Politicians engage their electorate with their vote winning voices. I don’t mean this is “The Voice” singing contest, but that a politician’s voice could help, or hinder winning votes.
Engaging with the electorate and voters is not just about being a great public speaker or schmoozer, success is also about the voice you have and how you use it. In this week’s Superstar Communicator podcast, I share 4 top tips to using your effectively as a politician. The podcast includes a recording of a live, very frenetic, interview on BBC Radio London where I was asked about politicians voices.
Politicians have to engage with their local electorate, in order to be elected/re-elected. It is more likely electorates will engage with a politician who has a similar accent, or one that is local to them. The Chancellor, George Osborne famously tried to make his accent less ‘posh’ by adding an ‘Estuary’ twang when he spoke, but it backfired because everyone laughed at him. Osborne is from a very privileged background and the only way to engage with mere mortals (like me) is to be engaging and be careful not to speak down at the electorate. David Cameron has also calmed down his posh accent, but not to the extent of Osborne’s.
They must have a voice that is audible and easy to listen to. A high pitched voice – rather like Margaret Thatcher’s before she had voice training, was difficult to listen to and to take notice of. Baroness Betty Boothroyd, on the other hand, has a low pitched voice naturally, and she used it to her advantage when she was the Speaker of the House.
When you speak you must be relaxed and avoid tension around your shoulders and neck area. If you are relaxed you are less likely to breathe shallowly, speak too fast or look flustered. In other words you will look in control and confident.
Finally, have a lot of energy when you speak. This is clearly demonstrated by Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, who has bags of energy, MOJO, VA VA VOOM and confidence. You can’t fail to notice her!
Do listen to the podcast and then consider how your local MP speaks. Is he or she making the most of their voice, or do they need to improve? Do they have a vote winning voice, or do you need to send them to me?
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