When it comes to the communications approach you adopt during 2019 and beyond, would you like to come across in the style of: * United States President Donald Trump?
* American Businessman Elon Musk?
* And ex-Manchester United Football Manager Jose Mourinho?
Or would you prefer to be projecting yourself more in the manner of:
* Former U.S. President Barack Obama and/or Former U.S. First Lady and best-selling auto-biographer, Michelle Obama?
* British Businessman Sir Richard Branson?
* And England Football Manager Gareth Southgate?
While you could choose between the general approach of these two contrasting groups, other communications styles are available.
Over the past year the two groups of personalities listed above provided a treasure chest of brilliant – and atrocious – communications performances to examine.
Links to some of the greatest and the worst of these are set out further into this New Year ezine.
Ultimately it serves you best if you communicate effectively in your own style – on the way to projecting the most ideal version of yourself.
Studying the communications styles of those you admire can help you achieve this aim.
And knowing who you don’t want to resemble can also assist the process.
But rather than model yourself on the exact approach of any individual communications icon, what’s more helpful is to seek to learn from the specific communications traits from all the ones you admire.
In this quest, it can be very useful to choose several adjectives and other describing terms which you would like to define the ideal image you wish to project.
Might they include any of the following: “thoughtful”, “exciting”, “caring”, “enthusiastic”…
It’s best to select what works best for you – and for the kind of people you most want to influence.
Your choice of describing terms may well be guided by the kind of work you do – or want to be doing in the future.
Chief executives may want to project that you are energetic and discerning with a clear vision.
Accountants may want to project that you are dedicated and organised with an eagle eye for detail.
Head teachers may want to project that you are learned and altruistic with high ambitions for your students.
The high profile communicators identified so far may give you more ideas – for better and for worse – as we look at some of their key 2018 performances.
You can then seek to reflect – or avoid – their traits when you’re giving future presentations; doing media interviews or answering questions from clients, prospects, colleagues or members of the public.
Moving in the direction of your chosen ideal communication traits is something that you can learn.
It’s something that planning, preparation and practise can help bring about as you seek to become the most impressive communicator you can be.
The relatively quiet period (for most) at the start of the new year can be a good time to contemplate the image you’d like to project for when things hot up.
TRUMP-MUSK-MOURINHO VS OBAMA-BRANSON-SOUTHGATE
As you contemplate your ideal communication style, let’s consider the two groupings identified above.
The Trump-Musk-Mourinho approach is characterised by frequent bouts of “say whatever pops into your head at the time”; recurring lapses into uncontrolled negative emotion and the treatment of challenging questioners and with defensiveness and aggression.
The contrasting Obama-Branson-Southgate styles are characterised by thinking out things in advance before saying them; keeping a firm reign on one’s own emotions while effectively touching the emotions of others and treating challenging questioners with respect and good humour.
Below are some clips of each to look over as we re-visit some of the communications low points – and some of the high points – from 2018.
Donald Trump versus the allegedly “rude, terrible person” from CNN
It’s evident that neither the president or the reporter (whose job at press conferences is meant to be to ask questions, not make statements) cover themselves in glory in this ugly clash:
Elon Musk versus himself – while demonstrating the downside of doing a live marijuana-fuelled broadcast
This is a reminder that taking any mild-altering drugs (alcohol included) before or during an important communications moment is never a good idea.
Jose Mourinho versus the media – showing how not to respond to challenging questions
This interaction – back in August while he was still the Manager of Manchester United – helps explain why he no longer holds that post.
Fortunately, 2018 provided some much better role models for us all.
Barack Obama reminding us what it was like in the days of having a thoughtful, modest, calm communicator in charge in Washington
This was the former president’s first talk show interview since leaving office. Watch for the endearing self-deprecating moments that we don’t experience much of from the White House these days.
Michelle Obama presenting to London students
The author of “Becoming” shows how to inspire an audience with her own back story.
Sir Richard Branson gets his points across
The boss of Virgin demonstrates how interview responses with CNN can be polite, considered and fascinating while expressing some hard-hitting thoughts.
Gareth Southgate World Cup Interview
The England Football Manager avoids getting carried away after his team overcame a long-standing curse by winning its first ever World Cup penalty shoot-out against Columbia in Russia.
Hopefully you can spot some key differences between the approaches of the first three video clips compared with the final four.
The Trump-Musk-Mourinho approach is fine if your only aim is to capture headlines – though the headlines created from their outbursts aren’t always what they might like to see the next day.
If you share the Michael Dodd Communications view that “all publicity is not good publicity” then the choice between the two groupings is simple.
Hopefully the more thought-out, better controlled and more calmly implemented Obama-Branson-Southgate approach provides you with more desirable pickings when it comes to choosing the ideal traits for your communications future.
At its heart, excellent communications is about getting messages across – powerfully, effectively and memorably – in your own distinctive style.
Here’s to the success of your powerful, effective and memorable individually-styled messages throughout the next 12 months – for a great all-round 2019.
Michael Dodd helps clients to come across with confidence, impact and pizzazz to large and small audiences, in challenging one-to-one situations and during media interviews.
Michael Dodd Communications
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To your speaking, Elliot & Annik x