The moments before a speech or presentation can be stressful. But what is it like moments before addressing hundreds of millions of people on television? I just discovered this fascinating video clip of Bill Clinton that provides some answers.
The video captures the final minutes before Clinton’s address to the nation in 1993. The person who posted it on YouTube had a ten-foot satellite dish and a descrambler. With this equipment, he was able to hack into the feed from the Oval Office just minutes before Clinton spoke live to the nation. It is very interesting to watch.
In the clip, we see a somewhat annoyed Clinton looking over his script, checking the microphone, asking questions about the teleprompter and cameras, and putting up with a determined make-up assistant. With everything at stake, it’s understandable that even a seasoned speaker like Bill Clinton would be stressed. (I particularly enjoyed George Stephanopolous leaning into the shot at 1:43. An unintended precursor to photobombing?)
So yes, even presidents and other dignitaries have to rehearse, check their appearance, and make sure all of the technical logistics are working before they speak. We are all in the same boat. To help you prepare for your next presentation, here’s a checklist that I prepared.