Humility key for victory and concession speeches

How McCain and Obama can avoid sounding like a sore loser or an arrogant winner.

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How McCain and Obama can avoid sounding like a sore loser or an arrogant winner

Tonight, one presidential candidate will be giving a victory speech, and one will be conceding the election to the other. These are moments where the victor can do some conciliatory fence-mending—and where the vanquished can set the stage for the next chapter in his career.

Executives may not have the same moments in the harsh glare of the world media spotlight as presidential candidates, but arguably there are opportunities to address triumphs and failures in a constructive way. (With the economy the way it is, there might soon be more failures than triumphs to talk about…)

Ian Griffin, a freelance speechwriter in Silicon Valley, says the loser of tomorrow’s election, “must speak at an emotionally wrenching moment when the eyes of the world are, for perhaps the last time, fully on them. They need to speak briefly, with sincerity, to an audience of bitterly disappointed supporters in a state of turmoil.”

Finger-pointing, says Griffin, should not be part of the concession speech.

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