On the shelves of the bookstores in Sydney airport yesterday I came across a book titled “Revenge of the Ruddbot”. An analysis of the time the Kevin Rudd spent as Prime Minister. Whilst I’m not going to enter into a political debate here, we will take a brief look at Kevin Rudd the speaker before he was ousted as Prime Minister and Kevin Rudd the speaker during his final hours as Prime Minister.
For the last couple of years while Kevin was either leader of the opposition and until recently Prime Minster his speeches were functional. They remained on message, but devoid of a sense of passion. Kevin would often stand and deliver a speech full of compelling logic to his supporters, but he rarely evoked feeling or emotion from his audience. There was almost a sense of lecturing during his speeches. He had a speaking persona, which from some accounts was different to the personable and conversational Kevin Rudd in a one on one situation.
Contrast this with the raw and unbridled passion displayed on the night Julia Gillard sat in his office and challenged him for the Prime Ministership. He faced the media and gave a passionate speech to Australia outlining his achievements and successes. Many commentators later reflected it was his best speech. With that speech he connected and communicated with his audience better than he had at any time previously. Australia understood Kevin and his message! Unfortunately for Kevin it was too late – he’d already lost the support he needed.
Kevin Rudd is a very public example of what many speakers suffer with – differing speaking and real life personas. As speakers we need to be authentic, and reflect our personalities honestly and authentically when we speak to an audience. It takes a level of comfort with public speaking to have the confidence to be you on stage. When you do allow your personality to shine through on stage you’ll be rewarded with a greater understanding and appreciation from an audience that senses an authentic speaker on stage.