Skip to main content

How To Speak Like Obama

One of the main reasons why Obama is so popular and effective is his oratory skills. Yes, oratory skills can be honed. You can actually improve your public speaking skills by joining Toastmasters. You will learn how to develop the necessary skills in engaging your audience, build on your subject matter, learn about delivery, phrasing, etc... To get to Obama-level, you need natural charisma, much like JFK and Martin Luther King. Leadership qualities, to a large extent can also be honed, but to be a natural leader where people instantly look up to you is a quality that is hard to find. I have come across a few articles that tries to look at how Obama works his oratory skills. Here are the main points:

a) Always know your audience, their expectations, their anxieties, their concerns. When you speak to a group of parents-teachers, its different, when its with union workers about to lose a lot of jobs, its different, when its in front of TV, its different, when you are speaking to political reporters, its again different.

b) Following on the first point, you then broadly define the issues at hand, bring up the context of issues in the audience's perspective, show that you know what they are concerned about. Anticipate what they are thinking. Bringing up points on both sides of the issue and clarify your stance. Justify your stance. At the same time, you must not be seen to be playing your audience - hence you must show integrity, honesty, pragmatism and be realistic about the issues.

c) You have to learn to pause, to allow the audience to reflect and absorb the points. You need to build up your argument and thesis and let your words resonate. When you rush past prepared text, you will lose the impact key words and phrases can have on the audience... e.g. "yes, we can" long pause...

d) Use short phrases. Use phrasing techniques to bring your audience along, like a boat ride, riding out each wave of euphoria and reflection.

e) Be aware of your body language. No fidgety movements. Eye contact and facial expression must be correlate. You have to rehearse how to maintain calmness. If you have to flip pages, do it slow and deliberate. Always look out to the audience as if you were commanding the troops.

f) Always have a good beginning, a casualness (or light hearted humour) to embrace the audience to your side before you launch into your speech. Be aware that you do not climax in your speech too soon, you need to b uild it up, much like a conductor writing the various parts for his orchestra - you want to bring things to a crescendo.

g) Always end well, with the key phrase or what the audience should get from your speech.

A person even of Obama stature cannot do all things by himself. In Obama's case, he has a very very good speechwriter in Jon Favreau. Though only 27, he has the necessary energy and idealism to act as the sounding board. He has the tenacity to understand various tough issues, and drive through the points in a clear way in line with Obama's political views and leanings. That is not an easy task. He has to write the way Obama is thinking, and even the way he usually speak, because if not the speech will sound contrived and regurgitated.

Its not easy to speak well with integrity and class.

p/s photos: SPEED is an all Okinawan female J-pop group


You know of any Malaysian toastmaster's program?
Naysayer said…
Wow! I thought Speed has disbanded after their Speed Moment : The Best Album circa 1992 during their zaman kegemilangan of J-Pop.

Popular posts from this blog

My Master, A National Treasure

REPOST:  Its been more than two years since I posted on my sifu. This is probably the most significant posting I had done thus far that does not involve business or politics. My circle of close friends and business colleagues have benefited significantly from his treatment.

My Master, Dr. Law Chin Han (from my iPhone)

Where shall I start? OK, just based on real life experiences of those who are close to me. The entire Tong family (Bukit Kiara Properties) absolutely swear that he is the master of masters when it comes to acupuncture (and dentistry as well). To me, you can probably find many great dentists, but to find a real Master in acupuncture, thats a whole different ballgame.

I am not big aficionado of Chinese medicine or acupuncture initially. I guess you have to go through the whole shebang to appreciate the real life changing effects from a master.

My business partner and very close friend went to him after 15 years of persistent gout problem, he will get his heavy attacks at least…

PUC - An Assessment

PUC has tried to reinvent itself following the untimely passing of its founder last year. His younger brother, who was highly successful in his own right, was running Pictureworks in a number of countries in Asia.

The Shares Price Rise & Possible Catalysts

Share price has broken its all time high comfortably. The rise has been steady and not at all volatile, accompanied by steady volume, which would indicate longer term investors and some funds already accumulating nd not selling back to the market.

Potential Catalyst #1

The just launched Presto app. Tried it and went to the briefing. Its a game changer for PUC for sure. They have already indicated that the e-wallet will be launched only in 1Q2018. Now what is Presto, why Presto. Its very much like Lazada or eBay or Alibaba. Lazada is a platform for retailers to sell, full stop. eBay is more for the personal one man operations. Alibaba is more for wholesalers and distributors.

Presto links retailers/f&b/services originators with en…

How Long Will The Bull Lasts For Malaysia

Are we in a bull run? Of course we are. Not to labour the point but I highlighted the start of the bull run back in January this year... and got a lot of naysayers but never mind:

p/s: needless to say, this is Jing Tian ... beautiful face and a certain kind of freshness in her looks and acting career thus far

I would like to extend my prediction that the bull run for Bursa stocks should continue to run well till the end of the year. What we are seeing for the past 3 weeks was a general lull where volume suddenly shrunk but the general trend is still intact. My reasons for saying so:

a) the overall equity markets globally will be supported by a benign recovery complemented by a timid approach to raising rates by most central banks

b) thanks to a drastic bear run for most commodities, and to a lesser extent some oil & gas players, the undertone for "cost of materials" have been weak and has pr…