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Jacinda Ardern's one skill that average person doesn't have

·3-min read
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a community meeting with COVID-19 community responders at Wainuiomata's Memorial Hall on July 30, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in fine form at a community meeting with Covid-19 responders. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Most people fear speaking in front of a large group of people.

Public speaking triggers nervousness and anxiety, so much so that the US organisation National Institute of Mental Health reported it is feared by 73 per cent of people – more than death.

Yes, many would rather die than talk in front of a crowd.

It may not be surprising that the minority of people who have mastered public speaking have a big advantage in their careers.

So who are the best public speakers in the world?

UK professional training body Development Academy recently analysed more than 100 hours of public speaking in the past year to rank the best speakers among world leaders.

Here are the top five:

  1. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister

  2. Angela Merkel, Germany chancellor

  3. Narendra Modi, India prime minister

  4. Justin Trudeau, Canada prime minister

  5. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland first minister

Development Academy reported that Ardern's strength is her "empathetic leadership style".

"She challenges the common perception that emotional communication shows weakness, instead choosing to approach the public with [a] softer touch," a spokesperson wrote.

"She has a measured and authoritative sincerity about her – she is kind and compassionate, without shying away from tough issues."

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison came in at 10th, boosted by his leadership during the bushfires last summer and during the Covid-19 crisis.

"Mr Morrison has been open, emotional and even vulnerable during his addresses to the Australian people, demonstrating to voters that he shares in their pain."

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are terrible public speakers

On the other end of the spectrum, Development Academy named two national leaders who had much room to improve in their public speaking.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson used to mutter or waffle without pause in his previous roles as foreign secretary and mayor of London.

Although his communication has improved this year during very challenging times, he and his party seems to have recognised his own shortcomings.

"The Conservative Party recently announced that it is looking to build upon the public interest of Boris Johnson’s daily briefings by hiring a spokesperson to communicate with the nation on behalf of the prime minister," stated Development Academy.

"This is an interesting decision by Boris Johnson, perhaps signalling that the PM has identified the need for a dedicated Communications Director in light of his shortcomings."

US president Donald Trump has always had a "thinking out loud" tendency that detracts from his eloquence.

"He reacts to questions before he has given himself time to think and offer appropriate answers," Development Academy reported.

"He will often jump to a new topic before concluding the previous one, causing his audience to lose interest or become frustrated. His overuse of metaphors and analogies is confusing for many, and he occasionally slurs on words."

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