It has been well over a year since this was first published, and there have been numerous requests to re-post it. Jonathan McCoy has great leadership communication intangibles and the lessons we can learn from his presentation are as valid as ever:
Jonathan McCoy is eleven years old. 11 years old! Watch the video again – 11 years old! He is obviously an extremely gifted young man, an excellent speaker, and a future leader.
So what can we learn about public speaking from an eleven year old? If the eleven year old is Jonathan McCoy, the answer is plenty.
1. Message/Power of that Message — It is impossible to miss this young man’s message. From beginning to end he stays on message, there is no confusion, no getting “lost in the weeds” or off message, and no question as to what action he wants his audience to take.
2-3. Presence/Poise – He may be physically small, but he casts a very large shadow. His suit fits him perfectly, his outfit matches, and his tie is a great fit with his suit. If he is nervous (and I am sure that he was) it doesn’t show.
4. Body Language – Jonathan is poised, his posture is strong throughout and he begins to use his hand at the 3 minute mark to accentuate points. Jonathan never slouches and never sways — his small movements are deliberate and strong.
5. Eye Contact — Never wavers and never looks down. Excellent.
6. Articulate – Easy to understand every word he says.
7-9. Tone/Tempo/Vocal Variety – Emphasizes key words and points. His tone changes to fit both his words and his message. His pace is very easy to follow and he pauses appropriately as well.
10-11. Opening/closing – Jonathan simply does not allow anyone to tune him out from the start. “Negro, African American, Mahogany, Ebony, Nubian…” Combined with the factors above, the power is incredible! Eleven years old! The power continues throughout, and his closing, “My name is Jonathan Emile McCoy and I approved this message” was great.
An aside – I would not advise putting a song in your speech unless you are an 11 year old wunderkind who can pull it off — the vast majority of individuals, me included, cannot pull it off.
Great job Jonathan – you are a public speaking/messaging role model for children and adults alike!