Ronald Reagan, the great communicator. He was called that by friend and follower like because Ronald Reagan was, in fact, really good at communicating. He was a master at the set speech. He also did well in debates. And he was just fantastic at taking ideas, expressing them in a way where you knew he believed it intellectually. Here were the facts, but here's how he felt about it, as well.
What's less known about Reagan was his work ethic towards major presentations people just assumed, oh, well of course, he's a good speaker. He was an actor. He's a natural added know, when Ronald Reagan had to give a really important speech, like State of the Union address. He had tremendous discipline. First of all, he would meet with his staff, members of speech writers for months. Going through ideas for the speech, he would then come up with ideas, look at drafts, give notes, give feedback.
He then would force them to finish the speech one week before it was due this way. He's not doing last minute edits five minutes before the speech is given. It gave him time to read it out loud every night for hours for a week before the State of the Union address, not to memorize it, just to get more familiar with the words to build a bond with the words to build a relationship with the words to get really comfortable with the whole speech. But even that wasn't enough. He would then spend an entire day doing videotape rehearsal with the speech so that when he was reading the words off the teleprompter, it didn't seem like he was reading words off the teleprompter. It felt like he was just speaking to you from the heart.
Ronald Reagan obviously knew about stage craft since he was an actor. He gave tremendous importance to every aspect of how things looked. For example, You would never see ronald reagan walking up to a lectern, holding his speech the way you would see george bush or others. He wanted to create the illusion of just talking to people. So what he did, because he had his notes mostly on note cards three by five, four by six note cards, he would have them in his left suit pocket. So when he walked up on stage and got behind a lectern, he could walk with his hands free.
He could get up their way with with one hand, pull the notes out without anyone see it put on the lectern and weigh with the other hand, and now his notes are in front of them. Nobody ever saw him touch his notes. He was then careful to start off, looking at people then dipping down to look at his notes. He is one of the few politicians who was actually good at reading from notes and delivering a speech most People can't do that. masterful, masterful communicator for big speeches. He did practice a lot.
But he was also good on the fly. If there was an emergency like the challenger, shuttle exploding and he had to address the nation, he could do it really well, quickly than to but he's someone who didn't take it for granted when he knew it was a big speech. He knew he had time. He would work on it, craft it. Now as president, he obviously had speech writers. But Reagan was a good writer himself.
Before he became president. He did daily five minute political commentaries on radio, sometimes television, he wrote them out by hand himself, and he spoke constantly. Reagan also knew that when you speak, it's not about what's interesting to you. It's about what's interesting to the audience. So he gave virtually the same speech from 1964 To 1980, when he first ran for President when he first burst on the national scene at the 64 Republican political convention, nominating Goldwater, to his own nomination for president in 1980. He spoke all over the country repeatedly hitting the same conservative political themes.
He did it again and again and again. He got better at it and better at it and better at it. And even though he'd been in the communication business for decades, being behind a camera, being a sports announcer, speaking in front of live audience is different. It's a different type of presentation and he was a real student of that and he learned how to get better and better and better. Go ahead, take a look at this clip. And figure out for yourself what you like about what he did.
What do you not like? I'm hoping you'll notice things like the way he uses his voice. While Reagan admired john F. Kennedy, who was basically the same age and other earlier orders, he realized that in the modern TV era, you can't yell it's too hot for the medium so you'll never see Reagan yell during a speech he might boost the volume a little, and then even whisper he really uses his voice Well, for the modern medium of TV. Check it out.