I’m on a quest to visit every local government council meeting in the Perth metropolitan area. There are 29. On each expedition I will write about what I find.
The third expedition on my quest was the City of Swan
15 councillors – Mayor elected by the councillors.
A very large area – 1042 sq kms. Population 155653 Total revenue $198m Employees 688
It’s really interesting to tally the amount of times each councillor speaks. 2 councillors spoke 14 times, 1 spoke 13 times. 2 spoke twice and one did not speak at all. This is not earth-shattering information, but it does tend to give an indication of the differences in contribution to the meeting. It is my experience over the years however, that the councillors who speak less both in frequency and duration, tend to get more support when they do speak.
The mayor, Kevin Bailey was very business like and ran the meeting somewhere between the silk glove and the iron fist. He seemed to know when each approach was appropriate – mostly the silk glove. He opened the meeting with the reading of the disclaimer and the way it was read left no doubt as to who was in charge of the meeting.
I was surprised that there was no formal acknowledgement of country at the beginning of the meeting – something that has happened at every other council meeting I have attended. There was a brief acknowledgement when NAIDOC week was announced a little way into the meeting.
While I was sitting in the public gallery waiting for the meeting to start I was pleasantly surprised when the manager of governance came to each person and explained how the meeting worked. A nice touch.
The most noticeable aspect of this meeting was the difference in speaking skills of the councillors particularly influencing and persuasion skills. The Deputy Mayor, David Lucas was the standout performer in this regard. He was clear, concise, said what needed to be said with examples, and sat down without repetition.
My purpose in these posts is not to highlight areas of weakness or challenge, rather to look for the positives and spotlight them.
David Julian Price – Speaking Coach and Meetings Expert