Series on Persuasive Speakers: The power of humility

“We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

That was one of the many bold yet resolute declarations made by the 44th President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama, in his Presidential Acceptance Speech 2012 after a long-fought political tussle with Governor Mitt Romney. Being one of the greatest orators in our times, to describe President Obama’s Acceptance Speech as “electrifying” would hardly be an overstatement.

In every aspect of persuading his audience of his firmly held convictions of “Yes, We can”, converting his cynics of his administration’s commitment to change and compelling the common electorate to believe that he has a role to play in making United States of America great, President Obama has done it impeccably through his speeches. There are definitely many reasons that made President Obama’s Presidential Acceptance Speech in 2012 great. One of the key elements, however, which Obama practiced exhibited throughout his presidency was humility. In every competition, there’s a deserving winner who basks in the limelight and often a neglected “loser(s)” who fades into the shadows of obscurity. Yet with President Obama as the winner of the US Presidential Elections 2012, there was hardly any show of arrogance or hubris.

Instead, President Obama displayed great magnanimity and humility as a leader and fondly embraced his political rivals, Governor Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the early moments of his victory speech.

“We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.”

The fact that President Obama could have made a cursory appreciation to Governor Romney but he did not and chose to take one step forward to recognize Governor Romney’s lineage and “legacy” of public service, convinces his electorate that this battle was never about him to start with. It was about a common future for America where their intention (both his and Romney’s) behind this political campaigning were driven by love for their country and aspirations for the nation’s future rather than their own pride and ego.

President Obama was quick to embrace and set aside their differences and get to work to forward America. That was his commitment.