Malcolm Turnbull’s example of projecting certainty

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

Engraved Word Hope

People will believe your certainty. They may not know if an idea is good or not. But they will believe how certain you are, that it is a good idea.

Leaving aside whether you are a Liberal, National, Labor, Green, or other political supporter, or apolitical. Leaving aside Malcolm Turnbull’s well documented arrogance. Leaving aside what success he will have as Australia’s Prime Minister –

the press conference Turnbull delivered this past Monday afternoon, in announcing his request to Tony Abbott for a leadership ballot, was one of the best short presentations (6:50 minutes) of a leader of any stripe in the last 15 years of Australian public life. I scored the presentation 9.5/10, against the benchmark of an inspiring leader of state.

The overarching reason for why the presentation shone, was due to Turnbull’s projection of certainty – conveyed through his facial expression, body language and gestures, words and feeling tone.

We want certainty in a leader and we want genuine passion. We want emotional identification, and an overarching bearing and view – and that was what Turnbull delivered. He came across as a person who had genuine hope for the future of Australia and her people.

Other analysis of the of the presentation:

– At the start of the presentation Turnbull’s serious face aligned with the tenor of the occasion. His words were measured and unhurried. It was as if he were laying ‘brick upon brick’ in the construction and prosecution of his case.

– At the  1:15 minute mark he ‘shifted up a gear’ in his voice energy and pace, attracting the ear. This change in pace, separated the somberness of the occasion and the past (and in effect, Tony Abbott and his leadership) from the present and the future.

He paired this energy with optimistic language (for example  ‘enormous opportunity’) while he occupied and ‘owned’ the physical space in front of his body with ‘punched’ arm and hand gestures.

– He spoke simple sentences (eg. ‘We need advocacy, not slogans’, ‘We need a new style of leadership’).

– His increase of voice energy and strong, definite gestures when attacking Bill Shorten, was extremely well delivered.

– At the 3:05 mark he once more increased his vocal loudness and speed of speech together with strong gesturing, with words of hope for his Party and what it could do for the country. (“This is what you need to be a successful economy in 2015″).

– He held wide open arms with the words of (‘We need an open government”.)

– Turnbull closed the presentation strongly, speaking short sentences, starting with (“Remember this . . .”).

It was a masterful, articulate performance, delivered without notes, with no tripping over words or misspeaking.

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Choose a 45 second section of the Turnbull presentation. Learn the words verbatim.

With a video camera repeatedly record yourself and watch the playback until you can deliver the section with a skill level matching Turnbull’s, while putting your own identity stamp on it. Doing this will make you a better speaker.


Check out this prior post on ‘Perceived genuine passion sells’

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  • Bren Murphy

    Really appreciate how you have shared the power of short sentences – too often I drift into long sentences and they become less convincing.

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