WORDS

A lot was made of President Trump’s inauguration speech yesterday. It was a big speech with a lot of promises, summed up most succinctly by USA today who called it “short, dark and defiant“.

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I did 18 hours of analysis on Trump’s Inauguration speech yesterday (and posted some of the findings here), but what struck me most was the responsibility that many are putting on Trump’s shoulders, due to the strong words he uses in his speeches.

The thing is, the presidency (by design) is not actually that powerful, practically speaking anyway. The President can’t propose their own laws for example or make up their own budget, they have to lead by persuading other people to get things done using the power of their words.

Trump may not be the most eloquent speaker to ever grace the office of the President, but he certainly understands the power of rhetoric and the impact that his BIG words (very BIG, the BIGGEST), small words and short sentences. Speaking in a language that the average person from most states can relate to and understand, helped him to become president, despite losing the overall popular vote.

I have a favorite quote from the leadership coach John C. Maxwell. It’s written on the front page of each one of my notebooks, but listening to Trump’s “short, dark and defiant” speech yesterday, it made me realise how it really is the perfect quote for anyone who ever finds themselves in front of an audience,

“In the end, people are persuaded not by what you said, but by what they understand”.

Never a truer word spoken. Strong speakers don’t always need to use clever rhetoric and complex speech structures. Trump’s speech had hardly any structure whatsoever, it was an address delivered by his “gut” instinct. Previous Presidents studied all the speeches of those who came before them, Trump chose to take a different path. Not the path I would have taken. But a path less traveled all the same.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference“. Robert Frost

Whether Trump’s term(s) in office turn out to make “all the difference” and deliver on the promises that he laid out on his campaign trail remains to be seen, but it will be entertaining to watch ~ and to see whether the power of his words manages to unite those around him to get all the things done that he wants to get done.

  • I’m watching a great little documentary today Words of Art, well worth checking out if this kind of stuff is your thing…

Evangelist @IBM • IBM Watson • Travel Around Talking about AI, Big Data and the Future of Marketing • Lover of Old Business Books and Good Bourbon • Based in London, UK.

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