As the Brexit madness continues, Theresa May has decided to address the nation via video, in order to communicate her ‘vision’ for the future. This was quite a good move by the communications dept of 10 Downing Street. However, as ever, there are ways this message could have been even more effective.
It was very powerful to place Mrs May in a sofa, looking as though she was having an informal chat from her living room. She was addressing the Nation as a leader, from one living room to the nations living room. And the message was short, clear, focused and concise.
But again it is May’s performance AND her voice that let her down. Now I have spoken a lot about this, and if you don’t know, I have even contacted May to offer my help and support to improve her performance and voice, to be told that this is ‘already covered’. Well it isn’t and if anyone from Number 10 is reading this, I am still available, but take note of my feedback.
The Voice: This is still causing problems. There are a number of reasons for this. Her posture continues to create problems for her, in particular her tendency to stick her neck and in particular, her chin forward when she speaks (when she is nervous). This causes tension in her neck and closes the trachea a little. It results in tension around her voice box and in time vocal tiredness and damage. Her voice is now very weak; I would suggest she holds a lot of nervous tension in her voice, hence it being very vulnerable. She should be doing a lot of physical and vocal warm ups before a speech like this, to allow her to relax more and strengthen the voice.
Sitting posture: Sitting on a sofa can be a challenge if it is one of those that sink. Although someone has put a pillow behind her, she is still having to sit back and sinks into the sofa. She is a tall lady, so it isn’t as though this is due to her being short, but the design of the sofa. She would make more impact if she were sitting forward not back into the sofa. It would make her more impactful and would ease some of the tension in her neck. I always recommend looking at sitting posture when focusing on presentation skills and performance: slight differences have a major impact on how you are perceived by others.
Camera angle: The angle of the camera is awkward; May has to turn round slightly and of course this adds to the tension in the neck. It also looks slightly awkward and forced rather than unnatural. And what is it about the glass of water in full view? Really!
There are of course other points: I could write a paper on this, but these simple points are immediate changes that could really increase your impact when you are speaking in a video or in real life.
So Theresa May, next time you do a Brexit Video, get me in to assist you.
If anyone is interested in working with me contact me.