PMs and CEOs ... is great oratory essential?

By Abbie Stewart, 18 January 2017 – 0 comment
Images of Theresa May mid-speech

I rather like Theresa May - from what I've seen and read during her first six months in office she appears to have the key skills required to do the job: clear focus; vision; analytic intelligence; a willingness to lead and take responsibility ... along with many more.

However, whilst she's not a bad speaker, delivering her points clearly and precisely, she's obviously not a natural presenter and only comes across as OK.

So, on the one hand she has great skills but on the other she's just OK.

Which hand do you think most people will judge her on?

This same judgement applies to CEOs and those with aspirations to become one. They may have all of the skills required to do a superb job but many of their colleagues will judge them by how well they come over at the annual conference. "Not much a speaker ... " leads staff to think that their CEO can't be much of a leader either.

Everyone isn't a great orator, a loquacious speaker with honeyed tones and perfect timing ... but that doesn't mean they aren't excellent at their jobs, the thing they actually get paid for. Remember the abuse David Beckham got for his high pitched voice and poor speaking style? His speaking skills didn't matter too much when he scored that last gasp free kick against Greece in 2001 to take England through to the 2002 World Cup Finals. He was superb at doing his job whatever he sounded like in a post match interview.

A large part of my working life is spent helping clients to 'find their voice', to develop a style that works for them ... and with guidance, patience and trust all highly skilled professionals can be trained to become the 'excellent speaker' that colleagues and the public expect them to be.

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