Former governor of Indiana and current vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, delivered a commencement speech at Notre Dame, a Catholic university. News sources estimate that “dozens of students” exited the Notre Dame stadium after Pence’s introduction and prior to the degree dissemination portion of the ceremony. In the following video, Pence addresses the Notre Dame class of 2017 about matters ranging from religious persecution to free speech.

Vice President Mike Pence is an astute, resolute, and formal presenter.

Mike Pence Presentation Persona

Using the indicators analyzed through our Badge assessment, I believe Mike Pence is a Producer. He scores high in 3 of the 4 quadrants – Exploration, Sharing, and Durability – and scores low in Response.

Producer Map

Below, I evaluate Pence’s performance in each category.

It is clear throughout the entirety of Pence’s commencement speech that he prepared intensely for it – resulting in his high score for the quadrant. At the beginning, he cited statistics about the graduating class – demonstrating knowledge of his audience. Pence approached the stage with a defined roadmap of the topics he wanted to cover, the most predominant of which was the need for free speech on college campuses.

“If the animations of free speech were charted on a map like infrared heat signatures, one would hope the universities would be the hottest places. Red and purple with dispute, not dark blue and white – frozen in decant orthodoxy and intellectual stasis.” – Vice President Mike Pence

A characteristic of the Producer presentation persona, Pence scores high in Sharing. Within the first few minutes of his speech, he engages the audience and encourages interaction by asking the students to stand up and thank their parents for the contributions made in pursuit of their educations through applause. Then, he starts the meat of his speech with a retelling of the university’s origin story.

“One-hundred-and-seventy-five years ago, the Reverend Edward Soren and seven of his companions left their homes in Vincennes, Indiana. They travelled north along the Wabash through fields and forests amid the valleys and over the hills until they reached the very ground upon which we stand today.” – Vice President Mike Pence

Pence is in his natural habitat when he is standing in front of a crowd. He is charismatic, confident, and steadfast. If you watch the video above, you’ll notice how he changes his inflection to emphasize certain points.

This is a low score for Pence. Not only due to the obvious protest of his message through the staged walk-out, but also because the structure of his main points was a little haphazard. His mention of ousting religious persecution at home and abroad seemed topical for the audience, but didn’t exactly mesh with the rest of his message.

As is normal for this presentation persona, Pence scores high in Durability. His speech centered primarily on the restoration of free speech and civility on college campuses. Notre Dame, to him, is the blueprint for acknowledgement of free speech that other universities should look towards. The call to action of his speech aligned perfectly with his core message. He encouraged his audience to be leaders for “freedom of thought and expression”; to lead for good over evil; to perpetuate their integrity and values; and to cling to their faith. To further ingrain the message into the minds of listeners, he quoted a former Notre Dame president, Father Ted, who revealed the intention of Notre Dame to be “a place where the endless conversation is harbored and not foreclosed.”

Vice President Mike Pence is a strategic politician with unwavering beliefs, a sign of an expert Producer.

More from the Ethos3 blog:

Presentation Persona Spotlight: John Oliver

Presentation Persona Spotlight: Elon Musk

Presentation Personas Who Are Motivational Speakers

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