In the past, it was said that Ronald Reagan was the “Great Communicator.” But after listening to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech as the Republican nominee, Reagan pales in comparison. Reagan with his breathy tone, wasn’t always easy to follow as he often used a repetitive cadence, whereby much of what he said sounded the same. The communication skills that Donald Trump showed brought realness and genuine connection to whole new level in my view.
In his acceptance speech, Trump showed us all sides of him- sides that we never saw in the past. He came across as genuine, real, compassionate and passionate as well ,as very angry and passionate about what he perceived as going on in this country.He also gave a plan and solutions and was upfront and direct in his delivery, which made him sound very credible.
When a lot of politicians give case histories of people they meet on the political trail and give you the person’s tragic story, too often it seems mechanical, rote, and insincere. When Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz shared these stories in the past, they sounded contrived and disconnected. But when Trump spoke of the straight A student who was killed by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record, he was clealry moved and it was heartfelt.You sould not only hear it in his voice, you could see it in his facial expression and body language.
WhenT rump first entered the stage, you could see that he was moved by daughter Ivanka’s speech and rightfully so. When he spoke of his children and how he felt about them as well as his siblings, you could feel how much he loved them, as his entire demeanor changed in terms of his facial expression and body language. There was a softness and tenderness about him.
But when he spoke of the issues and what he planned to do to solve the nation’s problems, there was a genuineness to what he was saying. There was no phoniness or “doubletalk” which we have heard in the past with so many politicians. Instead, he was straight forward and relayed exactly what he would do in plain and simple terms.
One of the reasons so many have embraced Trump is that he speaks in a way, so the masses can understand. He speaks in short phrases and often repeats words in that phrase to make a point. It is highly effective in terms of other’s understanding his message. In his acceptance speech, he spoke from the gut as his words matched his emotions, which matched his body language. When he repeats the words and phrases he does it in a softer tone, so one feels as though he is speaking to you directly.Repetition also causes the listener to process the information better and to remember and in the long term, remember what he said.
Body language wise,he regularly showed the palms of his hands, unlike so many of the other candidates and nominees.When one speaks with their hands and shows the palms of their hands, as opposed to the back of their hands it reflects that they are being genuine in their message and honest.
While we saw a lot of Trump anger during the debates and his fighting back at his opponent’s tooth and nail,we did not see any of that personal anger we saw during the campaign. Instead, we saw anger he expressed concerning issues he is passionate about- police shootings and Hillary’s not being held accountable for having a private server, poor negotiation deals with various foreign countries, government financial waste, the debt, coal miners not having jobs, and inner city children having the education system fail them, to name a few examples.
Because it was more focused and he took the time to explain the issues in greater detail and in a slow precise manner, everything that angered him seemed justified as reflected by the audience at the convention. As you can see in the photo above, his body language revealed his upset through his jaw movement, which jutted forth. Another indication of his anger was the finger pointing, which he did often throughout his speech when discussing an issue. The finger pointing let us know how angry he was regarding the particular issue and that he would make sure that it was stopped if he was President.
Perhaps the most telling facial expression and body language he made during his speech was the one seen above. It is a sheepish look and his admitting that since he personally knew how the system worked as he worked the system. So who better to fix the system than him. In sharing this, it showed he was being open, genuine and had nothing to hide.
He also showed humility- something we had never seen before in the campaign. When he spoke of the evangelicals,he softly said he didn’t think that he deserved their support.
When he spoke of solutions the problems he used his entire body and facial expression to be emphatic about what he was saying. He pointed and raised his head up and opened his jaw even more as he slowly said in a staccato manner, his plans for action.
There was so many times during his speech that he looked Presidential as his shoulders were squared and his head was up. It was as though he was now wearing his new mantle and owning it, as the Republican Presidential nominee.
He also showed that he was the consummate motivator as many came away from his speech feeling more passionate, more energized, and more angry at the injustices he clearly explained. That often resulted in the audience breaking out in chants, many of which he lead. His final statement resonated with the audience as you could hear a roar after he said that Hillary’s slogan is “I’m With Her.” while his slogan is ” I’m With You- the American People-I am your voice.”
Once again, this is not a political blog and I am not indicating my support of one candidate over another. As a body language and communication expert, my aim is to remain objective and report what observe and what I hear.