What Makes a Great Communicator?

What makes a great communicator?

Why do we listen to some people - and remember what they've said - and not others?

One of my all-time idols and mentors, Harvey Mackay, wrote a column this week that offers some insightful answers to these questions.

Harvey had just come back from Israel, where he had an hour-long one-on-one with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Harvey said that Netanyahu's mastery of policy, and his intellect and salesmanship skills, were unparalleled.

BUT, Harvey said, nothing "resonated as much as the fact that I was experiencing a gifted communicator at his best."

Harvey writes:

What made the Prime Minister’s communication so forceful yet appealing?  I captured my reactions immediately after the meeting.  I listed signature points that summed up Netanyahu’s expert communications command.

The first could be considered primarily style:

*   Firm handshake

*   Penetrating eye contract

*   Easy, laid-back humor

*   Modulated speaking, ranging from a haunting whisper to a bellowing laugh

*   Engaging smile

*   The poise one associates with leaders at home with the challenges of their job

These highly appealing trimmings only worked because the meat-and-potatoes of Bibi's comments were so solid.That's where the second set of traits played such a powerful part:

*   Authoritative command of content

*   Focus in clearly making each of his points

*   Passion that he was convinced his messages were important

*   Conviction that his course was right

*   Confidence that he and his team knew how to prevail

*   Charisma in presenting his package so it registered on the emotions as much as the intellect

Guess what?  You don't need to clock time at the United Nations General Assembly to develop this sort of expertise.  These are the same skills that are the stock-in-trade of communications training outfits like Toastmasters International and Dale Carnegie.  Go investigate. Whether it's widgets or world policy, salesmanship skills work wonders.


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