As far as public speaking is concerned Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was clear, decisive and delivered with the appropriate pace, passion and even a few pauses. Apart from his signature circling of his finger and thumb which drove most people mad during his election campaign, which we saw again yesterday, he looked like he had stepped straight out of a public speaking course.
In terms of his clarity, volume, vocal variety, emphasis, repetition and facial expressions he certainly delivered his message with impact. Whilst his message was consistent with his entire campaign unfortunately, for the countless millions listening across the world this speech sounded like a vortex of resentment and bravado.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”
There was some good news
His speech, which was carefully wrapped in blame, malice and despair, turned to the promise of a knight in shining armour who on his trusted steed would make all well again.
“We will bring back our jobs.
We will bring back our borders.
We will bring back our wealth.
And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.”
I can’t imagine any country in the world which isn’t longing for the valiant knight to come along and ‘build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways’.
What’s really exciting is that President Trump clearly has a vision and a plan as to how this wonderful new infrastructure and the dreams of a nation will be paid for. Whilst he hasn’t yet of course disclosed where the money will come from exactly he certainly grabbed the attention of the entire world.
After all if a nation as great at the United States is in such a mess as he claims and he can stop the ‘carnage’ right now then people all over the world will be watching and waiting with bated breath to see the results.
Of course, the moment those results that President Trump continues to promise do materialise the world will become a very different place. If he can do everything he promises for America we can be certain that billions of us the world over will be turning to our leaders to do the same.
Despite his compelling vision and promise of hope and the restoration of a nation’s dreams I personally felt there was something missing.
I believe that Donald Trump missed a vitally important opportunity in his inauguration speech to heal the damaging division he has created in the United States and across the world.
Despite its clarity and repetitiveness its content continued to perpetuate hostility and division appealing only to those who supported his campaign from the outset. When you have the ears and eyes of an entire nation on you, half of which you have already alienated, it’s a good time to consider appeasing your dissenters. If that is too much of a challenge then I at least suggest offering a little understanding and humility.
Despite his energy, emphasis and evocative call to make America great again he spent most of his time admonishing his predecessor. Given that he had spent an entire presidential election campaign doing exactly that, it was disappointing that he chose to continue his tone of animosity and division.
If he can of course deliver on all of his promises and the many others he has made he will indeed be America’s knight in shining armour. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that his success would form a powerful template for leaders all over the world.
One of the greatest challenges speakers face in the world of public speaking and presenting is coming across as believable. After all words are of course meaningless without action.
In this case, if those powerful words were to be fulfilled then many of the cynics and disbelievers would quickly fall into line. At this point in time however, it feels a little more like noise than substance but then may be his supporters see, hear and feel something many others can’t.
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