Community & Government

Own Your Communication Style

George W. Bush

Lesson time 20:26 min

President Bush covers the importance of communication. He addresses his “Bushisms,” discusses the power of a heartfelt message, and shares how he structures speeches.

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Topics include: President Bush discusses the importance of communication — a topic he realizes he is know well-known for. He addresses his “Bush-isms” that were widely mocked, as well as how he structures speeches and speaks from the heart..


- Communication? What's that? Oh, you're communicating to me that you're going to talk about communication. All right. Let's communicate. [MUSIC PLAYING] The first thing about communicating with people is to like people and to care about them. And so the best way to communicate with somebody is to look them right in the eye and ask them questions about themselves. People love to answer questions about themselves. I know people know the difference between an insincere question and a sincere question. Some would say I'm not very subtle, not very nuanced. Who's to argue? But I tend to speak what's on my mind, but in a way that's not off-putting. I hope people would say that after I dealt with them, he was a frank person, and he was honest in his views. But he was also thoughtful. [MUSIC PLAYING] - And so in my state of the-- my State of the Union-- or state-- my speech to the nation-- whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation-- [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] - You know, I was a master at the malaprop. Perhaps the most famous when I recognized I made a bushism-- - Those who think that they can say we're only going to have a stimulus package, but let's forget tax relief, misunderestimate-- - --was when I invented the word "misunderestimate." - Or excuse me-- underestimate. GEORGE W. BUSH: The press corps reaction was, did the guy really just say that? - Just making sure you were paying attention. You were. GEORGE W. BUSH: And then they realized I actually did say that, and they were kind of looking at me in total disbelief. The point of the story was I had no idea I said it until they reacted. And I think a lot of these bushisms happen when I'm tired or my brain outraces my mouth. - I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully. - After the presidency when I was giving speeches, I would say, I've written a book, which is quite a shock to people, particularly on the coast of our country, who didn't think I could read, much less write. In other words, bushisms give you a chance to kind of poke fun at yourself, which is by far the most effective humor if you're a leader. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And one of my favorite things to do was to speak to the White House Correspondents Dinner and make fun of myself. - Thank you, and good evening. I always look forward to these dinners where I'm supposed to be funny intentionally. - And generally got pretty good laughs. - In fact, we are almost out of time, so I will instead ask each candidate to sum up, in a single word, the best argument for his candidacy. Governor Bush. - Strategery. GEORGE W. BUSH: One of my favorite stories about my magnificent use of malapropisms was when Laura and I had dinner with Lorne Michaels, who is the executive producer of "Saturday Night Live." And he said, we put one of our best scriptwr...

About the Instructor

Step inside the Oval Office with the newest instructor in our White House series, President George W. Bush. With insight from former First Lady Laura Bush, the former commander in chief opens up about the tough calls and life lessons that shaped his career. Develop and own a leadership style that’s true to you and learn to lead by connecting personally with everyone in the room.

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