The Dandelion Group
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Technique of the week

Speaking like Elizabeth Warren

Who will be the next president of the United States? Elizabeth Warren has successfully performed in TV debates and gained ground. Regardless of whether she will be the Democrats’ frontrunner, you can learn a lot from her strategy and speeches.

Substance

Warren knows how to get off to a good start. When she announced her 2020 presidential bid in February 2019, she did not choose the Senate in Washington but a historic site in her home state Massachusetts. She spoke from the steps of Everett Mills, where women textile workers had started America’s biggest labour movement around 100 hundred years ago. Warren’s team had found the thread of the campaign.

Fixing the economy and fighting social inequality are not the biggest concerns of Democratic voters. In order to cover the entire spectrum, Warren included remarks on the other issues as well: Trump, healthcare, global warming and immigration. Since February, she has been presenting plans with specific solutions, which has put pressure on her contenders and led to a surge in the polls.

Structure

Cicero would have kept her in after school. Warren’s speeches have a clear beginning (i.e. thanking specific people), end with call to action but would benefit from a better logical flow. If you find it easy to listen to her, it is because the former Harvard professor uses a language that a 9th-grader could understand and 40% of her words have no more than three letters. To assess the readability of your text, go to https://wordcounttools.com.

Style

27 Democrats had thrown their hat in the ring. Eight recently threw in the towel, yet Warren still has to set herself apart from 14 men and four women. She has not only plans but also a planned-out style.

Women are unfortunately judged more than men by their clothes. Warren does not vary too much. She combines simple black trousers with a black top and a designer jacket, whose colour usually differs from the others on the stage to stand out. You will not see her wear exquisite outfits or shining accessories because it would contradict her campaign for workers’ rights. On pictures, you may spot stud earrings and the wedding ring but almost never a necklace or watch. First impressions matter.

5 lessons for public speakers

  1. Present at a place or a day that you can link to the audience’s major concerns.

  2. Do not only address your base; aim at the group’s who are on the fence.

  3. Look slightly better than your audience and be careful with neutral colours. Your attire is an opportunity to leave a great first impression.

  4. Use plain language and short words.

  5. Always conclude with a call to action, even if you are just inviting people to go to your website.

Learn the techniques. Boost your confidence. Make your point.
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Ben Wilhelm