President Zuma – Communication Skills

Content aside – Julius Malema is a better orator than President Jacob Zuma.

For some very awkward reason, I am more excited to hear Malema speak than the President. Malema does not shy away from the use of ‘bogus adjectives’ and what I like to call “54 Sauer Street coined words”. Should we adopt political debates before 2014 elections as seen in Kenya recently, I fear the worst.

The President should practice his speech a bit more before reading them in public and maybe in future incorporate the teleprompter as the US president does.

Visual communication is very important and the President needs to do more in this regard.

Should the President hire me as his brand manager, I would ensure that:

1- His speeches are shorter,
2- His speeches are in highlights and give him the opportunity to explain his points off heart,
3- He engages with every audience uniquely and blend matters/points to suit them,
4- He uses the power of examples,
5- He understands that eye contact is key.

On the matter of eye contact, go back to Barack Obama’s visit and the press conference that ensured at the union buildings. Whilst President Zuma was speaking, notice the body language of President Obama. The American President tilted his body towards President Zuma and maintained eye contact with both President Zuma (the speaker) and the audience. President Zuma did not return this favor.

Another instance – In 2009 at the inauguration ceremony of President Obama at Capitol Hill, shortly after the President took the oath, there was a special performance by an Orchestra seated on a level above and behind President Obama, now because the musical presentation was for the President, he leaned forward and turned his head back throughout the presentation. As uncomfortable as that would have been for him, he understood the importance of visual communication. Him looking back at the performing band showed confirmation/approval for the band.

Again I say to the powers that be, not only am I available to brand and style the President, I believe I can lead a campaign to revamp the Zuma brand to become more appealing.

President Zuma needs more fitted suits, he needs to exercise more, we need to improve his spectacles, his ties are a BORE (oh Lord, those ties)….

Anyways, my case is rested.

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Lawrence Umukoro

Lawrence Umukoro



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