Public Speaking: Barack Obama
My Communication Inspiration
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Barack Obama is a person I admire as a public speaker. He knew how to connect with people from many different walks of life by using emotion as a common ground between his audience and himself. Obama would embed emotional anecdotes into his speeches allowing for his audience to see him in a more vulnerable light and relate to him more. He would cast a wide net, touching on topics such as the struggle of being an immigrant, parenthood, and being black. He coupled this with his ability to sound confident and inspiring to others in order to motivate his audience to sympathize with his message.
Obama was also mindful of the way he spoke. He took his time when speaking and did not rush to get his point across. He often used pauses to insinuate dramatic effect and always addressed his audience with firm eye contact to establish trust.
I also think that Obama’s ability to form a personal connection with people through social media and PR allowed him to subconsciously appear more friendly and approachable to the average American even when talking about serious topics. Even as a non-American listener, I can almost relate to the topics he speaks about due to this very reason.
His mastery of syntax and delivery is reminiscent of presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. But the soul of his sentences — the resonance, depth and musicality — hark back to Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with a bit of Nelson Mandela’s sparse stoicism stirred in. — LA Times
Public speaking is one of the best ways to motivate and inspire audiences and Obama is a pinnacle of what it means to be a truly great public speaker.