Watch, listen and learn from the commander-in-chief.
Aside talking about politics, President Barack Obama is my mentor, an orator, I strongly have a believe on him, he is one of the best spokesmen I’ve ever watched. In the past seven years, I’ve observed The One’s shrewd, calculated responses and brilliant deflection of negative questions. He also has the ability to strike just the right tone whether discussing gun control or Vladimir Putin.
The following are what I believe to be the top six takeaways from Obama and the media.
1.) Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.Study Obama’s expressions and nonverbal behavior in past interviews. You’ll never see him betray his real feelings by raising his eyebrows, openly yawning or folding his arms in a defensive manner. Study your own nonverbals by having an associate (or PR expert) tape and replay your performance. I guarantee you’ll find room for improvement.
2.) Command the facts.Whether they were right or wrong, Obama is always able to parry a negative reporter’s questions and then counter them with key points of his own. Make sure you have your three key messages set before any interview.
3.) Never let your guard down.In the rare instances when conversations with the media turn civil, Obama is able to replace his game face with a grinning smile and hale thee well bonhomie. In doing so, however, he never leaves himself vulnerable to saying something he’d later regret. So keep your guard up at all times.
4.) Admit fault and display vulnerability when needed.When he’s pinned against the wall by reporters with factual points about his setbacks or stalemates, Obama will agree with the assessment and, indeed, display vulnerability by doing so. Never be afraid to admit you’re wrong and show some humility in doing so.
5.) Be bold and confident.When asked by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes if the Constitution did allow him to run for a third term, and he did so, would he win, Obama didn’t hesitate in his response: “I would.” Leaders need to have the courage of their convictions.
6.) Be flexibileWith a little over a year to go in his presidency, Obama has been asked on many occasions if he’ll be sad to leave. “It’s been bittersweet,” he’s told reporters, adding that while there are many accomplishments he’s proud of, he’s also been disappointed by what he couldn’t do or undo. No leader is perfect, and CEOs need to be fully transparent when they succeed or fail.