Learn to Speak Like Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

Michael C. Podlesny asked:

Public speaking or speaking in front of crowds, regardless of their size, is important to the success of any leader. You need only look at Senator Obama to see how well he has done with his speeches about the topic of hope.

So how can you become a speaker that everybody not only tunes into but listens to? Here are some tips.

There is a reason why talking about hope has done so well for the senator. It makes people think about all that is good and gives them a sense that no matter how bad things may seem, better news is right around the corner.

According to Carmin Gallo of Businessweek, “You are the leader people want to believe in. Your customers and employees are bombarded by bad news — the credit crunch, a housing slump, an economic slowdown — but they are eager to hear something positive. That doesn’t mean leaders stick their heads in the sand — far from it. Inspiring leaders acknowledge the situation but also remind people of reasons to be optimistic.”

It is also the reason why a pastor like Joel Osteen does so well. He preaches of all that is positive regardless of how bleak things may look.

Get to know the technique of parallel structure. According to Gallo, “It simply means repeating the same word or expression at the beginning of successive sentences or phrases.” The most famous use of this technique would be Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

In 2004 while speaking at the Democratic National Convention Obama said, “Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?” In 2005, he claimed about America, as “a place where destiny was not a destination, but a journey to be shared and shaped.” This technique is called alliteration or the use of stringing together words that start with similar sounds.

For our next technique we look at a speech that the senator gave in 2004, “It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores, the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta, the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds, the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.” Called rich imagery, it paints a picture that stirs up emotion.

Your body language says a lot about who you are and how your listeners will portray you. Gallo says this about the senator, “In debates Obama appears unflappable, answering tough questions while maintaining strong eye contact. He doesn’t fidget or shake his head when listening to sharp attacks from his opponents. While seated, he leans slightly forward.” Studies have shown that people will make up their mind about you in just a few seconds. Showing that you are confident will gain their confidence as well.

Master the art of dynamic delivery. By doing this your speeches will not sound monotonous, but more uplifting. To master this skill keep these tips in mind. Pace your speech. Do not deliver the entire speech at the same speed. Some parts of your speech should be fast and others slow. Change the volume at key points. If you are speaking at the same tone level, people will tune you out. Master the pause affect. A pause during a speech leaves a memorable impression on your listeners. Placing it at the precise time will have a major affect.

These techniques won’t be mastered overnight. It takes time and practice. If you constantly work on them, you can one day be a great speaker.

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