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When I first started watching the version of President Obama's State of the Union speech posted on YouTube by the White House, I wondered what the blue rectangle on the right hand side was for.
But all quickly became clear: it was for PowerPoint style slides and they, presumably, were what transformed it into an 'enhanced version'.
So we got to see a picture and the wordds MORE THAN 1 MILLION AMERICAN TROOPS SERVED IN IRAQ BETWEEN 2003-2011
Then a wanted poster for Osama bin Laden with a big red cross through it.
Then more pictures of US troops followed numbers of how many of them had fought in various wars.
And so on and on and on, through pictures, bar charts, graphs, diagrams lists of bullet points, on the US economy, education, etc., etc., etc.
Enhancement or distraction?
Watching this, I was left gasping, wondering who on earth in team Obama believes that his speeches are actually enhanced by such distractions, unless it was the same person who thought that background musak 'enhanced' the film of his speechwriters preparing the speech (see previous post).
Does it mean we can now expect President Obama to take a slide projector along with him during the forthcoming presidential campaign?
I think not - for the obvious reason that he's a good enough communicator to know that the words in his speeches and the way he delivers them are enough on their own to get his messages across.
What's more, I very much hope that this White House model of an 'enhanced presentation' doesn't give other lesser speakers (e.g. most British politicians) the idea that this is the way to improve their own speeches 'going forward'.
See for yourself
If you haven't seen it yet, it's well worth watching all the way through - and coming to your own conclusion as to whether the visual aids enhance or distract from what he said.
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