Bad Public Speaking: Gambling on Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings

Poor crisis communications on display at the White House. This is the second in the Crisis Conversations Series: useful articles to help executives navigate the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on how we live and work. Fantastic, tremendous, incredible, amazing, great, greatest, biggest ever are hallmarks of Donald Trump’s bad public speaking. They were on […]
March 30, 2020
Trump's use of superlatives makes for bad public speaking.

Poor crisis communications on display at the White House.

bad public speaking, public speaking, crisis

This is the second in the Crisis Conversations Series: useful articles to help executives navigate the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on how we live and work.

Fantastic, tremendous, incredible, amazing, great, greatest, biggest ever are hallmarks of Donald Trump’s bad public speaking. They were on full display at the daily White House Coronavirus Briefing.  Americans have been exposed to a huge dose of his inimitable style of oratory for the last few weeks, unfortunately, at a time when clarity and truth are most needed. 

An online sports gambling website got in on the action. They started offering odds so people could lay down some money on Trump’s daily bad public speaking pronouncements. There are no live action human sports for wagering these days. So, SportsBettingDime.com has posted Over/Under numbers on Trump’s oft-repeated superlatives. 

A crisis in communicating…

The odds-makers rank his favorite adjectives, phrases and statements. Examples include, fantastic, incredible, amazing and tremendous, said either solo or in a cluster.  And there’s so much material to bet on. As the pandemic grows, his media appearances will likely become longer and more frequent. We’re likely to see more fine examples of bad public speaking in times of crisis.

POTUS’ inimitable style breaks the rules of public speaking excellence. Oratory laden with excessive superlatives is usually a sign of a weak, half-baked, unprepared speech. These charged words replace supporting facts.  In other words, when you don’t know what you are talking about, extravagant references fill the gaps in knowledge. No matter how you look at it, it’s bad public speaking.

SportsBettingDime.com tracks Trump’s words and statements by video.  You can watch and count for yourself at c-span.org

Will he say great more than 9.5 times at the next coronavirus briefing?  You can bet on it.  

Contact me for a free 15-minute consultation on how to improve your crisis communication. Visit https://rosemaryravinal.com/services/ for more ways I can help you handle tough conversations.

Additional resources for communicating during the coronavirus pandemic:

Public Relations Society of America: https://www.prsa.org/about/crisis-communications-resources

International Association of Business Communicators: https://www.iabc.com/covid-19-resources/

Associated Press–How to write about the novel coronavirus: https://www.apstylebook.com/topical_most_recent  

Rosemary Ravinal

I teach business leaders how to shine on video calls and have more productive virtual engagement. As Founder/Chief Trainer at RMR Communications Consulting, I also help executives master the art of public speaking, inspiring presentations, and authoritative media interviews online and in person. My company’s services are available in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

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