The election is now in full swing with the main parties publishing their manifestos. The stakes have been put in the ground for debate, squabbling, ranting, mud throwing and becoming personal. Interesting times.
Yet the campaigns have already been out in force and I find it particularly interesting that Theresa May is being ‘disruptive’ with the style of campaigning. Previously, the style was very media focused: with staged ‘appearances’ with supporters waving placards. This proved to be giving the wrong impressions of popularity. The polls (and that is another blog) showed that it was a very close race, yet on the night the results proved different. The glossy, polished appearances gave another impression on the media.
It was also revealed that the Conservatives had a team of professional supporters who were bused to every Cameron appearance to have a friendly crowd. It was interesting that Theresa May revealed she would be disrupting previous formats – although it would be interesting to see if she changes strategy in the next couple of weeks. Her philosophy is to meet ‘real’ people with mix and mingle sessions and even door to door campaigning.
It takes a brave politician and leader to do mix and mingle sessions and in particular door to door campaigning; the media is waiting to see when there are embarrassing situations for May; where the electorate are either rude or ignore her. But I respect her for doing something different. It really takes nerves of steel to deal with certain situations, and in particular abusive voters – as many a political animal has found. And as for the media picking up on those incidents….. It will be interesting if she reverts to type by hiding from ‘real people’ as the campaign progresses, particularly if there is a gaffe! Also, it will be interesting to see if the ‘crowd’ public speaking opportunities are stage managed or whether anyone is able to attend. Presumably when there are major protesters or hecklers we will have our answer.
SO: with regards our #electionsuperstars celebrations and marking, let’s spend some time reflecting on how well (or otherwise) Mrs May is doing as a superstar communicator during the campaign, using the Five areas of being a superstar communicator and scoring out of 5.
Performance. Mrs May has presence as a steady hand. She might not be as charismatic as some other politicians, but for many people she is coming across as trustworthy. Her performance is clear. 4/5
Audience: I suspect she has a hand picked audience for the public speaking engagements, BUT I suspect her researchers haven’t hand picked audiences when she does the door to door canvassing so she doesn’t necessarily know her audience. In fairness, doing door to door campaigning will mean she gets to know different audiences as time goes on. 3/5
Preparation. The key behind Theresa May’s success is preparation. She will ensure she knows who she is meeting (if known), know what she’s going to say and have practiced. I have no doubt she has spent time training in public speaking and impact. I also suspect her team are drilled to fully inform her of any information. 5/5.
Voice. Theresa May’s voice and spoken usage has been worked on. Some people claim she speaks like Margaret Thatcher, but I suspect this is only because she is another female leader. If I am being very picky, she has a flutter in the voice caused by a little tension (I suspect from a posture issue). However she speaks clearly, her diction is good. She speaks with clarity and variation. An impressive speaker. 4/5
Content. As May is so well prepared, she has set messages she wishes to share with her audience. She and her researchers have worked out a clear message that she is the right person to negotiate Brexit for the country. The main message has clarity and easy to take in. She also has arguments prepared to discuss this. It will be interesting to see what happens on BBC Questiontime when other politicians and a TV audience ask her questions! 4/5