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Ronald Reagan – The Great Communicator

This month marks the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth.  Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s speech writer,  shares an honest look at the man we called the “great communicator” in the February 3rd edition of the Wall Street Journal.  She suggests that Reagan felt he was a good communicator, but that his message only hit home, because of its content.

We all probably wish we were better communicators.  Leadership has at its core the belief that constant and effective communications will occur throughout the organization. This means communications up, down, and laterally. All people in the organization must believe that effective and constant communication will benefit the organization, will benefit their local work situation, and finally, will benefit them personally.

Authenticity is the most important factor of effective communications. Nick Morgan, the author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, has spent a lifetime teaching people to be more authentic in their communications. He recommends considering the following goals in your communications. Although Nick devised these techniques for formal presentations, they can be effectively used in virtually any setting.

  • Being open to your audience,
  • Connect with your audience,
  • Be passionate about your topic, and
  • “Listen” to your audience.

Great leaders constantly communicate about the customer, the company, and the future.

Noonan says that Ronald Reagan didn't see himself as "the great communicator." It was so famous a moniker that he could do nothing but graciously accept the compliment.  In his farewell address he said "I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things."

Content may be king …. but delivery is the queen!