Kevin Rudd’s body language reveals it’s all about him.

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

“It’s still all about Kevin.” This was Nick Xenophon’s apt comment about Kevin Rudd’s farewell speech in the Australian Federal Parliament last week. With the melodramatic speech, Rudd revealed how much he is taken with himself.

A sample of Rudd’s smaltz included:

– A self-congratulatory: “It’s (the PM’s job) the hardest job in the land”. 

– The patronizing: “Having served as Opposition leader, Bill (Shorten) – it’s going to be hard.”

Glibly quoting Martin Luther King: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

There are two kinds of leaders. One: a leader (in this case ‘leader-of-state) who is electorate-focused. Two: a person who is leader-focused. Rudd is clearly in the second camp.

Rudd, from 2007 to last week’s exit from the public stage, treated the electorate, the media, his colleagues and seemingly all others – as his plaything. He always knew best. He always saw himself as the smartest person, in any room. Rudd’s teary, self-absorbed speech, will be a lasting memory of him.


p.s. Regarding Tony Abbott’s refusal to apologise to Indonesia this week, here are my thoughts. Though Abbott has improved in controlling his public displays of aggressiveness and irritation this year, he still has a latent, aggressive, macho streak in him. Abbott is an intelligent person. Yet he is also ‘wooden’ overall. That is, he is wooden in how he thinks, in how he physically moves his body, and in how he speaks.

This aggressive, macho streak together with his woodenness, coalesced in his defiant stand this week. Tom Allard writing in the Sydney Morning Herald PM’s belligerent stand stirs troubled waters (SMH 20/11/13) makes telling comments about Abbott. Allard writes how Barack Obama deftly handled the Angela Merkel’s phone spying matter. (Obama is the polar opposite to wooden Abbott, in his fluid thinking, physical movement and in his speaking). Allard also writes, “A little diplomatic finesse could have defused the issue”. Unfortunately finesse is not in Tony Abbott’s vocabulary or in his character. Here is the link to Allard’s article: http://bit.ly/1fcCJEw


I’d love to know what ideas and techniques you’re using – in how you listen, speak and present yourself and your spoken messages – that are paying off for you. Maybe an idea or technique has helped you deliver a winning boardroom pitch presentation, or you’ve convinced your boss to take a risk on you, or you’ve inspired your direct reports to do something that didn’t believe they could do.

Please send me your best practices so I can share them with others. What are your tough challenges in listening, speaking and presenting? – send them to me and I’ll do my best to help. My direct email is: michael@kellyspeech.com.au

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