Bill English my Media Communicator of the Year

15 December 2017

Bill English’s greatly improved media skills were a major reason why National won far more votes than any other party in September’s Election and why he is my Media Communicator of the Year.

Why was he so much better?

In two words, Body Language. I must admit that I had my doubts when he became leader. I always say that your leader needs to be the person with the best media skills and I didn’t think English was that person. He could be quite dry and not come across as very passionate.

But this all changed as the Election campaign rolled around. His biggest change was that he started to gesture far more with his hands. This made him come across as genuine and passionate about what he was saying. Few people realise that when you don’t gesture with your hands, your voice sounds very monotone. This is what English used to sound like, but it changed dramatically on the campaign as he started to gesture more.

What does this mean for you?

English showed us how dramatically someone can improve their media skills with a few adjustments. He has always been good at focusing on the message he wanted to get across, but sometimes that didn’t register with people because his body language didn’t grab their attention. It does now.

What this highlights is that you can also dramatically improve your media and presentation skills with a bit of work. You never know when you may need them.


To find out more about my media training workshops, contact

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

Add a comment1 Comment

Reply Leigh | December 15th, 2017 at 10:30pm
Yeah but he blatantly rode Joyce’s falsehood about Labour’s so called fiscal hole. I thought he was better than that and obscured what was an otherwise sound performance - he’s clearly not a natural though

Leave a comment

Fields marked * are required

My Latest Blog Posts

26 October 2023
Labour's costly campaign message mistake
12 October 2023
David Seymour's big mistakes
20 September 2023
Why Luxon won last night's debate

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our FREE ebook '5 Steps to Pain Free Media Interviews'

Get your copy now

Media Training NZ Limited
PO Box 105721
Auckland 1070
PO Box 36-251
Christchurch 8011
Email: Pete Burdon
Phone: 029 200 8555
Website by
Limelight Online