Measured, believable speaking from Union Leader Alex Claassens

 In Body language, Delivery, Environment, Facial expression, Learning from Luminaries, Luminary, Media, News, Owning space, Q&A, The Winning Voice

Leaving aside whether you agree or disagree with the industrial strike action taken by the Rail, Tram & Bus Union (RTBU) led by New South Wales Branch Secretary, Alex Claassens – here is my analysis of the first two minutes of this 31/8/22 media conference clip of the body language, voice and speaking cadence of Claassens, against the benchmark of an credible, believable, inspiring senior officer of a major trade union.

Overall, Claassens’s measured, unrushed speaking cadence combined with the energy he projected through his voice, was impressive. Claassens came across as

not being afraid to pause, and as feeling deserving of the time he was taking.

As well, when discussing the abuse his members have endured (at the 1:15 – 1:22 minute segment) Claassens, who was clearly upset by the abuse (signalled by a pained facial expression and a change in vocal quality) quickly recaptured his composure.

Over the months of the dispute Claassens’s has consistently conveyed the above standard of communication – an attribute of all credible, believable leaders. Thanking the journalists for their attendance, at the start of the conference, was a mark of professionalism.

An area of improvement for Claassens is to not look downward when speaking and when taking pauses in his speaking.

Own the Conversation

As I’ve shared in numerous prior posts, if you are perceived as rushing when you speak, that is junior behaviour. If you are perceived as ‘owning’ time when you speak, that is senior behaviour.

Implementation suggestion.

  1. Watch the first two minutes of the clip with the above analysis in mind.
  2. Within the next seven days choose a safe interaction. For the first 15 seconds of your speaking, talk with 10% more measure, than you normally would. Focus on the feeling of not being afraid to pause; the feeling of deserving the time you’re taking. After the 15 seconds, continue speaking with your normal cadence.
  3. Reflect on the impact of doing this task, and reflect on its impact on the audience.

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