Ken Henry’s 7:30 ABC interview body language, deconstructed
During his interview with Leigh Sales (7:30, ABC TV) on 7 February 2019 , Ken Henry, grudgingly – with the blow-torch of negative scrutiny squarely trained on him – showed cracks in his arrogant self-presentation.
Henry’s initial, pained countenance, downward gaze and mumbling speech at the start of the interview, was akin to a shameful, sheepish schoolboy in the principal’s office having to explain his poor behaviour.
This opening was a counterpoint to his first words: ‘Good to be with you’. It was clear that Henry wasn’t feeling good to be with interviewer, Leigh Sales.
Leaving aside his true beliefs and feelings about his bank’s performance and the Royal Commission hearings,
here is further analysis of Henry’s face and body language, voice, words and feeling tone.
-THROUGHOUT the interview, with rare exception, Henry presented a monotonous, controlled voice tone and wooden, flat facial expression.
– HENRY’S word choice ‘it’(The Royal Commission) has been a useful exercise’ uttered with a dull affect and voice was more in the manner of a expert professor giving his intellectual critique on an esoteric topic.
There was a remarkable lack of feeling tone in his voice and face. This presentation was the polar opposite of a person, who genuinely empathised and felt the pain his organisation – on his watch – had caused his customers.
– CONVEYED through his facial expression, Henry seemed disgruntled at having to admit that it was appropriate for him and Andrew Thornburn to step-up and take accountability.
-THERE were several seemingly scripted comments. For example, ‘We are sorry, we are deeply sorry for’ was delivered with an unchanging cadence, contributing to lack of authenticity. ‘Every customer, every time and everywhere’ came across as a rehearsed soundbite.
– IN the middle section of the interview Henry interrupted a question from Sales and seemed irritated by the implication of the question.
– MR Henry’s comment that he was surprised by commentary that he was defensive and contemptuous at his Royal Commission appearance,
signals a significant, lack of self-awareness
of how his personal communication is perceived by other people.
ON reflection, perhaps Henry’s surprise is understandable. If you’ve spent your entire career at the very top echelons of government bureaucracy, and have been the subject of constant, obsequious adoration – reverence for your words, presence and mode of delivery, is what you expect.
IN response to Ms. Sales question: ‘Do you believe you’re leaving the National Australia Bank in better shape than you found it’, Henry was momentarily stunned. He paused, took an in-breath, emitted a vocalisation, and then smiled, before saying ‘Yes’. Though the word was ‘Yes’ Henry’s facial expression, vocalisation and pausing revealed he wasn’t convinced of his answer.
p.s. Check out this post entitled: ‘Kevin Rudd’s final speech as PM, part one. His mask finally slips’
Here is the LINK for the Rudd’s speech.