Speaking lessons from Obama’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Sadly, the president has often had to speak to grieving relatives and a stunned nation in the wake of gun violence. His words and tone last week again offered solace to those in mourning.

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Last week was not a slow news week in the United States, with landmark Supreme Court decisions at home and terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world.

One of the best addresses of President Barack Obama’s presidency took place with far less coverage than those events—at a funeral service for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine worshippers killed by a white supremacist during a Bible study session in Charleston, South Carolina. Even as this speech was unfolding, readers were messaging me to make sure I had it in my sights.

The event carried another distinction for Obama.

It’s believed that the president has spoken at more such memorials than any other president, and he has been dubbed the United States’ “mourner-in-chief.” Or maybe it just feels that way, thanks to live-streaming and YouTube. What was so special about this speech, and what can you learn from it for your own?

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