Tony Abbott’s body language and 28 second silence clip explained

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

Tony Abbott may become Prime Minister of Australia. Leaving aside the policies and ideas of Abbott, here is my analysis of how he presents himself and his ideas – in terms of body language, speech and manner – consistent with that of a leader of a state who is a top performer.

The analysis is based on Abbott’s public presentation of himself since becoming leader of the opposition.

Rating of Tony Abbott’s body language, speech and manner

– Overall rating as a leader of state: 5.5/10

– One word description: Pugilistic.

– Lacks a projection of an over-arching bearing, vision and world view.

– Physical carriage of his body is in a swaying, side to side manner, similar to a boxer about to enter the ring for a prize fight.

– Speaking voice is unengaging. The voice is monotone and flat with a halting cadence, punctuated with ‘uhm’ and other vocalisations.

– Lacks verbal options and easily provoked when under pressure. An example of this was his performance in a Seven Network, Parliament House interview.

Abbott was unable to speak for 28 seconds, and projected a menacing face and body language to the interviewer. It appeared, with his repetitive head nodding and close proximity to the interviewer that Abbott was struggling to contain himself from being physically violent.

Here is a clip of the interview:


If I was coaching Abbott, my feedback would be as follows:

– Lighten up. Take your job seriously but take yourself less seriously.

– Project dignity when under pressure. Understand that he/she who loses their cool – loses.

– Have the courage to offer an aspirational vision for the future of Australia, her people and for the world (versus focusing on political point-scoring).

– Stand up and sit up straight (versus hunching over). Walk with a straight, forward moving (versus swaying) gait.

– Project relaxed (versus tense) energy in your face and upper body.

– Trust yourself to let your ideas flow (versus editing your utterances before speaking them). This will reduce the ‘uhm’ interjections and the halting speaking manner.

– Add variety to your voice. As a metaphor for variety, think of your voice as the wind and your audience as sailors on the open seas. If the wind (your voice) is varied, the sailors (your audience) will be alert and will pay attention to the wind (your voice and your messages).

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