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Michelle Obama And Ivanka Trump Show You Two Ways To Give A Knockout Speech

Source | FastCompany : By ANETT GRANT

There are many ways to be a bad speaker and many ways to be a good one. Those twinned truths have been on display during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this week and last. And while their backgrounds and politics differ quite a bit, Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump delivered two of the most memorable and compelling addresses—for similar but different reasons.

Trump’s approach could be summed up as intense, but it wasn’t over the top. She sounded focused. You could call it a “drumbeat” style. The First Lady was no less impactful, but she made a more emotional appeal—her style was more “cinematic.” Here’s a look at how and why both of those approaches worked so well—and how to use them yourself.


Ivanka Trump repeatedly punctuated her speech with sharp, punchy headlines. The theme was clear and easy to sum up: “My father is a fighter.”

At about 2:10 in the video above, she was already using rhythm to underscore this headline, saying:

I have seen him fight for his family. I have seen him fight for his employees. I have seen him fight for his company. And now, I am seeing him fight for our country.

In fact, she used some version of the word “fight” 12 times in her speech—repeating it strategically in order to build intensity. But occasionally, Ivanka slipped into a more subtle, offbeat rhythm. Take a look at the 5:40 mark, where she says, “Competence in the building trades is easy to spot, and incompetence is impossible to hide.”

Listen to how that sounds, and compare it with the more intensified drumbeat of the “fight” lines earlier. Her beat here is more subtle, but this rhythmic dimension to her speech hasn’t changed—she’s just adjusted the tempo.

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