OK, all you speech coaches. This is the night you’ve been waiting for, so don’t blow it.
President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress and people all across America at 9 PM Eastern Time. But this is YOUR night to shine, speech coaches.
That’s because if you’re smart, you’ll offer to critique his performance for your local newspaper or TV station.
But check your political opinions at the door. Comment instead on his sincerity, passion, use of humor, diction and pronunciation (NUK-u-ler), storytelling, body language, and all the other things that make for a great or not-so-great speech. And while you’re at it, how about critiqueing Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s rebuttal?
Hounds who aren’t speech coaches can also get in on the action. Here are ways to piggyback onto the State of the Union address:
—Many newspapers will be doing follow-up stories on how readers in their circulation areas reacted to the speech. If you live in the Mountain or Pacific Time Zones, just call your local daily newspaper as soon as the speech is over. Ask for the city desk or the news desk, and offer your comments. Those o fyou in the Central and Eastern Time Zones can call the next day.
—If you’re in a trade association, a labor union, or a group like the chamber of commerce, comment on how Bush’s agenda will affect what your group is trying to do. Consider writing a letter to the editor or op-ed column.
—Topics like national security, making tax cuts permanent, health care, Medicare, and education will take center stage. How does Bush’s stance affect you and your family, retirement, business, community or school?
—Bush will use tonight’s speech to drive home the importance of the war in Iraq. This is a great time for anti-war protesters, peace churches, war supporters, military families or anyone else with a strong opinion to respond.
—If college students are planning to watch the president in places like the student union or their dorms, invite reporters to watch and record their reactions.
—Don’t forget National Public Radio. NPR stations will probably devote significant news time to the Bush agenda during the next several days. So Hounds shouldn’t overlook this opportunity to be on the air.
Publicist Lissa Warren, who was my guest during the teleseminar “How to Get Booked on National Public Radio,” says NPR can be a PR goldmine for authors and experts mostly because it appeals to a better-educated, more affluent audience.