How do you control your message?

When Mr Miliband spoke for over an hour – without notes! – he must have thought that this memory feat alone would secure positive support and endorsement for his personal brand. Now, he knows better.

Let’s look briefly at the main components of his message:


This largely forms the “context” of the message, and how receptive his audience is. We were expecting a lot of him, perhaps unfairly, and while his ability to speak without notes is impressive, it is not enough. The audience expected more. Or at least, something different and distinctive.


Mr Miliband is not Mr Obama. He is not a naturally gifted orator, so perhaps he should have compensated for this with more (selective) passion, more authenticity, more stillness, and occasionally just clearer emphasis.


Non-verbal communication, or body language, is absolutely critical to getting your message across. This is often how credibility and belief are instilled and communicated. He could have done better.


Not much to distract the eye here, so the previous two points are even more critical to success.


This is where he put most of  his effort. His focus on memory clearly weakened his performance in other areas. To then actually forget whole sections of the speech [Deficit. Immigration…] exposed his preoccupation with “deliver this script”, rather than “tell this truth”.


So, your message is NEVER about just the words, or the content. It is a combination of different factors, and all of these need to harmonise if you want to create the memorable impact that Mr Miliband was clearly trying to achieve at his party’s conference. If speaker prompts could have helped him optimise his performance, then he should have used them.

Of course it is easy for us to be wise(r) after the event. For his sake, let’s hope this is a statement of fact, not sentiment.

If you want to convince someone of something, you really need to think, prepare, practise, and then deliver. Only then can you craft and deliver your message to maximum effect. 


[The views expressed here are those of the writer, and should not in any way be taken as a political opinion (!) or reflect the views of ContentETC. Having said that, please feel free to enter our Caption Competition and win yourself a FREE elearning course by applying your own creative skills.)

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