Narendra Modi delivered yet another exemplary speech at the Ex Servicemen rally at Rewari Harayana. While the contents of this speech and all the ones made in the past have made headlines, I don’t think anyone has analyzed the techniques used by NaMo to enthrall his audience. It’s a well known fact that he learnt the art of public speaking from AB Vajpayee, and the similarities in their individual speeches prove this fact beyond doubt. Does he use a technique?? Do his speeches have a pattern??
This op-ed is an humble attempt to enlighten my readers on what I see as an emerging pattern in Narendra Modi’s speeches.
As Modi rises to speak, it is very evident that the audience is unsettled. They might have been waiting in the sun for hours, hearing each of the speakers who use this opportunity to serve their ideas before a crowd impatient to hear Modi. The audience is therefore like a school during the recess hour. There is clamour, noise and a lot of commotion. Modi therefore has the humungous task of catching their attention and ensuring they focus on what he intends to convey. If you notice he starts with “Bharat Mata Ki”, evoking an automatic “Jai” response from the audience. He repeats this exercise 2-3 times.
This might seem like Modi trying to infuse patriotism, but is in fact a technique to catch the attention of such a large audience and help them settle down. If you have ever attended a huge Multi Level marketing campaign or a religious gathering, you will notice the speakers using the same technique to help catch the attention of such a huge gathering. The technique used by our Lok Sabha speaker wherein she says “Shant ho jaiyeye” wont work when thousands of people have gathered. One needs a common slogan that unites every one and one every one is ready to respond to without prior coaching.
At Rewari, Modi made the audience also increase the intensity of the sloganeering. He said to them “Awaaz seema tak sunai deni chahiye”. This reminds me of Osho’s technique to drain the audience of excess energy with rhythmic dance. It helps them settle down easily.
The next step in each of his speeches is to introduce the dignitaries on the dias and those present in the audience. This step is so well executed that it seems to come straight from the protocol guide for toastmasters. The line is probably picked from ABV’s speeches, “Manch par viraajman…” Following the protocol helps him establish his humility and soothes the ego of the dignitaries worried about Modi’s aura eclipsing theirs.
Each time Modi is about to deliver a speech, I’m wondering how much of it would be a repeat telecast. And I have to give credit to him for keeping most of it new and original each time he speaks. The repetitive lines are neatly embedded into the new ideas and statements. In the age of social media where is each speech is recorded and played, it’s a daunting task to serve new ideas and vision in every speech. Stand up comedians face this dilemma more than anyone, they have to prepare a new joke in each of their appearances. Making people think is easier than making people laugh.
It is of no use if the content is good but the speaker is merely reading it from a piece of paper. Even if the ideas are original, the speaker has to convince the audience that he is not merely reading it out but in fact delivering it straight from heart. Extempore speeches were Lincoln’s trademark too. NaMo has great belief in this technique, no wonder he chose to speak in Hindi at the Jetro organized seminar in Japan, he knew that if he read from a paper, the Japanese would fail to see the emotions behind his words, they would not believe in the sincerity with which he promised a red carpet welcome for their industries. The same applies to corporate presentations, do not just read out slides, follow the Beyond Bullet Points (BBP) technique.
Wrapping it up
Leaving an ever lasting impression is in the interest of the speaker. He sometimes coins a new slogan or reuses a popular one to once again capture the audience attention. If someone has despite all attempts slept through the speech or was mentally absent, the last few minutes of sloganeering will bring him or her back to Modi. At Hyderabad, Modi used the “We can we will” slogan which was a repeat from one of his speeches at Vibrant Gujrat where he said, “Gujrat can” and made the audience respond with “Gujrathi’s will”. Was Obama inspired by this rhetoric? The controversy in my opinion was created by sections of media to belittle Modi’s achievement of drawing large crowds even in the South.
Speakers generally have their own favorite object they rely on to gain confidence, usually an inanimate object. I remember reading, one famous public speaker used to fondle his coat button in order to deliver an inspiring speech. His detractors therefore removed the button prior to one of his speeches. I have not found Modi clinging onto any such object or medium but maybe I missed that detail.
Some Sample Speeches by Narendra Modi Are Below :
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi address supporters during his three-day ‘sadbhavna’ fast for peace and harmony in Ahmedabad.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi slams Centre over FDI in retail in a rally in Navsari in Surat