Donna Papacosta’s blog recently points to Heidi Miller’s blog on public speaking. It’s a great blog and I recommend it to anyone teaching public speaking.
I love watching great speakers. In my opinion, one of the best and most charismatic speakers of our time is presidential hopeful Barack Obama. What a pleasure is to watch him. He embodies every quality I can think of that’s needed in a talented public speaker. Beyond his good looks (sorry, I know that sounds sexist, but it helps when the camera likes your face!), Obama is a reflection of our times and delivers a fresh and truly genuine quality of public speaking.
It doesn’t matter what your political views are – just watch and learn. He is skillful at delivering key messages, uses humor eloquently (this is a long video ... but the first minute and a half of this footage is hilarious) and he has an uncanny ability to draw the audience in. He connects almost instantly with his audience. Once he starts to speak, he’s like the Starship Enterprise tractor beam … you get sucked right in. The combination of superb speechwriting and delivery is what makes him outstanding.
Obama is highly intellectual, yet he doesn’t pontificate on the podium or bore us with hyperbole. And every single one of his speeches contains the three most essential ingredients a speaker should try to deliver at the podium: entertainment, information, and moving you to action. If you can’t accomplish any of that through your speech, please sit down and shut up.
For anyone teaching media training or presentation skill training, be sure you get loads of YouTube footage on Obama to study because he’s pure genius.
I realize that this talent alone won’t get him to the White House … but he sure beats what’s in there now!