In politics, like the show business one is always campaigning for their next job. So your image and your perception is important to get your message through. Did you know in the spectrum of communication, your words are only 7% of your message, 38% is your non-verbal cues like your body language, the way your carry yourself etc, and the remaining 55% is how you look, this includes your outfit.
Politicians are the most versatile, powerful and affluent people in the world. They have to constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant in order to remain valuable. The public judges them superficially. From an image perspective, it is important for them to have the ‘total package’ that helps them connect with the public and secure the most desirable job.
When it comes to Image, what is the ‘total package’ ?
It is about how you bring your words to life as a leader. And this includes your body language and the way you carry yourself. It also includes your wardrobe, your expressions and gestures. The way you come across, your image, as a leader is beyond your words. Your visual image is part of it.
A leader who crafted a successful ‘total package’ is Barack Obama. His image was authentic.
Obama carried himself well. He communicated eloquently beyond the script. Moreover, he stood out because of his smile, his fluid motions and his succinct language.
Non-verbal communication skills are important for politicians. It’s in their benefit to develop them as they greatly impact their public perception, regardless of the words they use to communicate
Lessons form Australian Politics
In Australian politics, as seen during the Federal Election debate, the little things don’t go unnoticed. They add to your image.
Scott Morrison needed to stop nodding his head backwards, smile more and at the right moment, for instance. Contrary to his opposition leader, Anthony Albanese who needed to focus on his articulation. Some of his gestures and facial expressions could use some improvement (which could even be improved by practising in front of a mirror).
These non-verbal cues made Scott Morrison appear more assertive and Anthony Albanese as more empathetic. Posing the question to the Australian population – what kind of leader do we need in our current climate? An empathetic one or an assertive one?
Let’s face it, no matter who you are, everyone can do a little improving.
There’s no harm in admitting to your weaknesses if you plan to work on them.
Learning from History
King George The Sixth did this decades ago by improving his stutter.He was embarrassed by it when he would speak publicly. As a result, he tried multiple programs to improve his verbal skills and none of these worked. Ultimately, a speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue was employed who was able to improve his verbal communication. After a few sessions, he began to see results and immediately felt confident.
For this reason, he became an inspiring figure who many loved. People admire those who work hard to improve themselves and manage to break through.
Reinvention is the name of the Game
In order to be relevant, reinventing and improving yourself is vital. In the past, the primary means of communication was radio, television and newspapers. This has changed drastically with the rise of social media. Social media has given politicians a platform to directly engage with the public. It has provided them with a platform to stay revenant and valuable.
Traditional Media vs Social Media
A recent study co-authored by Maria Petrova and Ananya Sen found that political newcomers can get a significant boost in support by using social media. It’s a cost-effective and powerful tool for political campaigning. A significant perk of social media is that politicians can humanise themselves. It helps them express themselves beyond policy views. As a result, voters feel more connected to them – something Barack Obama has also been very successful at.
For example, the former U.S Democratic presidential contender Peter Buttigieg introduced his shelter dogs during his campaign to his 2 million Twitter followers. Similarly, U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren used her Instagram account to chat live with her supporters who made small contributions to her presidential campaign. Both of these instances demonstrate how politicians use social media to position themselves for their next job. As a result, they stay employed and relevant.
Politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs or any other leaders need to reinvent themselves occasionally remain relevant and valuable. In doing so, they must keep in mind their goals and objectives, they must stand out.
Creating an Authentic Image
So I ask you this, how are you going with the evaluation of your own image, personal brand and reputation? To get ahead, it’s important to question yourself often. Its a muscle that you can train.
Staying relevant requires learning. Therefore, when you learn to adapt faster and are open-minded about your image, you innovate very quickly.
Authentic leadership is a a skill, especially if you’re in politics. Therefore, harnessing it, will open doors for you.
Do you need help growing your authority and influence? A coach can help you can align your personal brand, image and reputation. They are committed to maximising an individual’s personal impact. They can help grow your influence and value in an ever-evolving business and political climate.
As American entrepreneur and philanthropist said,
“If I was still telling the same story I was saying 10 years ago, it would not be that interesting.”Marc Benoiff
Jon Michail, Image Consultant | Personal Branding Coach | Business and Personal Branding Strategist | Author | Group CEO and Founder, Image Group International |
Image Group International are Entrepreneurial Activists. Rebels With a Cause!
Jon Michail, Founder and award-winning Chief Imagemaker together with his team at Image Group International help executives and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and monetise their personal brands (online and offline). They help their clients by positioning them to stand out so they attract their ideal clients.
They are committed to maximising an individual’s personal impact, influence, and value in the ever-changing and disruptive business environment.
Image Group International is recognised as Australasia’s leading personal brand image advisory, with over 29 years of proven results.