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The language of leaders

28th January 2014


I was lucky enough to attend a briefing the other week where Mario Monti spoke. The briefing was under Chatham house rules so therefore I’m unable to report on the content.

But what was very interesting was Monti’s personality. He was reserved in the way in which he spoke. It was sincere, not overly passionate and refreshingly natural. Monti is not a career politician he took over Italy at a time crisis.

As a Brit I’ve become accustom to vast numbers of media trained politicians giving incomplete answers when questioned. On the face of it they all have the same media trainer as well as that same patronising hand movement thing going on:

But my wider point is that it’s interesting to compare the various speaking styles of our leaders today.

Monti is reserved in the way he comes across. For example:

Cameron and Blair come across as sincere, honest and confident. You might not believe everything but it sounds good.

Then there is Obama. Just too cool for school. The one they all want to be like and sound like but can’t. Here is his Mandela Memorial speech. (Complete with the sign language intruder.)

Then of course there’s arguably the most successful modern day politician, Angela Merkel – who comes across as confident, very human but serious.

While many of the leaders seem to align with their countries stereotypes Monti seems to go against this trend. It is perhaps also refreshing that our leaders, at least in their presentation style, can come in many different shapes and sizes.



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