As I watched the opposition parties speak to Singaporeans during rally to pull in as much vote as possible, I can’t help but cringed inwardly and slap my hand on my forehead. You can watch two of them here to get what I mean.
I am not scrutinizing the content, of course some of the contents have room for improvement but I am critiquing something very basic which is public speaking. I might innocently (and some say naïve) believe that the speaker standing at the podium would be for the people’s welfare and best interest. But how come I don’t feel confident about them? Why can’t I see any one of them as my prime minister or even someone in power serving my needs? One can argue that I am watching all the rallies from YouTube (I’m not in Singapore) and they do better in real presence, but I can argue back with it’s the world of social media these days, and if you can’t even convince me on the tiny screen, what makes you think I want to buy an air ticket to fly down, squeeze with thousands and hear you speak?
It has to be the charisma or in this case, lacking of it, that doesn’t deliver the confidence that suppose to boost morale and lead us believe in that the speaker can do wonders. Below are the list of observations:
From the bottom of…
For goodness sake’s, please speak from the heart and not some prepared speech that you have rehearse for the millionth time. There is no oomph if you memorize word for word, it’ll just make you look like a student reciting their thank you speech during teacher’s day. Or Britney lip syncing at MTV awards 2007 (yes, we can still remember that).
Leave the papers
The one movement that made me cringed badly and slammed my laptop shut is watching you reciting from a piece of paper, or worse a stack of papers. Seriously? You are talking to your people, the people that you want to lead, you want to make eye contact and not having us see the top of your head every time you bend your head to scan through the words.
Have a note
Okay, you are going to talk for 3 hours, I’m allowing you a piece of small note with only key points not more than 10 to cover for 3 hours. In case you lose track of your train of thoughts, you may refer to the notes. Just don’t do it once too often. But don’t drag your time on the stage to recover your train of thoughts. It’ll make you look nervous and unprepared.
Please project your voice and not rely solely on microphones and loudspeakers. A good resounding deep voice will work wonders. And enunciate your words, don’t slur, don’t mumble, it’s hard enough to strain my ears across the crowd to hear you talk, it’s even agonizing to have to make out your words.
Don’t stand so stiff
Don’t limit yourself from the wooden box unless you need to hold on to that to support your shaking knees. The stage is there, you won’t fall off the platform. Walk, interact, use body gesture to punch in the points you want to emphasize. Don’t let the podium stand in between you and the audience. Wireless microphones aren’t that expensive.
When someone declared they are well prepared for their speech and they fumbled during that makes me want to laugh. Yes, mistakes do happen. But you don’t make the same basic mistakes at every of your rallies. Hire professionals to teach you how to project your voice, how to walk the stage, body language and how to ooze charisma like Joseph Prince. That is before you even draft your content in your speech. And please, if you hate public speaking, you shouldn’t be in politics.
On a side note, during one discussion I had with my friends before the Singapore General Election, I came to realization an amusing fact. All charismatic leaders/speakers are not running in politics, in fact, they are in the business world or in religion. Look at Steve Jobs, his presentations was sought after so much that there was a black market demand to WWDC to watch him on stage live.
Look at Joseph Prince from Singapore’s New Creation Church, the charismatic senior pastor who simply mesmerize you with his speech, allegedly is the 10th richest pastor in the world (according to richestlifestyle.com).
Look at Anthony Robbins, after almost a decade, he is still selling books, still selling seminars. They are at the peak of public speaking.
On another side note, I admit I didn’t really watch any of the PAP rallies. Now before any haters shoot me down, not that I want to criticize the opposition parties and support the incumbent party, I just see there are so much room for improvement and hopefully one of them could come across this article and take serious considerations to amend the low hanging mistakes. I look forward to watching better speeches in the next General Elections. You have 4 years to prepare for it.
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