Book REview: Say It Like Obama… by Shel Leanne (part 2)

Earning trust and confidence…

This is 2nd episode of my book’s review, Say It like Obama.

“If you aspire to be a highly effective leader, people must trust your judgement and ethics and have confidence in your leadership abilities, believing that you are worthy of authority. In the absence of trust and confidence, nothing else follows.”

Obama has drawn on his trust and confidence to capture key oportunities and expand his influence. Key communication practices have aided obama in his quest. Using communication as a tool for gaining support, obama has displayed great personal charisma.

Charisma of a Leader

Most people say they know charisma when they see it- that certain fire in the eyes, passion, and command. The words often invoked to describe Obama- magnetic, elctrifying, energizing, and inspiring – speak his charisma as a leader. Obama has a presentation and style that enable him to earn the confidence of listeners, inspire them, and move them to action. He conveys charisma through many nonverbal attributes – the bright, broad smile; the confident sparkle in the eyes; his resonate voice; and body movements suggesting authority. Barac Obama has developed a formidable ability to establish a great first impression.

Creating Strong first impression

A first impression is a critical defining moment. The instant one person first moves into presence of another, an opinion is formed. Even before you utter any words, you open dialogue and have spoken volumes through image and body language.

Barack Obama is adept at establishing strong first impressions. The purposeful walk. The visual contact he makes with audiences early on, stretching his arm to them in a confident wave, narrowing the physical distance between himself and the audience. Good eye contact also been valuable to Obama. As Obama talks, he look to one side of the room, sometimes with a slight nod of acknowledgement in that direction, and the to the other side. Audience perceive this as respectful- the behavior of a person welcoming them. They also interpret the actions as trustworthy- the behavior of a person willing to look them in eyes. Those good first impression last.

Outstanding communicators take care the use of image and body language in ways that wield a highly positive impact.

Leveraging Second Impression

Another importantmeans of earning trust and confidence can be seen through effective use of voice and intonation. Both are important tools for increasing effectiveness of communication.


One dimension of voice that creates an immediate impression is the quality of the voice- its natural pitch and resonance. Obama has pleasing sounds to the ears and is very very athoritative. For most speakers, natural tone quality can be improved and enhanced with practice and voice techniques. There are multiple dimensions of the verbal communication beyond the words actually  spoken. The tools of the skillful speaker include vulume, voice texture, pitch, pace, and inflection.


The power of amplifying voice at key moments. Obama use volume to increase excitement as auduence rallies to his opinions. He knows how to stress important words at the right times, giving them emphatic feel. Barack Obama uses volume to enhance the efficacy of his delivery.

Pacing an Pregnant Pauses.

Obama’s outstanding use of pacing also greatly  enhances the effectiveness of his communication. With well-choosen pacing, he slows when enunciating importants ideas he wants to settle into psyches of the listeners.  Obama is also adept a leveraging silence and employing pregnant pauses. With pregnant pauses, obama focuses attention on his most important themes, making his remarks more notable.

Pitch and Emotional Texture

Obama skillfully employs his delivery techniques. He has made an art of varying his volume and vocal color. The range of inflection he uses- changes in the pitch of his voice- is also one of his strength.  Taken together, voice and intonation – emphasizing words at the right time, quickening or slowing the cadence, varying the tonal color, varying rhythim of words- can result superior communication power.

Using Effective Gestures

Obama’s power as orator helps illustrate that gestures can improve the impact of communication in multiple ways. For one, when used well, gesture create an impression that a speaker is at ease and relating well with the audience. The use of gestures can also create the sense that the speaker is deeply investe in a topic and earnest in their desire to get others to see the points. Additionally, effective gestures make speech more lively, engaging and memorable. The precision of certain gestures enhances the descriptive content of oration and underscores key ideas, increasing the potency of spoken words.

Maximizing Props

The role of props in creating impression should not be overlooked. Strong communicators remember the importance of props and staging in sending sub-messages that reinforce key themes.additionally, exceptional communicators take oportunities to convey their strong ethics, deepening a basis for trust and confidence that can bring benefits well into the future.

To be continued ….


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