Here’s how you can learn from M Turnbull’s speaking example

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

female with welcoming armsLast week I was interviewed on ABC Sydney radio 702, by Tracey Spicer, on the body language and speaking of Malcolm Turnbull.

That interview as well as recent analysis of Turnbull’s speaking prior to and after he assumed the role of Prime Minister got me to thinking.

Is there a code for how Turnbull speaks and presents himself and his ideas? Could someone like you learn the code? Could you be as good a speaker as Malcolm Turnbull?

Whether or not you can match Turnbull’s speaking prowess – you can certainly improve, as a speaker.

Here are 5 steps to start the improvement process:

1. Treat everyday interactions as a chance to improve your speaking.

On page 80 of the book 21 things to do now to get a job, by Paul Slezak and Lynn Gribble, there is a powerful, practical way to improve your speaking confidence. Namely: “Go to a coffee shop, look someone in the eye you don’t know and smile and say hello (no they won’t think you are weird).

Ask the person, to make you a sandwich that is not on the menu board. Assert your needs now and today”.

(I also suggest that you use a confident, slightly louder-than-normal voice for this exercise.)

2. “When in doubt strike it out”

This is a line from Bob Carr, former foreign minister of Australia. In 2008 I worked with Bob on an audio programme entitled Choice Voice. Lessons from great speaking voices. In Choice Voice Bob’s elaboration of ‘When in doubt strike it out’ message is: “If a sentence doesn’t advance your case or your key message, drop it. The tighter it is the better.”

A practical way to ‘strike it out’ is to use the following phrase when you think you’re rambling: “Let me leave it there’.

3. Use the Open – Middle -Close speaking structure

Open – Middle- Close is the deep structure for any type of interaction, meeting, presentation. A easy way to practice Open-Middle-Close is when you need to ask a question or get some information from someone in your office. Here’s an example:

Open:  “Andy – got a moment?”

Middle:  “I wanted to let you know I’ll get you that report by 4:30pm today

Close: “Thanks”

4. Inject energy in your voice

Energy is 70% of a job. If you don’t have it be nice. You need to inject energy in your voice.

The ‘YA, YA, YA technique is one I use with clients to help them increase energy in their voices.

Here’s an explanation of the technique. Imagine that you’re eight years of age in a school yard taunting another child with Nya, Nya, Nya – Nya, Nyaa, Nya chant. That chant is ugly and nasal but it does have energy.

Spinning off from that the Nya, Nya voice, the technique is to keep its energy and shape it to a YA, YA, YA hook phrase that you say inside your head and then inject the energy of it, into the words you speak.

Imagine you have a small whip and you could ‘whip’ your voice sound to the person you’re speaking to, and then ‘whip back’ their attention. (to be clear you don’t say the YA YA YA aloud).

5. ‘Own’ and occupy space with your body

Turnbull ‘owns’ and occupys space very well. If you get to watch him at the despatch box in the Australian Parliament notice how he ‘owns’ the box and the area around it.

A way to ‘own’ and occupy space is to greet a person, open a meeting or presentation with expanded arms and open palms in front of your body. (The above image is a good example of this body language.)

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: In the next seven days, trial one of the above points. In addition, teach the technique to someone else. You don’t really know something until you can teach it to some one

p.s. If you want to go deeper into upgrading your personal communication impact, please click the ‘Executive personal communication coaching’ button below, which describes the process I conduct with my clients.

Check out this Daily Telegraph article with my body language analysis of former Australian PM, Kevin Rudd

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Showing 2 comments
  • AndrewCharlton

    Impressive information here about good a speaker. I like this information about it. I don’t have any experience in this field. I am new. I want to be a good voice over. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Michael Kelly

    You’re welcome Andrew – Thanks for your feedback.

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