Plenty of experts have weighed in on Mitt Romney's now infamous speech to attendees at a private fundraiser earlier this year, but only one, the prolific public speaking coach Matt Eventoff, chose to draw attention to how "comfortable" he seemed while delivering it.
Eventoff has worked with a variety of politicians, TV pundits, executives, athletes and others on their public-speaking skills, and has been following the presidential campaign closely. He pointed out that there was a noticeable difference between the "confident, conversational" Romney present at the fundraiser speech, recently leaked by Mother Jones, versus the one we've seen on the campaign trail this past year.
He said it's a quality Romney might want to tap into moving forward.
"When you're giving a big speech in front of millions of people, the main idea is to connect. You want to have a conversation with your audience," Eventoff explained. "And one of the things people have said about Romney in the past is that he doesn't connect fully when he gives these big, formal speeches."
But in the video, Eventoff noted, you can see how conversational and approachable Romney seems, how it feels like the people in the audiences are ones "he knows very well."
"It was a much smaller crowd," Eventoff admitted. "But he was still campaigning, and this was a campaign speech."
Speaking off-the-cuff in a conversational setting hasn't been Romney's strong suit thus far. He got himself into hot water while visiting London before the Olympics, commenting on the city's preparedness for the events, and while speaking to a gay veteran at a restaurant, in a previously captured, much-seen video from ABC News.
"I think you really have to let the candidate be the candidate, but get comfortable watching himself on tape," Eventoff said. "Make him watch himself on tape and say, 'this is this you, is this how you believe you come across? Is this the you that you see?'"
When it comes to linking the conversational and the formal, Eventoff said, Bill Clinton is the master. His recent DNC speech was conversational in delivery -- inclusive and "easy to track" -- but still worked on a much grander scale. Clinton has always been able to do that, Eventoff said.
"You remember that famous debate where a young woman asked a question and George H. W. Bush gave his answer, and then Clinton actually got off his stool, walked over to the woman, looked her in the eye, and spoke to her that way?" Eventoff recalled. "Meanwhile, he's still speaking to millions of people."
Romney may wish he could take back his "47 percent" remarks, but Eventoff's advice to the struggling candidate is to replicate their candor -- if not their content -- whenever possible.
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