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What English and Little can learn from Obama

19 January 2017

He’s always been known as a great communicator, but there’s one specific thing that Bill English and Andrew Little could both learn from the media skills of Baraka Obama.

Whether it’s a media interview, a press conference or a presentation, his body language is a big reason why he is so effective. He always looks as if he wants to be there, showing passion and energy every time.

A major part of this is how he expresses himself with his hands. He’s always moving them to emphasise what he is saying. This helps him look genuine and allows the natural tones in his voice to come across.

This may seem confusing to some, but if you stop gesturing with your hands, your voice box stars to tighten up, preventing these natural tones. This is when you begin to sound monotone and is something both Little and English have been guilty of.

This surprises many people because of some myth that you shouldn’t use your hands because they will distract people from what you are saying. In reality, the opposite happens. You sound boring and people switch off.

If you doubt me, you can do two things. Firstly, try it yourself. Secondly, watch Barack Obama. You’ve probably always been impressed by his communication skills, but if you look further, you’ll see how much he gestures. I’ve never heard anyone say they couldn’t remember what he said because his hands got in the way.

Lot’s of people say Andrew Little and Bill English can be boring speakers. I’m not saying a sudden increase in their hand gesturing will turn them into Barack Obama, but it will definitely make them sound more interesting and look more passionate.

If you want to learn the five steps to pain free media interviews, download my White Paper at this link.

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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