Hey Rick, It’s Joe Biden Calling
9:30AM: Ring, ring…
Voice on the phone: Please hold for the president.
Rick: Give me a break (hangs up).
Rick: Who the hell is this? I don’t have time for this. I have laundry to do.
Voice: Don’t hang up. This really is Joe Biden’s office
Rick: No shit. OK I’ll play along.
Joe Biden: Hi Rick, it’s Joe Biden. Thanks for taking my call. I know how important laundry is. I need speech coaching. I hear you started this amazing company, PowerSpeaking.
Rick: Yes, hell of company. What do you need?
Joe: My numbers are tanking, people say I’m too old, and I’m not good at speaking.
Rick: Can’t help with the age thing, but have some ideas about the speaking part.
Joe: Lay it on me.
Rick: Robert Reich wrote about you the other day commenting that he didn’t get why your numbers aren’t better considering all you’ve accomplished.
Joe: Me either.
Rick: In your position, you’re surrounded by “Yes” people. They say what they think you want to hear. You sure you want to hear this? Don’t shoot the messenger.
Joe: I promise.
Rick: You have great content that is badly organized and poorly delivered.
Rick: Content first. Amazing what you have accomplished so far. To name a few:
Two of the strongest years of job growth in history
Nearly 11 million jobs created since 2021
Helped to bring gas prices down more than $1.60 from their summer 2022 peak
750,000 new manufacturing jobs
$15 minimum wage for Federal workers and contractors
Infrastructure investments in all 50 states
Inflation Reduction Act – despite zero Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
Great content can’t be appreciated if people don’t hear it. They can’t hear it if it is poorly organized and not delivered well.
Joe: Now wait a minute (getting defensive). The data speaks for itself.
Rick: Ha, ha, ha. Total bullshit, Joe. Pardon my language, but as a blue-collar guy, thought you’d appreciate my directness.
Joe: For sure.
Rick: First we’d get your content organized around a core message and we’d keep pounding on that message. For retention, we’d mix data and stories. Stories get people’s attention and make the message stick – just like the heroes in balcony at your yearly State of the Union speeches.
Joe: I have speech writers.
Rick: Not working. Great economy and yet people think the economy stinks. Time for new writers.
Joe: Do you know any?
Rick: We’ll get to that in a minute.
Joe: OK, what else?
Rick: Here’s the big one, Joe, – Delivery. You shuffle up to the mic, speak softly, and fumble with your words.
Joe: You know I am 80 years old and I studder sometimes (left over from childhood.)
Rick: I know. First get some physical therapy and yoga to help with your gait. Work on “sprinting” up to the mic. Remember Obama?
Joe: (touching his middle fingers to his thumbs, and closing his eyes) Oooommmm.
Rick: Are you mocking me?
Joe: If the shoe fits…
Rick: Hey, man, I have laundry to do.
Joe: OK, OK. Sorry. What else?
Rick: I’ve noticed when you get angry you don’t studder. I want you to be less rational and more emotional. I know you are really pissed about Trump’s threat to our democracy. You must make your audiences feel that anger too. Wave your arms. Eyebrows up and down. Voice soft, then loud. Let us see your concern – emotionally.
Joe: This sounds like just what I need. Stronger organization and more emotion in my delivery. Where can I get couching?
Rick: I’ll send you the PowerSpeaking link. I know you can do it, Joe. Our country’s future depends on this upcoming election.
Joe: Thanks Rick. I feel inspired.
Rick: Kick ass and take names, Joe. Now back to my laundry.
The Circus Comes to Town
Zoppe Family Circus
I’m laughing and screaming with delight and fear. The highwire acts, the jugglers, the trick dogs, the acrobats. The Zoppe circus in Redwood City delivers more fun than most other movies and stage shows I’ve seen in a year. And the children’s reactions are a delight.
Don’t miss it. It runs through Sunday, November 26.