Why Anant Ambani Needs an Image Consultant
He needs no introduction, especially after his debut at Reliance 40th Anniversary Celebration. The young heir to India’s biggest conglomerate tried his first attempt at public speaking and unfortunately failed.
We commend him for his inspirational physical transformation. Not only that, standing in front of 50,000 people and speaking is no lesser feat, given the fact that public speaking is one of the top 10 fears of humankind. But then if you’re Anant Ambani, son of Mukesh Ambani, the bar has been set for you at the level of being excellent in everything you do.
Being born with a silver spoon is not always an asset, it comes with its own set of liabilities. People start looking up to you and start having expectations. These expectations are often created because of their predecessors or because of the family you are born in. Being a great orator, exceptional presenter, having a charming personality and social graces is a bare minimum expectation.
When expectations are not met, you face criticism. Most of the time, criticism is a product of disappointment when expectations fails to meet reality. Earlier criticism was expressed vocally now the medium has changed and memes are used to express disappointment. We saw that, when a descendant of India’s biggest political family couldn’t match the expectations created by his predecessors (few of the country’s most inspirational leaders).
But then there are people who did something about it. King George VI – The Reluctant King had a stutter issue, but when crowned as a King of the nation he underwent speech therapy. This 40th year celebration was a launch/debut for the young Ambani and efforts should have been put. When efforts were put in to make him physically fit, wear a classy suit, trim his beard and write an inspirational speech, why not work on the presentation.
Let’s see a few things that didn’t work for him:
- The Entrance:
There are many ways to make an entrance and stage lifts are the most dramatic of them all. Clearly shows that the idea was to reveal or launch Anant as the future of RIL. The drama faded within seconds and my attention went to how awkward this launch looked, thanks to Anant standing still with no expression and looking at the lift again and again, waiting for it to surface.
What could have been done: He could have been coached to acknowledge the cheering crowds through hand gestures. We Indians love desi gestures, just a Namaskar and hand wave would have sealed the deal.
- The Walk & Posture:
Reliance is India’s largest commercial giant, representing country on a global scale and Anant its future face. When I see a person, with slumped shoulders, head down, unbalanced stride… my stomach churns in uncertainty of the future of the company. The wobbly walk to the podium, touch down and push back makes me imagine an unstoppable train, not in the most positive way.
What could have been done: He could have been trained to stand tall, long, powerful strides, head held high and why not he has every reason to do so.
- Expressions & Gestures: Congruence is the key when it comes to non-verbal communication. Anant started on a very nice note with a big smile, making eye contact and using light tone. I think the 1st line was the only one he prepared and practiced. Later he started reading from the prompter with hands dead on the side, but suddenly big hand gestures were used towards the end. The expressions once relaxed and easy, turned into screaming, shouting or devouring type. The whole expression and gesture looked out of place, because of lack of congruence.
What could have been done: Congruence should have been achieved, by making him practice the speech over and over again. Practice trains the brain to align the thoughts with the words spoken and then the genuine expressions come naturally.
When Martin Luther King Jr, said I have a dream, thousands in front of him were immediately part of that dream. That’s the power of congruence.
- Few other things: Teeth alignment and smile correction can reduce the severity of expressions that has caught everyone’s attention. Teach him the basics of wearing a suit, like buttons to be unbuttoned while being seated, so that he doesn’t look so fixed and rigid.
Anant, is one of the leading future faces of the country and I want my leader to look influential, capable, responsible and trustworthy. The physical achievement is just half the battle won, he needs to work on his presence, I’m sure he is blessed with a wonderful personality.
So get him an Image Consultant, before he makes his second public appearance where his father doesn’t have to sit and watch him nervously (read, adjusting cufflinks – one of the biggest sign of nervousness in men).
A Well Wisher!
Sonia Dubey Dewan
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