Just for fun, I watched a set of highlights from Ronald Reagan speeches recently. This is not a political observation . . . strictly from a communications perspective.
Reagan is generally considered by historians to be a great presenter. I actually saw him twice in person and agree. Breaking it down for those of us who also make presentations, I noted several appealing things about his approach:
- He walked into a room and up to the podium with purpose. He walked fast and he walked tall. It looked like he was totally in his element.
- He made great eye contact with the audience, scanning from side to side to include the whole room.
- Of course he was dressed well. Sharp. Well- tailored.
- He used very powerful metaphors (Soviet Union – as heap of history).
- He came across with great conviction. He did not use histrionics to make a point but his firmness made it clear he meant what he said.
- Probably most importantly, he exuded confidence. As you listen to him your spirits lift because he transfers that confidence to you as the listener.
When Ronald Reagan was invited to make a televised speech to Russia after the Soviet Union broke up, most Russians needed to listen to a translator, but when they were later polled, the majority of the people said they intuitively liked the President that he came off as friendly and as a good person.
That is body language at its finest, in the eyes, facial expressions and posture. Lots of great learning points for us as communicators and salespeople.