Today marks the opening of one of the most anticipated 3D movies of the year, The Clash of the Titans. The story line is self-explanatory.
In New Jersey right now, there is a claash of the titans occurring live each and every day, pitting Governor Chris Christie against one of the most powerful unions in the state, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). For background, please check out articles covering all sides of this debate here, here and here.
So what does any of this have to do with public speaking and messaging?
The message that resonates with the public will determine the winner of this debate. The most effective message delivery will be a significant, if not the deciding, factor as to what message breaks through.
The Governor is a very effective communicator, as you will see by watching the video below:
What makes this speech effective?
1. Repetition – The Governor’s consistent utilization of repetition of his key messages, including that it is “not about the kids” is very memorable, very clear and therefore very effective.
2. Storytelling - Drama/Suspense – Watch the moments leading up to the 4:49 mark; the story building up to the key phrase, which in this case was a contraction – “they’re”; there is a misconception that a story needs to be a long, drawn out exercise – the reality is that a story can be told in a few short sentences, as the Governor shows.
3. Vocal Variety – He very clearly tells a story with his voice throughout, utilizing changes in volume, pitch or tone.
4. Pausing – Effective throughout – there is never any question when you are being cued to listen to a key point – the pause always precedes it.
5. Body Language – Expressive, to say the least. This helps to make this speech much more conversational (and can be used effectively by anyone reading this).
6. Key Phrases – “Language Matters”; “They”; “It’s about the kids”; ”Language is a window into attitude”; there were countless takeaways planted throughout, very effective and something that everyone can utilize when speaking
7. Passion – Agree or disagree, it is impossible to watch this and question the Governor’s passion with regard to this issue.
Ways to make this speech more effective:
1. Shorten it – The shorter the presentation, the more impact it has. Always.
2. Avoid pointing – pointing, while being used to “make a point” tends to send mixed messages to an audience.
The lines have been drawn, and the fight is far from over, and messaging will determine the winner.
If this were a prizefight, the Governor, through messaging and public speaking, has won the early rounds.