (practice!), and then moved straight to her main message.

5) Know your main message. The Senator repeated a variation of the following sentence three times:

“If you have trouble with x (the x changed over her 3 examples), I know you and I will fight for you.”

And she said it with feeling.

6) Make it about the audience.  In two minutes, she said “you” 15 times. (This can be overdone; it wasn’t here.) 

How often do you say you or we, instead of I?

7) Close with a call to action. What should your audience do?

Senator Klobuchar: “If you are tired of the extremes in our politics . . . you have a home with me. Please New Hampshire, I would love your vote.”

(Note the emotive language: tired; home; please.)

Tip: The next time someone makes you almost fall over, notice their tactics.

P.S. LET’S PRACTICE—SIGN UP TODAY for two Boston workshops:

1, (½ day workshop) The Power of Presence: Maximize Your Personal Impact, March 30

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To sign up, or for more info: email “Sign me up!” is sufficient. Or call 508-879-0934 for more details.

P.P.S. Rather just read a book?

You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World, named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper. Available in print, kindle, audio.

“Both practical and funny, it’s a great read for anyone who wants to have more impact at work. Hellman has mastered the art of communication, and he lets you in on the secrets. Highly recommended.”
Tim Saeger, Executive Vice President and Chief R&D Officer, iRobot

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PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.

For more info about keynotes, workshops & webinars, please call 508-879-0934, email or visit Express Potential.

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