Don’t be Afraid to be Who you Are
It’s political party conference season in the UK, the high point of which (depending on your perspective) is the rousing party leader speech.
Today was the turn of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
Ed is something of the public speaking Renaissance man.
By this I mean he used to be appalling and now he’s much, much better.
But for me the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
Whenever I watch Ed speak now I cannot help but see the public speaking coach and scriptwriters ‘behind’ him.
There is now something about his presenting style that lacks authenticity. And authenticity matters (especially in politics).
He’s textbook-perfect on gesture, pause and tonality. But still, I don’t quite believe he’s not battery-operated.
Like a puppet (albeit an extremely life-like one) someone else is pulling the strings to ensure he says all the right things in all the right places.
It makes me feel uncomfortable. I just don’t buy into it.
I hope that the good work will continue, but that he’s being coached into being a little more Ed-like. Mannerisms are endearing and memorable. Something of the lost lamb is gone and with it some of the credibility. Politics aside, I miss it. Because a truly authentic speaker is so much more watchable.
You may never be required to speak at party conference, but whether you’re talking at a team meeting, presenting to the board or speaking at a conference, don’t be afraid to be who you are.