Most research reveals that about 55 percent of the effectiveness of any communication is physiology, 38 percent is a result of the vocal tonality, and only 7 percent is a result of the actual words we use.
Last week I watched with great interest video clips of President Kennedy responding to questions at news conferences. He didn’t use “talking points,” or even prepared remarks.
Supporting the statistics above, simply watch President Kennedy’s physiology. I have never seen any President at such ease in press conferences.
President Clinton is another President that seems like he is a natural. But, I think he also had to work hard to develop his skills.
Many people do not remember that in 1988, the then Governor Bill Clinton gave the nominating speech for Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. It was a disaster.
During his 35-minute nomination speech, he was interrupted by chants asking for Michael Dukakis and less polite suggestions that he stop. When he finally said: “In closing…,” he received a standing ovation.
Clinton’s speech became the laughing stock and the following week he appeared on the Johnny Carson show. Johnny Carson’s introduction of Governor Clinton is hilarious. Listen to Johnny Carson at His Best: Introducing Clinton.
To his great credit, President Clinton learned from this humbling experience. By the time he ran for President he clearly knew how to connect with an audience. Watching him give speeches now, he has gotten even better over time.
As lawyers we can learn a great deal from his approach. If you want to get some ideas, read: Speech Writing Tips: The 14 Speech Writing Secrets of President Bill Clinton. I am confident you will find several of the points helpful for your own business development.