Can Your Public Speaking Style Win You an Election?

by | 10 December 2019 | Authenticity, Authority, Body Language, Emotional Engagement, Leadership, Performance, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking, Voice

It’s hard to avoid the current election frenzy with the political party leaders debating at (almost!) every opportunity. However, watching the party leaders during the ‘Question Time Leaders Special’ the other week, it struck us here at MSB Executive, just how important your public speaking style is at this crucial time.

We analysed the leaders from an objective point of view. We put politics aside and focused solely on how they present themselves and their arguments. What is working well for each of them and what we’d advise them to work on if they were our clients?

Jeremy Corbyn

Presentation style: Corbyn has a down to earth and sincere approach. He does not use much in the way of facial expressions, smiles were scarce and he stayed close to his notes and the podium. Initially he did not use much body language although became a little more animated the longer he was on stage.

What we’d recommend to improve: Have a more positive and energised approach from the beginning. Use more open body language and a have more relaxed, smiling face.

Nicola Sturgeon

Presentation style: Sturgeon is a smiling and expressive presenter. She has relaxed and engaged body language and looked to be enjoying the interaction with the audience. She stepped out from behind the podium and left her notes behind.

What we’d recommend to improve: There is a tendency to get dragged along in the debates. Our advice would be to take a pause and breathe when asked a question before starting to answer.

Jo Swinson

Presentation style: Swinson is also a smiling and open presenter who was quick to show more humour. She recognises the audience when they ask their questions. She is very energetic and uses lots of hand gestures and head movement when speaking.

What we’d recommend to improve: Keep posture upright and use less head and hand movements to convey more authority, This will allow the words to come forward and take precedence. Slow down the pace of speech.

Boris Johnson

Presentation style: Johnson has a more theatrical presentation style. He can build energy up when excited and bring it down again to have more control and authority. He is more personal and speaks more about his own role. He uses amusing turns of phrase to make points.

What we’d recommend to improve: Watch for a tendency to speak over others when they are talking. There’s also a tendency to show more ‘shuffling’ body language when talking about detailed numbers. Stick to broad principles and headline facts, which lend themselves to his style.

Can your public speaking style win you an election? Let’s see what happens on Thursday!


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