Rapport created in Chicago speech by Barack Obama Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 7 July 2017

Rapport created in Chicago speech by Barack Obama

In this study I will be analysing the speech of Barack Obama in two different contexts. The first speech is his victory speech in Chicago on the 4th November 2008. The second is his campaigning speech in Iowa. These speeches depict Obama in both a formal and less formal situation. It is important that we realise that his strategies have changed.

Barack Obama creates rapport with the audience during his victory acceptance speech in many ways. He creates an immediate bond with the audience as he begins his speech by saying, “Hello Chicago!” He then pauses for a minute in order for the citizens of America to welcome him as the USA’s president. Then he addresses the people who had not voted for him because they thought he was not capable of leading America and then thanking the thousands of voters that gave him his victory. The effective line “tonight is your answer”, uses personal pronouns to engage the audience and involve them in his success.

Obama thanks his “partner”, this shows the close friendship between himself and his colleagues before thanking his own family. This shows the gratefulness towards the Americans for making him president. The president begins to talk about his own life, “the love of my life”, allowing the citizens into his own world. This shows him as being very humble and creates rapport as it shows that there were lots of people behind his own success and in order for America to be a success, the citizens will be there for her.

In the victory speech, Obama refers to situations that allow a connection between himself and the audience as he uses phrases such as “on the train home” proving that he too is an ordinary man like the rest of them. However he also refers the patriotic past of the United States of America.

Barack Obama often uses powerful visual imagery and metaphors in his victory speech. Earlier on he uses contrast and personal pronouns to rely on him. “We are not enemies but friends”. This allows the American population to feel involved and make them feel as if they do have a say in the way the country is run.

He also talks of Ann Nixon Cooper who at the point that this speech was told was 106 years old. Like himself, she was a black woman who saw the changes in the running of USA, making it personal. He also talks about many famous women and men who had changed history for example, “a man {who} touched down on the moon”, “a preacher from Atlanta”. It is evident that he wishes to be remembered throughout history not only as America’s first black president but as someone who made “America … change”. This short sentence emphasises the fact that he would be a great president. An antithesis is used to show that he can make a difference, “the heartache and the hope”, although this is contrast and alliteration, the soft sounds of the “h” sanctions the words to roll on the tongue to put their confidence in their new president.

The constant repetition of the phrase “Yes we can”, creates rapport with the audience as it goes through their mind that the president on the stage will unite everyone and change everything for the better. The citizens then begin to chant along with Barack Obama. It is evident that the citizens have trusted the man to improve the quality of life in America.

Obama attended this speech with formal attire, a black suit and a red tie to represent as he has transcended in politics, he no longer represents just the Democratic party but everyone so he has chosen to wear a patriotic colour that symbolises the whole of USA. It also shows him to be a powerful and bold man. His hair is short, clean shaven and perfect yet it looks natural allowing the population to see him more seriously. In the background there are waving American flags, a patriotic sign there is also a stage separating him from the population proving that he is more powerful and has to look down at them, priority. Barack Obama did not slouch in this speech, he did not lean against the podium however he does stand straight to look more focused and makes many hand gestures although they are restricted when he is trying to put a point across as well as having a clenched fist when he wants to look serious and emphasise a point that he has made seeming confident.

An interesting point is that during this speech Obama does not hesitate at all as if he has had faith in him winning therefore he has practised it many times in order to ensure that it was perfect. However it was not the same in his campaigning speech in Iowa closer to the time of the election. We know this because he is extremely exhausted and tired. Here there is a small audience in the gym who are trying to decide who to vote for in the coming election (2008).He makes this speech to persuade them to vote for him.

Although the president (a senator at this point) wears a suit with a red tie he seems to be more uncomfortable as he is shown to be scratching his face and unbuttoning his shirt as it may have been slightly putrid in there as it is a gym. He turns around often as he is in an uncomfortable position, he is in the centre of a circle where it is difficult for him to make eye contact with the audience.

Obama tries to create rapport with the audience as he takes the opportunity to make a joke however when no one laughs he accredits it to his wife, Michelle Obama. He hesitates and makes lots of pauses often. The reason for this may be that he had forgotten what he was meant to say, he had not rehearsed anything or that he was tired.

Barack Obama does create rapport by using an anecdote to allow the audience to enter his personal life, “we were still living in a condo. “It was a little bit too small for the kids” showing that he does understand the lives of many American citizens. He realises that the audience in the gym are middle aged, adults with a young child. As he addresses the fact that he did not know how there were going to get money “for college for the girls” as well as “save for … retirement”. This proves that he has done his research and knows his audience well as he talks about their concerns.

Obama does not show himself to have confidence and faith in himself as he says, “I think that if you trust me then I think I’ll deliver for you.” He appears very colloquial as he has abbreviated the words ‘I will’ to “I’ll”. It is not effective as he tells the spectators that he “think[‘s]” that he will be a good president.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

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  • Date: 7 July 2017

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