Do audiences believe you ‘walk the talk’ and ‘do as you say’?
You can have the best arguments in the world when speaking from the podium…
…But it can all be ruined if those listening sense you don’t subscribe to your own words.
Here’s an example:
I saw an interesting critique of Margaret Thatcher and her ‘where there is despair may we bring hope’ speech in 1979 by Philip Collins (a former speech writer for Tony Blair) in his recent book.
He believed that her inappropriate smiling betrayed a lack of commitment to the words she spoke and undermined her messages.
Have a look at her in action and see what you think:
Of course, one could argue that he’s being a little harsh as she probably meant well and was clearly more than a little distracted by the press to her right side as she spoke.
However, regardless of whether his assessment is right or wrong, there’s a broader point here…
…As a speaker, it’s never enough to just utter words.
It should be clear that you mean what you say. Your body language mustn’t contradict or compete with your language.
Your audience should believe that you’re committed to and will follow up on your arguments – leading the charge or setting an example.
If you’re not visibly 100% behind your ideas, why should anyone else be?
It’s a matter of trust and passion.
If your audience judges that you’re lacking in either of these departments, expect them to follow suit.
Leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. And make sure you know it.
Contrast that with how international markets continue to dismiss or disregard words from Europe’s political leaders meant to slave the ongoing Euro crisis. Enough said.
Over to you.
What examples have you seen of good speeches that were ruined because you felt the speaker lacked conviction or credibility?
What caused you to feel that way?