Message to the new First Lady

There will be a new First Lady in the United States of America on Friday. With respect, this is more of a ‘big deal’ in the United States than it is here in the United Kingdom, where this role is a very visible one, and she is the hostess at the White House for visitors, even though she hasn’t been elected. information about the role of the First Lady of the USA.


The next First Lady will be, God willing, Melania Trump, the present wife of Donald Trump, the president elect. This is an unelected role, but one that makes the first lady visible within the nation. The role – and especially the visibility around it, is a challenge to any human being, and I suspect being married to Trump has provided Melania with an insight to being visible by default. Mrs Trump has a hard act to follow: Michelle Obama is a highly respected individual globally who has made an impact with her warm personality, charisma and intelligence. Mrs Trump is a different person, so has a chance to create a unique role.

I do not know Mrs Trump and I only wish her well in her new role. It is interesting that she isn’t moving from New York until the end of the school year (at this stage) because she doesn’t want her son’s education to be disrupted mid-year. Something any caring mother would wish to do. This also gives Mrs Trump the opportunity to prepare herself for six months before she is in the public eye more regularly. Here are a couple of areas I believe she should focus on, in order to be confident when she becomes more ‘visible’ at the White House.

Speaking English: I know Melania speaks English, but let’s be really fair: it is very unclear due to her VERY strong accent and the impression that she neither understands nor has a great command of the language. I know Americans I speak to struggle to understand what she says (so it isn’t just me!) Honestly, for a lady as clever as Mrs Trump, six months focussing on grasping the language, widening her vocabulary and conversation as well as some serious accent calming will make her feel more confident. At some point she will be the hostess at international events, and being able to speak with confidence, in English will be a real boost.

Personal branding: she is gorgeous and looks lovely in the designer clothing. BUT at the moment, she looks very awkward (as most human beings would look in her position). Some work on her charisma; entering a room, engaging with visitors, standing by her husband in a more relaxed way would give her such confidence. She would look more welcoming and engaging too.

Public Speaking: being asked to do a major speech on your husband’s campaign is a huge ask. She got through it but not without ridicule. She didn’t look confident – with either the content or delivery, and gave the impression that she had been trained to say every word. In other words, the delivery was very unnatural. Taking some time to develop some public speaking skills, including discovering her own personal style and charisma, will give her huge confidence and a chance to engage with the American citizens.

More expression: Mrs Trump has a closed body language and expressionless face at the moment. I am sure it is due to the position she has been thrown into. This doesn’t register well on the TV screen, which in fairness is where most people will see  her. I would recommend some more work on changing her body language and in particular focusing on some facial expressions that will really help her engage with audiences.

Honestly, I wish Mrs Trump well. She hasn’t been elected, but due to the system in the USA, she has a very visible role to play for the next 4 years. Good luck and of course if you want my help at all, please call me on +44 (0) 800 0938 464 or contact me.

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About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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