Motivating the troops, Bill Clinton style

We’ve seen it time and time again in the movies.  Riding up and down the lines on horseback, the leader: the Mel Gibson in Braveheart, the Russell Crowe in Gladiator etc., rallies the troops before battle.

How everyone can possibly hear is a mystery, but he tells them why they are about to go into battle, what’s at stake, who they are fighting for: freedom, love of country, family, mother, brother, sister, son and daughter, etc.  We’re all in this together.

Their purpose in life now poignantly clear, they are moved to go into battle against impossible odds, to almost certain death.  They know what they must do it if life is to be worth living, and … they believe they can win.Winston Churchill


Winston Churchill did this for the British people during the darkest days of World War II.



Bill Clinton did this masterfully last night at the Democratic convention, and this time there is no doubt that everyone could hear.

Regardless of your politics this was masterfully done, and it again demonstrates a point that I make time and time again.  There is no reality except what we craft in language, and what we choose to believe.  If you doubt this, ask any Tea Party members if Bill’s speech changed their minds on who to vote for.  I don’t think so.

Each side in the American political divide, like lawyers making closing arguments, use language to try to get you to see different realities.  It has much more to do with their capacity to craft language and your willingness to believe than anything to do with facts and figures.   The Republicans seem much more willing to abandon facts to create their reality, and their base is eager to accept it nonetheless.

Bill’s speech is below.  If you admire leadership, here is a master at work, in his element, practicing his craft.  He is without a doubt one of the greatest orators of our time.

The lesson is this: the better you are able to create an emotional and meaningful reality with your words, the better your ability to have bigger and bigger audiences accept your version of reality, the better your ability to lead.


Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.