I tend to be one of these voters who do not pay much heed to the media shenanigans of our politicians in the main. In fact I play a game to see how little of the election coverage I can manage before polling day. I prefer to make my decision based on what is contained in party manifesto's rather than sound bites, though I fear even these are little more than rhetoric.
However this year, the little I have inadvertently seen on TV, has caught my attention from a public speaker's point of view. Admittedly I enjoy the more amusing incidents, the strange hand gestures, the head waggling, various grimaces, wardrobe mishaps or (and I really can't think how else to describe it) the girning.
These front men from the various parties have obviously been coached to within an inch of lives on how to present their points.
The old classics all professional speakers are taught such as the open stance to make you welcoming to your audience, open hand gestures so as not to appear aggressive, eye engagement to show you are connecting are all clearly evident. Then there are others that are familiar but really come to the fore in the world politicians inhabit: asking of names so you get whoever might be questioning you to warm to you (doesn't seem to work for them often). Making points in triplets (humans seem to be hardwired to like things in 3's) and repeating the question before answering (it buys you time to think of your answer) I can also see clearly this time.
Even the gaffs are informative from a professional speaker's point of view, though my toes have curled a number of times. I didn't think Cameron's 'pumped up' speech really suited him, attacking your audience as Farage did is never a good idea and who on earth dreamt up the Miliband interview with Russell Brand and decided that trying to use 'hip' language was the route to go?!
The two biggest things I have found missing are probably the most important I was taught by my mentor: Be Genuine, Be Unique.
I am just not feeling this from them. Oh yes, they are playing a part, acting how they think we want to see them but I don't want a chameleon running the country thank you. I would prefer to see or feel the evidence of careful thinking, of honesty, of truly caring about the welfare of the people they will come to govern.
Ah well, I wonder where I can catch a boat to this idyllic land I can but dream of.....
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