Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton gave a major address on crime to the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University. The speech is generating a lot of attention, most of it highly positive.
As much as technology has changed communication for people in public life, some things remain the same. If you are a politician and you really want to get the public and the media to focus on a set of new ideas you have, nothing is better than giving a serious and lengthy speech in front of a significant audience.
A speech is still better than a press conference, a media interview, a tweet, a YouTube video and a blog post. A speech is easier and faster than writing a whole book on a subject.
And a speech sends a message to the public and the media that says: “Hey, I think this is important. I put a lot of thought into this. I want you to pay attention to this. I want you to pull lots of quotes directly from this speech. This speech reflects not only my current thinking on a subject but the thinking of my advisers and people I respect therefore this is the sort of stuff I will do once in office.”
That’s the power of a speech. So no matter how many Twitters or Instagrams or Foursquare’s are invented in the future, I don’t believe a formal prepared speech in front of a significant audience will ever go out of style as a communication tool for politicians.
And that is why smart politicians learn how to be excellent public speakers.
TJ Walker is a public speaking coach. You can reach him at 212.764.4955 or MediaTrainingworldwide.com.