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Obama Speaking Skills Presented to the Masses Via DVD

Politics aside, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would dispute the communication skills of our new commander-in-chief. Few have any hope of becoming an equally great speaker and, let’s be honest, there aren’t that many who have a need to win the hearts and minds of large crowds. But according to the creators of a new DVD titled “The 5 Communication Secrets That Swept Obama To The Presidency,” there are lots of reasons for just about anybody to improve their speaking skills. “Communication is crucial to people on job interviews, in their careers and in their personal lives,” said Futura Pictures CEO Buddy Young. He should know. Over the past 10 years, Young has headed a number of ventures, most recently a company called Advanced Knowledge based in Encino that produces workforce management videos. In the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, he was involved with major film studios including United Artists, Universal and Columbia in publicity and advertising. He then founded Color Systems Technology that converted black-and-white films to color. As corporate training budgets were slashed and the overall business economy slowed, Young decided the time was right to pursue a project he had been considering for some time. “I’ve known Richard Greene for a long time and had been looking for a project we could maybe do together,” said Young of the other star of the Secrets DVD. Greene is a celebrated speaker and speech consultant who has coached the likes of Princess Diana, done training programs for corporations like Walt Disney Company, NBC and ESPN and been the go-to guy for on-air news organizations who need someone to comment on or analyze major speeches. He was also the first person to predict that Barack Obama would become president, which he did in an article published on the Huffington Post website on Feb. 10, 2007. One little tidbit that’s not in his official bio is that he also used to be attorney for motivational speaker Tony Robbins. “I believe that Barack Obama’s extraordinary communication skills can be an even greater national asset than they are today by having people understand the secrets that he uses,” said Greene, “so that every business person in the San Fernando Valley and across the country can also inspire the people who listen to them and sell their great products and services.” On the video, which will also be available as an MP3 or podcast download or a live video stream, Greene takes five key principles of good communication that he has espoused for years, and uses the speeches of Barack Obama to illustrate exactly how those principles can be used to great effect. “When we actually shot this, it was completely unscripted,” said director Chris Berthelsen. “It was simply a project Richard had been doing in front of audiences and major corporations for years so we simply talked about it beforehand and he said what he wanted to do and we let him go. And he did something that had such thoroughness and excellent continuity it was a breeze to edit.” When asked if they had any concerns about using Obama’s image and speeches in a commercial enterprise, all emphatically said, “No.” “This is more a Richard Greene DVD than it is an Obama DVD,” said Young. “The important thing is the lessons Richard is trying to convey. It just is that President Obama was the best one to demonstrate those lessons. We’re not trying to capitalize on President Obama. There’s even a disclaimer on the box that says this is not endorsed by him.” But can one really learn to communicate better by watching a DVD? “There are different types of learners,” said Toastmasters International spokesperson Suzanne Frey. “So if someone is a more visual learner or for people who have no time to go to a Toastmasters meeting, watching an instructional video might work for them. But to blow our own horn, we say ‘get thee to a Toastmasters meeting,’ where you will find a supportive group that can give you feedback. You might think you gave a good speech but without feedback you won’t know you used 14 ‘mmm’s’ and 10 ‘uhs’.” With hundreds of Toastmaster Clubs in the region, and meetings virtually any day or night of the week, there’s plenty of support to go around. For the last word on the need for improving communication skills we turned to Glendale resident Lance Miller, who won the 2005 World Championship of Public Speaking representing Toastmasters District #52 which includes much of the San Fernando Valley. “As far as I’m concerned, communication skills are equally important as thinking skills.,” said Miller. “You can have a great thought but if you can’t communicate, it’s like that great thought never existed.”

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