3 Tips You Can Learn from Michelle O at the O2

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Michelle Obama was on my home turf recently in London promoting her book, Becoming,  at the massive O2 Arena. 

OMG, she was everything I thought she’d be as a speaker; relaxed, charismatic, funny, wow, such a down to earth sense of humour, ‘normal’, not perfect, not too skinny (phew).  What a woman.  And what an inspiration.

And the best thing?  I’d love to share some of Michelle’s ‘Obama-style’ tricks and strategies with you when it comes to winning over audiences and figuring out your ‘personal brand’.

Sitting there with 15000 fans doing spontaneous Mexican waves, cheering, whooping and clapping was a fantastic experience. The crowd was totally mixed…lots of mothers and daughters, couples, teenagers and families of all ages and backgrounds.  I love that about London, I’m a proud Londoner, that’s why I’ve never left.  

So how did Michelle win London over?  

And How can YOU take her strategies and tips to help you win your audiences over?

Here are my top 3 Michelle – O speaking tips

1 – Be NORMAL.  Oh yes, she talked about her book ‘Becoming’ which is about “A regular little girl who grew up in Chicago”.  So, Michelle’s entire strategy and ‘brand’ had to reflect this message – I AM NORMAL.  

Big tip – be interviewed! Rather than painstakingly learn an entire speech, Michelle chose to put on a show in front of 15000 people by inviting Top US TV chat show host Stephen Colbert to interview her.

The ‘intimate’ interview style (Yes it does seem funny to call it intimate at the O2 arena in front of 15000 people) is a genius strategy. It helps show that you’re normal.

The big tip here is, when you have someone to introduce you, to big you up in a meeting or to ask you the RIGHT questions in a presentation scenario, it’s soooooo much more relaxed and less ‘formal’ to make it ‘conversational’. It’s also less scary.

How do you translate that into your business speeches and film clips?

For a start, when you make film clips for business, consider being interviewed by someone who will really get the best out of you.  

If you are presenting – create a Q&A environment so you can have a ‘conversation’ rather than a formal one-way presentation.  It’s more likely to engage with the audience and you’ll feel less pressured to be word perfect.

2 – Be Brand-YOU.  Be YOU-ISH – Create your personal brand – from your personality to your hair, clothes & ‘look’. 

Michelle was very honest about creating ‘brand Michelle O’…

‘I realised I had to create ‘Michelle Obama’ rather than let the world’s press create this outspoken, aggressive non- patriotic person I didn’t recognise…. I‘ve been described as a gorilla and a man!’

Michelle shared her strategy about being herself and changing her image, so she’d come across as someone she would recognise.  She did think about her ‘look’ and what she’d say in public.  Her top trump (nothing to do with Donald Trump!), her best asset was her ability to connect with people on a human level.  She LOVES people, she cares about people and she’s a confident woman who can generously reach out to people more than most.

The big tip here…be YOU-ish!

Brand you can be controlled by YOU, warts and all.  That’s what I talk about in my up and coming book ‘Glossophobia – Fear of Public Speaking’.  You have so much to offer, you have oddities and quirks you might think aren’t ‘professional’ or ‘slick’ – whereas, they are the things that create your personal brand.  Read my fun BLOG here about making your oddities your assets! 

3 – Love Your Audience.  Use the Obama Donut technique!  I recognised a very clever trick that Michelle borrowed from her husband Barack Obama. It’s got holes, fillers and sprinkles and it really will help the audience fall in love with you.  Read the full article here in my How to Master the Obama Donut Blog

If you’d like me to help you & your team adopt these magic Obama tips for your speeches & presentations do get in touch.

I’ve been observing leaders, advising execs and producing live BBC shows with BIG personalities for 27 years in broadcasting in business in London’s city. I LOVE helping to elevate people (like you & your senior team) so they feel empowered! I even get to speak at conferences all over the world – I recently spoke at a global business women’s’ leadership summit in Copenhagen which is ‘fantastisk’.

If you’d like to chat about your leaders having more impact and effortless Obama-style charisma, do get in touch for a free chat. Esther@estherstanhope.com

Esther Stanhope