Jacinda Ardern tops list of 'eloquent leaders', Boris Johnson, Donald Trump's communication criticised

Jacinda Ardern is the most "eloquent" leader in the world, a British professional development company believes.

Development Academy has compiled a list of who it believes are the top 10 most eloquent global leaders after analysing "more than 100 hours of footage from press conferences, assemblies, political events and other public appearances" over the last year. It based its decision off "communication and presentation skills".

Topping the list was Ardern, who the company said "employs an empathetic leadership style".

"She challenges the common perception that emotional communication shows weakness, instead choosing to approach the public with softer touch. She has a measured and authoritative sincerity about her - she is kind and compassionate, without shying away from tough issues."

She was followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canada's Justin Trudeau and Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Leader.

Scott Morrison, Australia's Prime Minister was ranked at number 10, with the company saying he has "greatly improved his reputation since the country's devastating bushfires earlier this year". Morrison was criticised for not being engaged during that crisis as well as not putting enough weight on the impact of climate change.

However, Development Academy praised his communication skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"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."

Jacinda Ardern tops list of 'eloquent leaders', Boris Johnson, Donald Trump's communication criticised
Photo credit: Getty.

Two world leaders were highlighted as needing to improve their presentation style - the United Kingdom's Boris Johnson and US President Donald trump.

While the company said Johnson was a "very unique public speaker", it said he often forgoes pauses "in favour of muttering or waffling". 

"His use of odd or obscure references often left people confused about his message."

But he is getting better. 

"For example, he doesn’t stumble over his words as often. During what has already been a significantly challenging year, the PM appears to be authoritative and in control."  

Trump's approach to communication hasn't changed since he took office in 2017, the company said. The US President has a "thinking out loud" style, reacting to questions before thinking and jumping to a new topic before finishing his thoughts on another which can cause "his audience to lose interest or become frustrated".

"His overuse of metaphors and analogies is confusing for many, and he occasionally slurs on words. Unlike Boris Johnson, who has made noticeable improvements since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Trump has done little to address the flaws in his style of public speaking." 

The company said the most effective world leader at communicating during the last decade was Barack Obama. 

It provided five tips for public speaking:

  1. Practice with people you feel comfortable with
  2. Record yourself speaking
  3. Make eye contact with the audience
  4. Learn from experienced speakers
  5. Speak slowly

The full list can be found here.

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