How good are Donald Trump's media skills?

13 August 2015

Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump has great media skills. That’s why he’s leading the other Republican candidates in the polls. Personally I give him zero chance of winning the Republican nomination for President, but his media skills are why he’s currently leading.

So why are his media skills so effective?

I put this down to three Cs. Firstly, he is Clear. So many leaders think they need to use intellectual language to impress audiences. Trump doesn’t. He uses the most basic language possible. For example, there was no grey area when he talked about Mexicans entering the US illegally, or his views on John McCain’s hero status.

Secondly, he is Confident. People want their leaders to project confidence. You may not agree with what Trump says, but he does come across as though he is in charge. He often does this by dismissing any contrary view to his as political correctness gone mad, but he appears genuine and confident when he does this.

The third C is Conflict. The media love conflict, because it brings their stories to life like nothing else can. The other candidates all have things to say, but the media will always favour a story with conflict over anything else. That gives Trump all the headlines.

Some of the other candidates have recognised this and started to introduce more conflict into their communication strategies. One example was Mike Huckabee’s comment about the United States Nuclear deal with Iran. He said President Obama was “marching Israeli’s to the door of the oven.” That appears to be taking things too far for a headline, but then Trump hasn’t exactly held back with his views.

As the primary rolls on and Trump needs to talk about his plan rather than only attacking others, his fortunes may wither. Time will tell.

For more on my media training, contact or 029 200 8555.

Filed under Media Training

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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