New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: 8 Communication Lessons

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) was just named as the Keynote Speaker at the RNC Convention in a few weeks. One of the reasons for his selection was certainly his ability to utilize vivid language and an animated speaking style to move audiences.

Above is an example of the Governor speaking.

What makes this speech effective?

1. Repetition – The Governor’s consistent utilization of repetition of his key messages (please link to http://www.matteventoff.com/message-development-101.html), including that it is “not about the kids” is very memorable, very clear and therefore very effective.

2. Storytelling – Drama/Suspense – Watch the moments leading up to the 4:49 mark; the story building up to the key phrase, which in this case was a contraction – “they’re”; there is a misconception that a story needs to be a long, drawn out exercise – the reality is that a story can be told in a few short sentences, as the Governor shows.

3. Vocal Variety – He very clearly tells a story with his voice throughout, utilizing changes in volume, inflection, pitch or tone.

4. Pausing – Effective throughout – there is never any question when you are being cued to listen to a key point – the pause always precedes it.

5. Body Language – Expressive, to say the least. This helps to make this speech much more conversational (and can be used effectively by anyone reading this).

6. Memorable Phrases – “Language Matters”; “They”; “It’s about the kids”; ”Language is a window into attitude”; there were countless takeaways planted throughout, the phrases were memorable AND repeatable – a key to gaining traction with a message (and something that everyone can utilize when preparing a speech or talk);

7. Passion – Agree or disagree, it is impossible to watch this and question the Governor’s passion or belief in his message;

8. Rhetorical Devices – Very few elected officials utilize rhetorical devices as effectively as the Governor. Metaphor, alliteration, anaphora, hypophora and the list goes on; The Governor’s use of rhetorical devices gives us an idea why rhetoric was central part of Western education rather than an obscure college class (if you are lucky and the institution of higher education you attend offers it).

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