Regardless of your personal political affiliation, we all have to agree that President Obama is a masterful communicator. He captivates people whether as a speaker to an audience of thousands or as a one-on-one communicator. We can all become better communicators by looking at and listening to our new President. Here are traits that President Obama possesses that we can incorporate into our own communications.
Vivid Language: In today’s inaugural address, President Obama made this comment, “Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.” In communicating, we need to paint strong pictures in our listeners’ minds. Metaphors are an excellent method of capturing peoples’ attention.
Pauses: We are fearful of silence; we are concerned people will think something is wrong if we are briefly silent. Pauses are powerful and we must blend them into our communications with others. If you say something that is very strong, you need to briefly pause to give people time to absorb your words.
Eye Contact: In today’s address, Obama had excellent eye contact while speaking. When talking to a single person, we need look at them in the eyes (not staring which could appear threatening). Eye contact conveys the message that we are interested in the other person.
Voice Inflection: Vary the pitch and tone of your voice. Peaks and valleys make for an interesting conversation. If the energy level is constantly too low or too high – that’s boring. Yes, constant high energy is boring; what makes it boring is the “sameness.” In President Obama’s speech his voice become big and then at other times dramatically quieter.
Match Energy Level: Today’s’ crowd in DC was charged up and Obama matched their enthusiasm with his energy level. If you are a big energy person and you are talking to a person who is quieter in nature, tone it done. Otherwise, you will overwhelm them. On the flip side, if you tend to be more reserved and you are talking to a big-energy person, you may need to raise your energy level a notch or two.
Everyone can become a better communicator, but it takes work. Spend some time to practice these skills and you will see big results!
Edward Leigh, MA, is a high-content entertaining keynote speaker and seminar leader. For more information about his programs, visit: http://www.EdwardLeigh.com or call 1-800-677-3256