Compassion For Mark Rutte

Mark Rutte Prime minister of the Netherlands had the cover story of every newspaper and news broadcast with his Correspondents Dinner speech.

The last few days we have been bombarded by analyses of his performance. Of course, I have professionally watched as well. De Beurs van Berlage has a nice setting, a nice attempt to copy ‘the look and feel’ of Rutte’s much respected colleague Barack Obama. And that’s exactly how it looked: an exact copy with Dutch values. It was nice to watch, as far as I’m concerned.

Public Speaking is a profession. Just like being a comedian is. We could see Dolf Jansen do what he does best. Where Mark Rutte was struggling not to look on his notes and was visibly clutching onto his safe and comfortable surroundings: the lectern, energetic Dolf was struggling to blend in and was clearly constrained.

His physical movements made me think of a dog that was tied down, but wanted nothing more than to go for a run on the beach. Desperately, he cried out to the directors: ”can I have more light here please? I can’t read my notes”. Poor Dolf. Dolf, if you get invited to speak at such a lovely convention again, don’t let your head down. Don’t let your notes tie you down. The best comedians speak freely. The King’s jester never needed a note. The fact that Rutte can’t crack a joke spontaneously, doesn’t mean that you, king of hilarious jokes that come from the heart, should be tied down and held back by something as a simple note? You were clearly suffering.

What can these two men learn from each other? I want Rutte to be free. I pledge for a general ban of lectern, pulpits and other side tables for speakers. The times of pulpits and rostrums are over. Congress organizers, Conference conveners: Stop it! Let us see the authentic speaker and release the tiger from its cage; free to move around.

Rutte finally reveals himself, was an overall remark at the CD. I don’t agree.
‘The body speaks so loud, I can hardly hear a word you say’
What we witnessed was lifeline behaviour. Leaders of The Netherlands, show yourself! Step away from your lectern and show us your true self. Doing so, will make your message clearer and it will come across as being more honest.

Comedians: claim your freedom. Don’t let commerce or politics tell you what to do when it comes to your profession.
A moment of silence in your speech, doesn’t mean you have to tie yourself up and cling onto the lectern. Your warm-up act can learn a lot from you.

I am all for humour and politics. I am all for self-mocking of politicians, business leaders, parents, teachers, and every one that is an example or role model for others.

It puts things in perspective. It makes the speaker more powerful.

I call upon all Dutch leaders M/F. Exile all lecterns from the work field as a place to hide. Stand up for what you stand for and let us see what you stand up for.

Who’s in?

In the meantime: compassion for Rutte. We all have our own profession in which we excel. He did the best he could do. Organizing a successful Correspondents Dinner takes time. No one walked up and took the stand before him. At least he tried. Congrats!