Trump’s communication techniques

I’m not sure what is scarier that Trump knows what he’s doing, or, like so many liberals in the USA and around the world say, that he is a fool and doesn’t. Either way, it is useful to examine how he does what he does because whatever you think of his policies (or lack of them) he certainly has a powerful influence with those who believe in him and with those who seek to resist him.

As an Australian, we take great pride in giving our leadership shit. The more powerful, the more self-assured (or arrogant) and serious, the more we use humour to take them down a peg, remind them that leadership is supposed to be an act of service. My impression is that in the US they like doing this too. They have their roasts and the Washington journalist’s dinner (which Trump hasn’t attended). I spent 5 years living in the States and I have a continuing interest because my son still lives there and because our politics is influenced by our country’s little brother hero-worship attitudes. :-p

It’s true that US citizens are generally much more passionate about politics and religion than we are. It does worry me any time, regardless of the culture, society and nation when people don’t apply scepticism to all political players regardless of their tribe (I mean party). Watching from a distance I worry about the cancel culture and the rudeness and absolutist thinking that I see there (and to some extent elsewhere). I love politics so I don’t shy from it when I see it here or anywhere.

It is sad, but understandable, that some people make personal attacks when they don’t have a strong comeback.

If you are interested in politics and communication, in general, read up about classical rhetoric. 2500 year ago (and with continuing development through all that time) they knew there are 3 appeals on which effective and influential communication is based – authority (ethos), emotion (pathos) and evidence (logos). Different audiences are reached in different ways.

Trump appeals to authority and emotion and purposely pushes away people who respond to evidence. He invites conflict because it creates a sense of drama that appeals to the mass media (including the social versions) and to those members of the nation that are seeking heroes and adversaries, for simplistic black and white stories, who appear to have authority and excite their emotions. He uses the “analog markers” of NLP and the speech rhythms of preachers to deliver embedded commands. His version of the preacher is not as obvious as Obama talking to an audience of African Americans, but it is there subtly because it is part of the public speaking style of the States.

It’d be nice and I’m sure he’d like people to believe that he is a natural genius at this stuff. But he used to teach workshops, present at conferences and was involved with the great NLP Maestro Anthony Robbins – teaching and talking about sales and influence. So I think he’s done a lot of training on how to influence people (check out the Will Smith movie ‘Focus’ about criminal confidence tricksters for the great examples of the dark side of these techniques)

Here’s an example from today of the white Mr T (they both love gold) in action. Close your eyes as you listen. Note the pauses, the rising and lowering intonations, the changing speeds of his delivery – Donald Trump says he has directed a halt to his country’s payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus an…