Paulo Guedes begins to learn that fish die by mouth – Reinaldo Polito


If we knew how many and how many times our words are misinterpreted, there would be much more silence in this world
Oscar Wilde

Along with ministers Tarcísio Gomes, Tereza Cristina and Sérgio Moro, Paulo Guedes stands out in the Bolsonaro government. Even before winning the elections, the president relied on his “Posto Ipiranga” to gain credibility in economic matters. Not to mention that he was responsible for convincing Moro to accept the invitation to occupy the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

In addition to the knowledge and respectable curriculum, his ministry figures are admirable – the economy is doing well. Inflation well below the center of the target, the lowest interest rate in history, falling unemployment, the country’s increasingly favorable risk ratings, optimism of businesspeople on the rise. It’s just joy. These results left Paulo Guedes at a level of prestige so high that, perhaps, it went up a little in his head.

It is difficult to maintain humility

No matter how focused a person is, it is difficult to keep humility and down to earth when you receive compliments wherever you go. The minister has been applauded here and abroad. All of his entries have been praised even with reverence. In these circumstances, vanity may have spoken louder and made the minister lose track of the danger.

A little fear of facing the public is essential for the speaker to avoid saying what he should not. When the heart beats a little harder, some butterflies fly in the stomach and the hands sweat, the organism is better prepared for the clashes of life. The person respects the audience he will face more and prepares himself conveniently on the topic he will address. The risk of making mistakes decreases considerably.

When Lula was at the height of his popularity, he felt so deified that he started to talk about what was on his mind. His trip to Africa became famous. When speaking, he said: “I am very surprised, because whoever arrives in Windhoek (capital of Namibia) does not seem to be in an African country, due to its cleanliness and architecture”. If he didn’t feel so safe and confident, and had thought for a few seconds about the message he was going to convey and the type of listener he was going to address, he probably wouldn’t have made that mistake.

Overconfidence may have been a trap

Perhaps it is Paulo Guedes’ excessive confidence that led him to utter these inconvenient words. If it was a slip, come on. We could credit it at random. Normal situation of those who speak a lot in public. His gaffes, however, have been recurring.

He left ammunition for opponents when he misinterpreted the story that people destroy the environment because they need to eat. He flirted with increased taxes “on sins”: cigarettes, alcohol and sugary drinks. It took a tug of Bolsonaro’s ears not to mention tax increases. He lifted the veil of the AI-5, when talking about the possibility of demonstrations on the streets, he warned: “Don’t be scared then if someone asks for the AI-5”.

These phrases taken out of context and with the tremendous ill will of the opposition, which is walking without a flag to attack the government, do a lot of damage. Let’s say that Paulo Guedes is a little negligent in his way of expressing himself in public. Verbal hesitations don’t stop. In less than a week, the minister slipped twice in his speeches.

The first, when he said that civil servants were parasitic: “The civil service had a 50% increase above inflation, in addition to having career stability and generous retirement. The host is dying, the guy became a parasite”.

In order not to get complicated, I could have said, for example, that part of the civil service consumes such high resources from our collection that it puts us in an almost untenable situation. He would have passed on the same message, but without the annoyance he provoked with his unhappy comparison.

When the wounds had not yet healed, there he goes again to say what he shouldn’t. On Wednesday, the 12th, when he participated in the Opening Seminar of the Legislative Year of Revista Voto, in the Federal Capital, he said:

“The exchange rate was around four and (they say) nervous. There is no nervousness. It has changed. There is no exchange rate at 1.80. We will import less, import substitution, tourism. (It was a time of) all world going to Disneyland, maid going to Disneyland, a hell of a party “.

Realizing that his mouth had been faster than the thought tried to fix it by saying that he knew people would criticize the fact that he referred to the maids, but what he meant was that the low-income people were going three, four times to the outside. That they should travel a little more here inside the country and then go abroad. He explained, but was not convinced.

Mistakes are useful when they teach us

As Paulo Guedes is intelligent and sensitive, he will put his head on the pillow and reflect better on how he has expressed himself. When observing the negative reactions of his speeches, he may be a little more afraid, wearing the cloak of humility, having some extra adrenaline discharge and pondering the messages he transmits.

A little more prudence in public speaking will make the minister continue to dedicate himself to economic issues and not have to apologize for the improprieties of his words. After all, the fish dies by the mouth.

Super tips of the week

  • A little nervousness can be useful in communication
  • The speaker who is not overconfident respects the listeners more
  • The speaker who is a little nervous to speak prepares more conveniently
  • Pride and arrogance are a poison to the speaker’s performance

Books of my own that help to reflect on this theme: “29 Minutes to Speak Well in Public”, published by Editora Sextante. “How to talk about improvisation and other presentation techniques”, “Public speaking for lawyers”, “How to speak”, “Conquering and influencing to get along with people” and “How to speak correctly and without inhibitions”, published by Editora Saraiva. “Oratory for religious leaders”, published by Editora Planeta.

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