I turned on rolling news today, as I often do when I want statements of fact repeated to me as if I was born with no capacity for memory, and I saw live coverage of a press conference where no one was speaking. The coverage, and the newsreader, were focused around someone’s statement, and this was so important they’d decided it was perfectly acceptable to film a room in which nothing was happening, ready for the person at the centre of it all to speak.
What’s happened? I thought. Cameron’s resigned? We’re officially out of money? They’ve opened up some sort of vortex with the large Hadron Collider and they can’t get it shut? No. None of those. David Beckham, international man of mystery, footballer, model, and let’s face it, business man, and icon, has signed up with French footie team Paris St Germain. No vortex or anything.
So maybe this was all blown out of proportion by the media a little bit, but hey it wasn’t bad news – I’m not complaining! (Well maybe a little). But what I found really interesting was watching Beckham. Experienced and cool in front of the media, he isn’t rattling with charisma or razzmatazz, and he certainly wasn’t when he started his career. Remember the younger Beckham, with his floppy boy-band hair and inability to speak before others? Shy and innocent, it was his talent on the pitch that caught the world’s attention, rather than his personality off it. In fact when you look at how he’s grown – naturally into a confident, but never over the top man, you can’t help but think he’s probably quite a down to earth sort of chap – and indeed a bit of a National Treasure.
Through media training, personal growth, and experience over many years, Beckham has certainly evolved in communication terms. He’s never going to present a TED talk, and he probably has no ambition to act or present, but he has an incredible personal brand built on his achievements, enhanced by a much-improved public demeanour and easiness. It just shows you that communication training and growth is important for all.