How I channeled Obama before a major media interview

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

In October this year, for Nine Network Australia, I gave body language and speech analysis of the third Donald Trump v Hillary Clinton, U.S. presidential debate.Listen and Learn paper note on a cork notice board

Let me elaborate on my preparation, for a live to air interview, with presenter Karl Stefanovic.

For the past number of months my improvement goals for my radio and television media interviews, were to:

  1. Answer the question asked (versus jumping ahead to another comment related to the question)
  2. Take more time when speaking
  3. Speak in grammatical sentences
  4. Relax my face (versus having a ‘hard’ face)

On the morning prior to my interview with Stefanovic – and particularly regarding points 2 & 3 above – I listened repeatedly to a seven minute audio recording of Barack Obama. Here’s why.

I reasoned, that by listening to Obama, I could improve my delivery by channeling his expert level, delivery cadence and rhythm.

I listened to the clip six times as I did other tasks at my office. Then, I spoke sample ideas, that I might share in the interview. Surprisingly as I spoke,

I sensed that I was speaking like Obama

– as if his delivery methodology was controlling my delivery.

While I still need improvement in my on-air delivery, doing the repetitive listening exercise, improved my performance.

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Below is a description of an Expert Modelling Process that my executive clients undertake, using Obama* as the expert. I urge you to take the time to go through the process, and then reflect on doing so.

From doing the Process my clients report a definite upgrade in their speaking delivery.

Expert Modelling Process


To produce a high level speaking performance that approximates the performance level of an expert speaker, while putting your individual ‘stamp’ on the performance.


By being able to approximate the level of an expert speaker, you’ll upgrade your existing speaking skill. You’ll also have new ‘phrasing repertoires’, cadence examples, etc to embed into your speaking.

Equipment needed

Access to the web

A camera to video record your speaking

A device to watch your performances


1. Watch the opening of Barack Obama’s Grant Park 2008 speech (from ‘Hello Chicago’ at the 55 second mark . . . to ‘The United States of America’ at 2:32)

2. Take notes on the speech. Structure those notes into talking points to refer to, for your delivery of the opening.

3. Video record your delivery of the opening, watch the playback and compare your presentation with Obama’s.

4. Refine your words, cadence, voice, and body language, and then repeat step 3 until your performance approximates the level of Obama’s performance.

(*If you don’t feel Obama is a good speaking expert, choose a short clip of another luminary speaker)


Check out this post on how projecting defensiveness in a pressured environment provokes ‘attack’.

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