A Hypnotherapist has advised David Cameron about how to make the EU commission sit up and listen when he delivers an important speech later this week on Britain in Europe. The advice, given on the BBC this morning (listen again below) includes wearing funereal black, keeping eye contact with the audience, keeping the speech remarkably short (1 minute) and walking out at the end, rather than pose for the traditional photos. Andrew Newton’s advice is spot on – at least in terms of making an impression. He’s absolutely right that it would be a memorable moment of political theatre that would get the Eurocrats thinking.
But is it the right impression the circumstances? Absolutely not. Cameron is a politician who has already threatened to leave the EU unless he gets what he wants, but hasn’t got anywhere as the rest of his European colleagues have resented his stance and ganged up against him. Cameron’s tone has to be one of co-operation rather than castigation if he wants to be taken seriously in Brussels.
However there are useful points in Andrew Newton’s analysis which should be taken seriously if you have a big speech where you need to make an equally big impression:
1) Wear something eye-catching. That doesn’t mean to say anything gimmicky, just something that will grab the audience’s attention when you first walk on stage, giving you a head start.
2) Appear confident. It doesn’t matter if you are or not. The crucial thing is that the audience won’t believe you if you appear to be nervous. So fake it until you make it.
3) Keep it short and simple. Always a good idea in any kind of communication.
4) Give good eye-contact. This is also a non-negotiable aspect of a good speech. If you want to connect fully with your audience you have to look at them directly.
I doubt if Andrew Newton’s going to be hired by number 10 anytime soon. But perhaps he should consider branching out into theatre Direction. I’d go and watch his shows anytime.