Former US President Barack Obama is the most eloquent and effective communicator of the last decade among world leaders, according to a newly released study.


No surprise there, given that the Internet is full of tips and videos on public speaking that use Obama as their role model. Descriptions such as "one of the greatest living communicators" abound when talking about the former president who held office from 2012-2017.

Experts analysed 100 hours of footage


According to the study released this week by UK-based Development Academy wing of Acuity Training, its experts were near-unanimous in declaring Obama as the best over the past 10 years.


But who is the best among the current crop of elected world leaders when it comes to effective oration?


To compile the 2020 list, the experts analysed more than 100 hours of footage from press conferences, assemblies, political events and other public appearances over the last 12 months.

Did Donald Trump crack the list?


Could it be current US President, Donald Trump, given that he seems ever-willing to voice his opinion on any manner of topic?


Not even close, says the study. I fact, The Donald doesn't even make the top 10 list.


The experts say Trump has a "thinking-out-loud approach" and "reacts to questions before he has given himself time to think and offer appropriate answers".

Obama the best political orator of the decade, Ardern tops in 2020

Donald Trump. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


"He will often jump to a new topic before concluding the previous one, causing his audience to lose interest or become frustrated.


"His overuse of metaphors and analogies is confusing for many, and he occasionally slurs on words," they observed.

And what about Bad-Hair Boris?


Then what about that other great exponent of the Bad Hair Day, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson?


He's another also-ran. While the study acknowledges he has made "noticeable improvements since becoming Prime Minister", the British PM still has a way to go.


The Academy said Johnson is a "unique public speaker" who has a tendency to "mutter or waffle" and his "use of odd or obscure references often left people confused about his message".

NZ's young female PM is the best


So the leaders of two of the most influential nations on earth are either slurrers of words or incurable wafflers.


Who then, does inspire and enthuse with their words?


It turns out to be the leader of one of the world's smaller nations – Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

She was youngest PM in 150 years

Obama the best political orator of the decade, Ardern tops in 2020

Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


The 40-year-old mother of a two-year-old daughter came to power in 2017 as the youngest New Zealand PM in 150 years.


She gained widespread praise for her handling of the deadly 2019 mosque attack that killed and injured around 100 people and also her handling of the country's COVID-19 crisis this year.


"Jacinda Ardern employs an empathetic leadership style very effectively," the study said.


"She challenges the common perception that emotional communication shows weakness, instead choosing to approach the public with a softer, emotionally mature touch which makes her very relatable."

Germany's Merkel is at number two


Second on the list of most eloquent leaders is also a female, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.


"Angela Merkel has received high praise for her handling of the coronavirus, in particular her crisis communication skills, and this is well deserved," the experts said.


"She is direct, calm and controlled. She projects confidence and experience at a time that this is in short supply, by keeping gestures to a minimum and her tone of voice even."


The other world leaders in the top 10 are, in order of listing: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland; Mette Frederiksen; Prime Minister of Denmark; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy; and Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia.