Most people hold close to them their own very personal political views about the state of their country and the people at the helm steering it. Trying to influence individuals to agree on which is the best perspective and most equitable manifesto to support presents the most formidable challenge for the world’s political leaders.
While we may not all share the same political views I’m confident that we can all agree that a prerequisite skill for every party leader is the ability to speak exceptionally well in public. In fact, the reality is that whether you’re a political, commercial, private or public sector leader the capacity to communicate effectively is critical.
Whether you like or agree with them or not, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband and Nigel Farage all know how to speak in public. Some, arguably better than others, but with their individual styles each can give a good performance when the pressure is on.
Last week Nigel Farage spoke at the UKIP 2014 conference at Doncaster Racecourse for the most part without the need for notes which he left on the lectern.
As one of Britain’s most recognizable politicians no one can accuse him of not getting to the point or speaking his mind as we can see in this BBC News video.
He is a confident, commanding speaker whose authoritative approach leaves his listeners in no doubt that he has something to say and that he will be making his presence felt.
His style is direct, unconstrained, clear and compelling. Compelling in the sense that his assertiveness holds your attention and you get the feeling that he’s likely to let you know about it should you dare to look at your blackberry.
He is evidently highly respected as a leader and speaker by his own party as you can see by the rather clever way he opened his keynote to rally support.
He referred to the UKIP conference in London a year ago and said:
“A year ago we had our conference in London with about half the number of delegates we’ve got today, and I said to the UKIP conference last year that we would win the European elections of 22nd May 2014 and that we would create an earthquake in British politics AND WE DID IT”.
That was all it took to set the scene and win his party over.
From there his speaking style was consistently predictable almost to the point of distraction.
He doesn’t really seem to be an advocate of using the ‘pause’ for impact but instead likes to conclude each sentence with a rather slow and laborious emphasis of the last 3 to 5 words:
“AND WE DID IT”
He referred to people voting for UKIP on 22nd May 2014, because “THEY WANT CHANGE”.
He explained that it was no coincidence that UKIP were holding their conference in Doncaster because Ed Milliband is one of the town’s MPs there, “and we want to signal to the world that we are now parking our tanks “ON THE LABOUR PARTIES LAWN”.
“For too long now much of the north of England in its towns and cities has resembled a ONE PARTY STATE”.
“Towns and Cities in which the opposition which used to be provided by the Liberal Democrats and by the Conservative Party has frankly melted away to such an extent that they DON’T EVEN POSE A THREAT”.
“The first example of that we saw was in the Donnygate scandal of 10 YEARS AGO”.
“The total and absolute corruption of our voting system through the establishment back in 2000 of a POSTAL VOTING SYSTEM”.
“But Labour’s failure in the North of England of course is even worse and even more serious than the POSTAL VOTING SCANDAL”.
“I think it’s just about one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in my lifetime IN THIS COUNTRY”
“Here in the North of England many of our target seats will be seats that are currently held by SITTING LABOUR MP’S”.
“We pose a threat to the ENTIRE BRITISH POLITICAL CLASS and I’LL DRINK TO THAT”
I THINK YOU GET MY POINT
That’s his style and it seems to work for him with his supporters but listening to a full key note where nearly every other sentence is ended with the same emphasis can feel a little monotonous.
That doesn’t totally detract from his skill in getting his point across as he knows how to own the stage through movement; he is gallant with gesturing and gives plenty of eye contact.
He makes up for his lack of vocal variety and grumpy demeanor through his relaxed ‘talking to his mates down the pub’ style.
What I found particularly interesting though was his choice to adopt such a whining approach at such an important conference. With just a few months left until the next General Election in 2015 personally I would have thought a far better route to rally support would have been through giving a more visionary and inspiring speech.
From the outside in this seemed to me to be just another opportunity that sadly so many politicians use to try to motivate others to action through the expression of anger, frustration and disappointment.
If I was sitting in the audience in Doncaster Race course I can’t help thinking that I would be looking to feel energized and exhilarated rather than deflated and depressed.
He’s not the first politician who has embraced this style of speaking though and I’m certain he won’t be the last.
Mindful Presenters have one thing in common, they are crystal clear before they stand up to speak exactly how they want to leave their audience feeling.
With that in mind I wonder what Mr Farage’s intention was in terms of how he wanted his audience to feel when he prepared that speech.
It sounded to me as though his intention may have been to leave them feeling sullen.
I wonder if that WORKED FOR HIM.
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Image: Courtesy of flickr.com
Watch the video here: