Obama speaking

Who’s a Great Public Speaker? Barack Obama, that’s Who!

By Doug Weller

Whenever anyone asks me “Who is a great public speaker?”, I always give the same response…Barack Obama. Obama speaking cropped

Obama is amazing; his public speaking and media skills blow me away.

His presentations are brilliant. Always articulate, always engaging and always to the point.

Barack Obama speaking about Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions demonstrates his skills.

His answers about Trump were short and sharp, clear and to the point. His language was easily understood. He paused in between messages allowing the audience to process what he said. Instead of speaking too fast, he allowed his messages to resonate.

A lot of people make basic mistakes when delivering presentations.

They rush through it talking too fast, but not Obama.

They deliver jargon and acronyms that hardly anyone can understand… but again, not Obama.

Barack Obama masterfully delivers clear, understandable messages.

Sometimes, the President will speak ‘off the cuff’ but other times he reads from a teleprompter/autocue, as he did in his Selma Bridge Speech.

No matter whether he is ad libbing or using a prompt, he always looks and sounds credible, genuine and understandable.

A really good way to learn a skill is to study others doing it well. Watch the clips included in the links above, and any other Obama speeches you can find.

Speakers like Barack Obama don’t come along every day – he’s brilliant.

Further Resources

Barack Obama: A Master Class in Public Speaking

Obama speaking

Tan Suit Gets In Way Of What Obama Has To Say

By Corporate Media Services

Obama’s ‘suitgate’ scandal rocked the world! Well, it got a good run in the media anyway.obama tan suit

In a shocking back flip on his policy of only wearing navy, grey and black suits, President Obama had the nerve to wear a tan suit…the cheek of him.

Some people were horrified, a social media storm erupted and his media messages paled beyond a shade of beige as they were lost in the controversy over his outfit.

Reasons for the outrage over Obama’s tan suit varied.

Timing was a key factor as its casualness was considered inappropriate for delivering serious, hard hitting foreign policy messages.

Some thought it was too informal and disrespectful to victims of recent serious incidents and terror related atrocities.

It generated a gender equality debate about the fashion criticism of women  compared with men in the media.

Obama’s famous election rally cry “Yes We Can” morphed into “Yes We Tan”.

Then comedians got in on the act.

Bad day for tan suit

obama seinfeld suit

In all of the noise about the tan suit Obama’s important messages were overshadowed.

Huffpost tan suit tweet

Obama is a top class media performer. He delivers his messages like a pro and whether in a suit or an open neck shirt, he usually looks sharp.

You wouldn’t think a change of suit colour would be a big deal. It’s just a different colour.

When you’re high profile the reaction to what you wear can be a very big deal. Just ask Former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who copped endless criticism for her outfit choices.

You’re entitled to wear what you want during media interviews but if you present in a different or unusual way there may be a major reaction that eclipses your message.

Media audiences have expectations and get used to you looking a certain way. It becomes part of your personal brand.

Think carefully before you make major changes, especially prior to making major announcements.

You don’t want attention taken away from your messages because of a new look.

As superficial as it seems, it needs to be taken into account.

It says a lot about how ridiculous we’ve become about presentation but it’s something you need to be conscious of if you want your media messages to hit the mark.

Information Only

Any information presented on our website is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Further Assistance

If you want to know more about engaging with the media, contact Corporate Media Services for more information about our media training programs and services. Make an email enquiry now… or call 1300 737 913

Doug Weller

Helping Journalists Get It Right

Doug ABC Helicopter 300x200px
By Doug Weller

When I began my media career in the mid 70’s as a cub reporter in Brisbane, the world of journalism seemed very scary.

Fronting up to the news room each morning to be given a complicated story to follow was a terrifying prospect.

Sometimes as a young reporter I started writing a news story without fully understanding the details of the issue.

The enormous pressure to meet the deadline was the main driving force.

As journalists mature into the job they quickly learn how to get their heads around complex information.

However, understanding the precise details of various topics can be challenging even for experienced journalists.

Later in my career I attended a media conference at a major Melbourne hospital. About 15 minutes into the media conference I leaned across to a colleague from another network and said, “Do you understand what these people are saying?” She looked at me and replied, “No, I can’t work it out.”

Many people make the mistake of believing the journalist understands their issue as much as they do.

Reporters, especially those new to the job, often need issues explained in detail so they can produce an item that their audience can understand.

The more a journalist understands your issue or news item, the more chance they have of getting it right.

Journalists do make mistakes when compiling news items. You can help reduce those mistakes by giving them clear background information and explaining the ins and outs of the story.

You may understand the history of a particular issue – the journalist often doesn’t.

A journalist with limited knowledge of an issue and under pressure to produce a news item to a precise deadline, can be a bad combination.

In my experience most journalists are doing a tough job in a tough environment and are trying to get the story right.

Allocating time to educate a journalist about your issues will help the entire communication process.

Informing and educating a journalist about an issue:

  • Clearly explain the history of the issue and where it currently stands – This is called a ‘backgrounder’
  • A ‘backgrounder’ can be done verbally – backed up by any relevant documentation, statistics and visual information
  • Refer journalists to resources such as web pages and social media sites

 Information Only

Any information presented on our website is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Further Assistance

If you want to know more about engaging with the media, contact Corporate Media Services for more information about our media training programs and services. Make an email enquiry now… or call 1300 737 913

Ricy Muir Interview enlarged

Ricky Muir – A Deer in the Headlights

Ricy Muir Interview enlarged
By Doug Weller – Corporate Media Services

Some people like doing media interviews. They are confident, love the limelight and are naturally good at it – but most are not.

The majority of people struggle with nerves and anxiety at the thought of being on TV, with cameras in their face, answering questions.

The problem is fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of stuffing up. Fear of looking like an idiot in front of thousands, or potentially millions of people.

Most people can easily give you an opinion on anything. However, shove a microphone under their nose and even the most competent and accomplished speaker can go to water.

Many media spokespeople loathe conducting a media interview. I’ve met some who become physically ill at the thought of doing one.

Like anything, the more you practise, the better you get. So when it comes to improving your public speaking and media confidence, start small and gradually build up.

The Ricky Muir and Mike Willesee Interview

The Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir had managed to avoid media contact for months after being elected to the senate.

Mr Muir remained elusive as requests for media interviews were referred to others.

Unfortunately when media shy Ricky Muir finally fronted, he leapt straight into a national TV interview with Australian journalist, Mike Willesee. Click here to view interview

Watching that interview, it’s fair to say he is not an accomplished public speaker.

He stumbled over his words, struggled to answer questions, asked to take breaks and was clearly rattled by the entire process.

There were at least 2 cameras, one facing him and one behind him, TV lights all around and members of the TV crew to contend with.

This is a hot, uncomfortable and distracting environment. For some it can be claustrophobic. Wearing a suit jacket in that environment, as he was, can make it worse.

It looked like Ricky Muir was having what I have seen thousands of times in media training sessions, mind blanks.

He seemed so uncomfortable and nervous, the words just wouldn’t come out.

Why on earth Ricky Muir or his advisors would choose his media interview debut to be on TV with Mike Willisee, one of Australia’s most experienced journalist’s and commentators, is absolutely bewildering.

Mike Willesee has been critiscised for the way he conducted the interview but this is rubbish. He asked totally acceptable questions in a non aggressive way.

Building Media Experience

The way to deal with inexperienced media performers is to ease them into the media interview process.

Perhaps start with some low level newspaper interviews and then move to radio interviews over the phone. The more interviews you conduct, the more comfortable you feel.

Television interviews like the one Ricky Muir was subjected to are tough for even the most experienced media spokesperson.

The last thing you should do without any media experience is sit in front of a TV camera and answer difficult questions.

I would never suggest anybody with limited media skills front up to something like that.

You work your way up to TV interviews, you certainly don’t start with them.

Remember:

  • Some people are natural media performers, most are not.
  • Never go into a media interview unless you are feeling confident and empowered.
  • Don’t do media interviews until you’re completely prepared and know what you want to gain from the process.

Further Information

Mike Willesee responds to criticism over Ricky Muir Interview

Information Only

Any information presented on our website is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Further Assistance

If you would like further information about dealing with the media contact Corporate Media Services for more information or training.

Make an email enquiry now… or call 1300 737 913

media training

Another Sensational Performance By Hillary Clinton

This is how we need to answer questions. Too long for most media but really credible and powerful.

Posted by Doug Weller

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