As I was listening to Nina Totenberg’s story about the Sotomayor nomination this morning on NPR News, an incidental detail mentioned at the very end caught my attention:
All went incredibly smoothly except for one thing: White House aides scrambled the pages of Sotomayor’s remarks in the book they placed on the lectern for her at the announcement ceremony.
Fortunately, she had memorized her speech.
Many public speaking gurus will tell you that memorizing your speech is a bad idea. In this case it helped speaker recover from a situation that would have gone badly for anyone who had not prepared so thoroughly. It’s also interesting to note that serious presentation problems can even strike at the White House where, from what I understand, the ability to achieve perfection in execution is a fundemental job requirement. Not exactly what I would expect from the West Wing.