Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, there's no denying his ability, for better or for worse, to captivate audiences with his unconventional speaking style and inflammatory remarks.
His rise to the presidency was filled with notorious rallies attended by crowds of people who waited hours to hear what he had to say.
These crowds represent significant economic value, too--before becoming President, Trump raked in some $1-1.5 million from The Learning Annex for each speech.
So what is it about Trump's unique and unconventional speech patterns that has led to his oratorical success?
Speak to the heart and don't overthink it
The way Trump speaks has become notorious--his choice of words and combative rhetorical style are idiosyncratic brand markers.
The simple phrases he uses are atypical for a politician seeking to be elected to a position that demands so much continued focus and oratory nuance.
He appeals to emotion before reason, and seems willfully unconcerned that what he says will be picked apart by voters and pundits across the world.
Trump's modus operandi is to sell feelings. The ideas and concepts that underscore them are more or less irrelevant, at least when considering how his words resonate so deeply with his audiences.
As a salesman, he has learned to keep things simple, to fill his speeches with monosyllabic words, and to avoid overwrought sentence structures.
His speaking is performative: what he says is often less important than how he is saying it.
For instance, he often speaks in short, rhythmic clauses that culminate in the use of one of his favorite buzzwords. "We have a tremendous problem"; "they're badly injured, we have a real problem."
By ending his sentences on apocalyptic buzzwords, Trump can say things that many people would call rationally dubious while still influencing his audience to react in the way he wants.
Psychology matters for public speakers
The repetitive nature of Trump's speech serves as a vehicle for "cognitive framing," a linguistic process through which our unconscious brain influences our reception and categorization of the words we hear.
By repeating certain phrases and connotations--say, "crooked Hillary" or "Lyin' Ted Cruz"--he manipulates connections between pieces of information in order to establish his desired associations.
In other words, because Trump isn't aiming for a logical argument, it's irrelevant whether Clinton is crooked or not.
All Trump needs to establish with his speech is a perception of authority to make these claims, the perception of being a winner.
By repeating himself fervently and with obvious conviction, he manufactures unconscious connections in the mind of his audience--and that is his rhetorical power in a nutshell.
Speaking to people's affective desires is much more powerful than speaking to their sense of reason, and Trump is perhaps the most persuasive example of this in contemporary American society.
Even if his words can be vacuous, Trump's speaking style is authoritative and attention-grabbing.
Be present, be authentic, be heard
In a word, Trump's rhetoric is authentic. His speeches bring private discourse to the public sphere, and if there's any common thread among the critiques of his speaking style, it's that "The Donald" is incessantly himself.
He constantly veers away from scripts, he makes extravagant gestures and facial expressions, and he's unafraid of controversy (to say the least).
His bombast and passion enable him to monopolize the attention of his viewers, even when his rhetoric is at odds with the facts.
All of these factors contribute to Trump's allure. And regardless of how audiences respond to it, it works as a means of grabbing attention.
Trump's speeches enthrall his audiences, commanding their attention and, at least prior to being elected to public office, their wallets.