Love him or hate him, and I admit I never voted for him, Tony Blair is a great public speaker.
Last Friday, Tony Blair attended the British Iraq Inquiry and as usual the media were hoping for, if not praying for, a huge blunder from Mr Blair, and as usual Mr Blair was composed, eloquent and firm in what he was saying and in the way he answered the questions. (and I am sure many people will disagree with me, but I am only looking at this from a speaking performance not a political point one)
Tony Blair trained as a lawyer (a barrister to be precise) and as a barrister, he will have trained in public speaking. However, in was not that training that gave him his speaking brilliance. Tony Blair’s speaking excellence comes from his dedication to preparation and being fully aware and knowledgeable of his subject.
When he speaks there is an air of confidence about him. He knows how not to answer a question (a very useful skill for a politician) and he knows exactly which words and sentences to stress. He never looks uncomfortable when speaking and he animates his words by strong hand and arm movement.
No matter what Tony Blair is talking about, he always comes across as knowledgable, passionate and confident, and as a presenter in the twenty-first century that is what you must come across as.
Too often when I see people presenting here in Korea they stand at the front of the room looking like mannequins and not moving at all. No head movement, no hand movement or even eye movement (they are usually fixing their eyes upon their printed out script) and there is no feeling at all coming from the speaker. No passion, no stress and certainly nothing interesting coming from their mouths.
As a presenter, you no longer can afford to present in this style. You need to follow the example set by Tony Blair and focus on stressing the important words, using pause to get get people listening intently and creating movement in your words through hand and arm gestures.
It is not difficult, but it takes practice and knowledge of your subject. Through practice and knowledge comes confidence and quite often presentations fail because the presenter has not prepared well enough and therefore has little or no confidence.
Take a look at this short clip of Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry and decide for yourself just how good this guy really is.