The dictionary definition for gesture politics reads: “Any action by a person or organisation done for political reason and intended to attract public attention but having little real effect”. A recent example was the high profile use of Home Office Vans telling illegal immigrants to GO HOME!
David Cameron is no more guilty of gesture politics than the rest of them- Milliband, Clegg, Osborne, Balls-it’s a staple of political life.
Where he is the master is in his powerful, practised use of gesture when speaking. Continue reading
Most will agree that effective communication is much more than the words alone. While the formula that claims words on their own account for only 8% of the effect – with body language at 55%, expression/tone 35% – is disputed, the general principle holds. Body language matters! Continue reading
Tennis is a ‘natural’ when it comes to television. The shape of the court fits our screens. The camera slows the ball so we can take in the skills impossible to catch when courtside. We can anticipate where Federer is about to place the ball almost as soon as he does. Two performers can hold us enthralled for 3 hours or more.
And yet, in every hour the ball is in play for only 6 to 8 minutes! That’s a little over 15 minutes in a three hour match. So what keeps us so engaged? The body language. Djokivic bouncing the ball 15 times before serving, Nadal hitching his trousers, Federer twirling his raquet awaiting serve. We become hugely expert in reading their expressions and their body language.
We do not need to know the score, or to hear the commentary, to tell us which player is totally positive, performing with confidence, on the attack , winning the match.
It is the same for a pitch. The judges don’t need a score card or to hear your fine words. They can see, and sense, that you are winners. Or not.
It was back in the early sixties that television started changing the game for aspiring politicians. Success was less a function of clever policies and more a function of good looks, good hair and good body language. JFK , in the first television debates out scored ‘sweaty’ Nixon among viewers. The listening radio audience preferred Nixon.
Which of today’s stars are grateful this is the age of television? David Cameron, Bob Crowe (formidable, Alex Ferguson without the gum) Boris Johnson, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg (without television there would be no Clegg as we now know him or indeed a Coalition).
And which must regret that radio is no longer mainstream? Ed Milliband, David Milliband, George Osborne, Ed Balls (better unseen but still bullying) and of course Gordon Brown (he of the velvet voice).
One of the characterisics shared by the television groupies is Cameron’s knack of being seen as ‘comfortable in his own skin’. They are able even under intense public scrutiny to express themselves as naturally as they do in normal conversation with the same animated body language.
All of the radio heads would benefit from some wise words of Olivia Mitchell :The 5-step cure for boring body language
My last post talked about the winning attitude of the Aussies. In this second Test, that attitude is being tested to the full as England look set to take a lead.
An interesting comment was made by one of the expert TV commentators as an Australian bowler, the very wayward Mitchell Johnson, was taken off as the English openers scored off him at will.
The expert comment? “Now its upto him to give something back to the team”. He was not talking about his fielding, he was talking about his body language!
This “giving something back” is much the same in a pitch. It can be the impression created by members of the team who are not presenting that can make the difference.
Are they fully engaged in listening intensely to their speaking colleague ? Even though they have heard it before. Are they bringing totally commited energy to the table?
Or, are they going through the motions? Worrying about their own contribution? Or, worse still, relaxing now their part is over?
Instinctively, and inevitably, the audience picks up on body language. Do these people like each other? Will I like working with them?