According to a Newstalk survey conducted days after he withdrew from the race to the Aras, Irish voters would have voted overwhelmingly for Senator Norris! In fact, some 53% of those polled would have preferred the popular Joycean scholar – compared with less than one in five who would vote for Michael D! And as for t’others;Gay, Sean and Mary? Each of these is languishing in the polls with only 5% to 7% support.
Yes, it’s a case of ‘if pots and pans’ and where has all the inspiration gone?
This begs an interesting question – why are the remaining candidates for the Presidency of Ireland, our head of state, failing to connect with the electorate?
Let’s examine the evidence. Looking at recent footage of Michael D Higgins (now the front runner) speaking at various events, the answer isn’t hard to find.
Michael D may be an experienced politician, affable and an intellectual – but he has some bad habits as a public speaker that he might consider addressing. These include:
- He rarely centres a speech on a single theme, with the result that most audiences are unlikely to remember his messages
- On occasions he gets distracted. And when this happens, he tends to ramble until he remembers what he was talking about. Audiences pick up on this and it undermines his credibility.
- His style is akin to a College professor who wants to let his audience know how much ‘he knows’ – instead of focusing on why what he has to say is both relevant and should inspire/motivate his audience
My advice to Mr Higgins would be to hone his stump speech in a hurry. He needs a one sentence ‘elevator speech’; which sums up, in a clear and compelling way, why we should give him our most prestigious job.