The Rhetoric of Political Leadership
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The Rhetoric of Political Leadership

Logic and Emotion in Public Discourse

Edited by Ofer Feldman

This timely book details the theoretical and practical elements of political rhetoric and their effects on the interactions between politicians and the public. Expert contributors explore the issues associated with political rhetoric from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, linguistics, social psychology and communication studies. Chapters examine what makes a speech effective, politicians’ use of moral appeals in political advertising, political attacks on social media, and gender and emotion in political discourse.
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Chapter 3: What makes a speech effective? Netanyahus and Obamas SPECtrum of Rhetoric Intelligences (SPECRI) in United Nations speeches 2009–2012

Michelle Stein Teer


To provide an answer to this 2500-year-old question, the present study examined the United Nations’ parallel speeches of two outstanding orators of the beginning of the 21st century – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the United States President Barak Obama. Verbal and nonverbal aspects of political rhetoric and cognitive psychology are explored followed by a description of the case studies – leaders and speeches. The SPECtrum of Rhetoric Intelligences (SPEC/RI) theory and the Personal Communication Profile (PCP) model were developed and implemented as new actor-centered rhetoric-cognitive frameworks of analysis that served to examine six UN speeches in 2009–2012. Methodology included qualitative-quantitative analysis of verbal and nonverbal behavioral patterns, deciphering leaders’ Speech Architecture and revealing their Rhetoric and Cognitive Profiles. Results are presented followed by a discussion, including the main conclusions regarding the psychological elements that make a speech effective.

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