Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Two powerful communicators – very different in style. And a dedicated teacher, reaching out to her students every day. Communication can be a glance. Communication can be a change in the tone of your voice. We learn why communication is the key to good leadership, whether you are a teacher in north London, or running the country. US presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump: both brilliant at connecting with people, but in very different ways. Barack Obama used new social media like no president before him. And in his speeches, he used ancient rhetorical techniques – tricks of language – to give words real power. My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. President Trump's 2016 speeches were less praised, but got him lots of supporters. He appeared less polished and was criticised for the way he used language. He's been banned from Twitter, but previously used it a lot – like this tweet, in which he calls the media 'the enemy of the people'. Although President Trump got fewer votes than Joe Biden in the 2020 election, he still got record-breaking numbers of votes for a losing candidate. President Obama made history in a major way, by being the country's first black president. So, what can we learn about leadership from how these leaders spoke to the world? So, from the examples of Obama and Trump, we can really learn that effective communication is crucial for leadership. Leadership in essence is about influencing, inspiring others – take them with you to understand and share a common goal and work towards that. And as an absolute minimum, you need to effectively communicate what that goal is and translate it to make it meaningful for those you're working with. Good communication skills are crucial if you want to influence and inspire others, something Obama and Trump did well. Let's look at each leader in turn. So, Obama is a great, great example for anybody who'd like to develop their rhetorical skills – their communication skills – a little bit better, not only in listening, in watching maybe his more formal speeches, but also the way that he interacts with people on a one-to-one basis. The way in which both his body language as well as the spoken word are very warm, very inclusive – aligning and really thinking carefully about who they are speaking to, who they're working with and trying to connect. So, I think you can go and learn a lot by listening in to, and also observing what Obama does. Obama was good at giving speeches, using rhetorical skills, but he was also good at connecting with people on an individual level. How about Trump? I would encourage an aspiring leader to... to focus on the way he uses social media and particularly the way he sends out more bitesize, but quite strongly worded messages with a... with a strong meaning behind them, and learning from and through that about – sometimes it is the... the consistency and the frequency with which we communicate short messages is an important takeaway. Trump was an expert at using simple, frequent and consistent messaging. He used social media to great effect here. Those who are able to influence others are often able to influence because they are seen as charismatic, and both Trump and Obama are charismatic in their own way, but it is through the very different audiences that see them as charismatic. And language again plays a key role there, because in order to be seen as charismatic, you need to be able to connect with an audience – connect on a value-based and on an emotional basis. Charismatic leaders build a following by connecting with an audience's values and emotions. So, which of our two presidents was the better communicator? Obama is often the one we go to first, because we think, 'Oh, he's a very skilful speaker,' able to appeal and to unite a variety of different audiences, whereas Trump is very focused and very specific about the one audience he's speaking to. But, when we then evaluate the relative success of either of these two political leaders, I have to say that on average Trump is probably, over a longer period of time, more successful in creating a very, very strong bond with his followers and maybe it is that focus on the smaller audience, but also being seen to be able to deliver – to be consistent with his message. Professor Schedlitzki says Trump understood his audience and was able to communicate directly with them. That won their loyalty. Obama wanted to appeal to different audiences, but this probably made his gifts of communication less effective. Djamila Boothman is an assistant head teacher in London... quite different to Obama and Trump. Yet communication is also vital for her. Connecting with students helps her create meaningful lessons. Connecting with parents builds relationships that help her students. Djamila took just four years to reach a senior position in her school. So, what has she learnt about communication along the way? You have to know your classes really, really well. You have to know what students' strengths and weaknesses are. And you have to understand what communication works best with what students. The more that you know your class and that they know you – communication can be a glance, communication can be a change in the tone of your voice. I do think an economy of words is important. I do think that it's... it's good to share what the expectation or the outcome is at the beginning and work from there. Like Obama and Trump, Djamila knows her audience really well – in this case her students. How does she build a good relationship with her class? I always like to share the big picture first – by the end of this experience, by the end of school, by the end of this academic year, sometimes by the end of term, these are the things that we want to achieve. Are we in agreement? Yes, we're in agreement. OK. How can we achieve those things? Collecting information. And from there, we then decide and once we've decided, it then becomes quite easy because everybody understands the 'why' behind what we're doing. And so, in that sense, leadership isn't one person saying, 'This is what we need to do.' Leadership is allowing others to lead and empowering the rest of the class. Djamila encourages her class to have shared goals by helping students understand why they are doing something. This is not so easy for some students though. The students with the most complex needs – one of the things that I do is I walk around with a planner that has some different facial expressions on, and for those students who are, you know, elective mutes or who just don't feel that they can vocalise, our communication is that they tap the face that reflects how they're feeling that day, and that then allows me to know which approach I'm going to take with them during that lesson or during that day. So, it's always important to keep communication going one way or the other. Djamila uses a mix of techniques to make sure she has good communication with each of her students. Where does technology fit into this? We've had to rely on technology a lot more this year and it's a really, really powerful tool and I think when you talk to somebody in their language, it's more powerful and, for young people, using technology – that is their language! You know, so it is effective. Technology is used as it is already a big part of students' lives – something students understand. Making lessons relevant to a student's own background and culture is vital too. Being able to talk about your lived experiences, and to feel like the rest of your class are listening to that and respecting that and valuing that, is something that makes anybody feel full of pride and self-pride. And it builds that ability to then be a leader in the classroom. This links to Djamila's understanding of her audience. If her students can identify with what she's teaching them, they're more likely to contribute to the lesson. So, to communicate effectively as a leader, you really need to know your audience. Make sure you adapt your message, so that it feels relevant to them. And don't forget – technology can really help.