Barack Obama addressed students of the Cairo University today, what was billed to be a beginning of a new chapter between America and the Muslim world, a new dialogue based on mutual respect. I started admiring Obama for his gift of speech making in early 2007, when he was still a largely unknown candidate contesting for the Democratic nomination in the primaries. I was staying in Cleveland during that time.
But more than mere word play, what I admired the most was his positioning. On almost any issues, even the most intractable, he takes such a position which seems acceptable to all parties. I learned the art of positioning observing him, and it is more than ‘cliché’s’ and ‘glamorous words’ because you need to first know what is your positioning – which requires intellectual prowess, a deeper understanding of the world around you.
And recently I got treated to another exemplary example – abortion is a highly controversial issue in US, the entire population is divided right to the middle in two camps -- Pro –choice (favor of abortion) and Pro-life (Against abortion). You can just gauge the sensitivity and the kind of passion this subject generates from the recent incident where a doctor performing late state abortions was shot dead while attending Sunday Mass by a Pro-Life activist.
When Obama was giving a speech on the subject he took the position that we should be really focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies – which are the cause of abortion and the whole controversy in the first place. Though he did not elaborate on that in detail, according to me --it a masterstroke of positioning. Suddenly everyone has a common ground – whether pro-choice or pro-life.
And it is the art of positioning that we all should learn from Obama - create our own brand, our own positioning !!!!