8 Techniques the Best Speakers Used During the 2016 Political Conventions

American Democrat Donkey And Republican Elephant SymbolI’ve heard some excellent speeches at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year. Some that literally took my breath away.

Yes, professional speech writers helped carefully craft their message and the compelling narrative.

But while the substance, or the content, of the speech matters, the delivery – how the person looks and sounds – matters more.

Whether you’re on the podium, center stage speaking to millions, or presenting in a small conference room, the best speakers engage and influence.

To engage and influence means going beyond substance, content or what is said. It means coming across as likable, confident and steady.

If you watch and listen to two of the best speakers at the 2016 Democratic and Republican conventions, you’ll see they have mastered their delivery – how they look and sound. Both hit every one of the points below.

Fail-Proof Oratory Techniques  

  • Don’t be afraid to pause. Give space for the audience to process your words.
  • Slow down. Speak much more slowly than an every-day conversation.
  • Add vocal variety. Every so often, moderately increase and decrease volume, and/or slightly increase and decrease the pace to emphasize certain points.
  • Get personal. Use stories and examples to humanize the message.
  • Be direct and concise. Eliminate the fluff.
  • Throw in a few smiles. Pleasant, engaging facial expressions make people want to listen.
  • Look at the audience. Don’t read the teleprompter or stare down at notes.
  • Be yourself. Show the audience your personality, emotions and humanness. 
  • Practice. Practice – record yourself on video – watch the video – make adjustments – repeat.

What else did you see the speakers do that was particularly effective?

We all have the ability to make an impact on an audience. You don’t need a professional speech writer or be a political big-wig to deliver a knock-out speech. 

Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults and has more than 20 years of experience coaching and teaching presentation skills to executives, entrepreneurs and students. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.