Sharon Leifer, Clarity Media Trainer
NAB Chairman Dr Ken Henry and CEO Andrew Thorburn have both resigned following criticism in Kenneth Hayne’s final report of the royal commission into banking.
‘I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned….
More particularly, I was not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly,’ he said.
While Commissioner Hayne’s conclusion was based on a range of evidence, their performances before the inquiry were breathtaking, and not for the right reasons. You can see for yourself how what Dr Henry and Mr Thorburn said when they appeared before the inquiry, and the way they said it, lead to this damning criticism. Watch their responses and ask yourself what impression does their unpreparedness and apparent unwillingness to answer questions, reluctant body language and lack of eye contact make on you?
To be an effective spokesperson you cannot underestimate how important it is to think about what you will say before you are put on the spot, especially how to respond to difficult questions. In a crisis situation, where your reputation (personal and organisational) is at stake, you have to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and show that you ‘get it’. If you don’t demonstrate that you understand why people are concerned, they lose confidence in you.
You also always need to be acutely aware of your body language. Face the person asking the questions and make eye contact to demonstrate openness and respect. Defensive body language tells its own story.
Being aware of how your audience sees you is a basic communication skill. Getting it wrong, especially in high stakes situations like a royal commission, can carry enormous consequences, however experienced and senior you are.
Crisis communication training is about how to safeguard your reputation and your brand.