What Did We Learn From Liberian President Weah’s Speech?
As someone who did Public Speaking for business at the University of Colorado Denver.
After watching his speech over and over and breaking certain things down, here’s my honest takes on President George Weah’s U.N. Speech:
At the UNGA, the President of Liberia was talking to himself. You don’t give a speech without connecting, with your head up and looking at the audience, but your face glued to the paper the entire (address) time. This problem doesn’t just belong to the President alone. But, some, if not most Liberian politicians, don’t know anything about public speaking. Pres. Ellen was the only one that probably took those classes. She was a show-woman and is still using her showmanship to sell herself. The power of learning and constantly improving oneself!
As a public speaker, if I was to rate the speech, it’s 65/100. F! If 65% of the time, your head can’t leave the paper, you are conversing with yourself, not the assembly. World leaders go to the U.N. to sell their ideas. How do you sell your ideas? By connecting. How do you connect with people you don’t know? By taking charge of the room and having eye contact with those you are speaking to. The delivery wasn’t on point due to the President’s nervousness, mispronunciation of certain English words, and connection to the assembly. In Public speaking, those things are expected when people are lying and don’t believe in what they are saying.
My suggestions: In the future, every Liberian that wants to be President of the Republic should take classes on “Business and Public speaking.” It helps you sell your ideas as a leader. One thing that allows for a smooth delivery before your speech that I learned during my college days is to spend enough time making the speech your own. Rehearse it and see it as a script and make it something that’s part of you.
President Barack Obama didn’t just become a good orator by not practicing. To be great at anything, you must learn and make it part of you.
Leaders in Liberia History that were Great Public Speakers:
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
President William R. Tolbert.
Gabriel Bacchus Mathews.