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Speaking Lessons From The Melania Trump Controversy

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Liz GoodgoldGuest Post by Liz Goodgold. Liz is a branding author, business and speaking coach. Liz runs Red Fire Branding. You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn or Twitter.


We all knew we’d be discussing Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention, but none of us knew that the conversation would not be on her message, but how many phrases she stole verbatim from Michelle Obama’s speech 8 years ago.

So, let’s use her speech as a learning moment, shall we?

The 6 Commandments Of Speaking:

  1. Thou Shalt Not Steal – Every speaker at some point hears a story or phrase that they adore; but you cannot steal it – ever! Your words are your words and to paraphrase the current first lady: your words are your bond.#bio is for your eyes, verbal intro is for your ears
  2. Move Away From the Lectern – Although unusual at conventions, it would have been nice and natural for her to use the space instead of cementing herself behind the lectern.
  3. Thou Shall Be Introduced – It’s easy to overlook this key principle of speaking. You must have a verbal introduction. And, The Donald introducing his wife was perfect. Remember: a bio is for your eyes, an intro is for your ears.
  4. Thou Shalt Make a Personal Connection – We all need to get a glimpse into the speaker’s life – even if it is far, far away from ours (LOL!). From talking about her sister to her parents, Melania let us into a sliver of her life.
  5. Behold the Power of Color – Melania has an affinity with white. (I, of course, still can’t wear that color for more than 7 minutes without getting schmutz on it!) Wearing white for this speech was powerful; it denoted a new beginning, freshness, and a sense of completion of her husband’s long, journey to the convention.
  6. Thou Shalt Turn Lemons into Lemonade – The hopeful first lady recognized that many listeners might be concerned that she isn’t an American citizen; her dealing with it outright squelched those thoughts. Lesson: address what everyone is thinking.

Address early in a #speech what everyone is thinking.



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