Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to Speak like JFK

Watching a skillful orator speak is intoxicating, you feel like you are walking on a cloud. JFK is one leader that could move an audience with his message.

We can study JFK's style and learn from him. I offer my thoughts on 3 things you can learn from JFK's style.

Use Repetition

Notice the use of repetiton to engage the audience. "We choose to go to the moon.(pause). We choose to go the moon.(long pause). We choose to go the moon..." There is something special about repetition of 3's. Also JFK used the power of the pause. See the impact of the well planned pauses in the clip.

Watch Your Timing

During the 3rd "We choose to go the moon....", the crowd erupted in applause. JFK - like a pro - didn't try to talk over the applause, he paused for a moment then finished his sentence. He exhibited good timing. It would have been less effective had he waited till the applause had totally faded away.

Add Vocal Variety

If you take a listen to the clip, you'll hear JFK's engaging voice. He spoke loud to raise a point. He placed emphasis on various words to add impact to their meaning. Going back to the first lesson on repetition, vocal variety keeps the audience engaged.


In your next presentation, remember to use the power of repetition (in 3's); and watch your timing, and add vocal variety to your style of presenting.


Kaplan Mobray, Author 10Ks of Personal Branding said...

Ron, great choice of clips to showcase the power of the pause. Through his speaking JFK creates influence and impact. In addition to the pause and repetition of 3s he also did a great job looking into the view of the audience from the left, right and center. Great public speakers use their eyes as a periscope to find zones within the left, center, and right of the audience where they can deposit content. This allows 40,000 people to still feel a connection to the content and that he is looking at "me".

Ron Bland said...

Kaplan -- thanks for stopping by. You bring up some good points --eye contact does create a connection.

Reid said...

Another thing. JFK spoke with a distinguished Bostonian accent. In order to really speak like him, one would have to acquire that accent, which is not necessarily simple.