Victoria Martin, News Editor
Jon Favreau lectured on the rise of President Donald Trump and how it was possible in Hammerschmidt Chapel on March 9.
As the speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, Favreau stated that his “best guess” as to why Trump won the presidential election was the “high number of undecideds breaking heavily for Trump,” which was the the same thing that won Obama the 2008 election.
“Trump didn’t win because of all the negative, but despite all of it. He won because he was the most likely to bring change to the White House,” Favreau said during the lecture.
With this similarity between Trump and Obama, Favreau pointed to three lessons he learned when it came to good public speaking and standing out amongst your competitors in his working with Obama: being comfortable, not playing it safe and communication inspiring emotion.
A speaker has to be comfortable in their own skin and speak “like a normal human being” Favreau told the audience.
“Politicians who have been in [politics] for a while speak like how an automaton thinks a human sounds like,” Favreau said. “If you wouldn’t say it in a bar, don’t say it. And no amount of slogans or snappy sound bites will matter if it does not reach the normal person.”
Trump had a way of being comfortable with what he was saying and making it accessible to the average person, according to Favreau.
It was also important to him that a good speaker not play it safe.
“People are terrified of taking risks,” Favreau said. “The greatest enemy to storytelling is caution.”
He continued to tell the story of how Obama, despite being told by many to avoid the topic, made a speech about race in 2008.
While this lesson requires honesty, Favreau made the point of honest not necessarily involving accuracy. Pausing momentarily to let the audience laugh at his jab at Trump.
His final lesson was on effective communication and how it should inspire emotion.
“Obama inspired hope. Trump inspired fear and anger, thus inspiring hope in the people. When you can inspire some kind of emotion you can inspire the people to believe in a change,” Favreau said.
Trump, according to Favreau, had a way of communicating to a lot of people during his campaign and people underestimated him. However, Favreau continued, he should not be overestimated in his abilities after the election.
“Trump is either going to follow through with his campaign promises or he is not,” Favreau said during the Q&A session. “At the end of the day it isn’t about what offends people, it’s how he affects people.”