The art of communication: Tip #2

In Toronto, just before Labour Day now, we’re a few weeks away from a municipal election.

Day in and day out, the news cycle revolves around announcements — and pronouncements — about transportation investments that promise to un-gridlock the city and put us out of our collective misery. Should it be underground, should it be light rail, should there be road tolls, should there be even more road work?

Don’t get me wrong. I think public transportation is a key issue, election or not.

But sadly, so far at least, I’m not seeing any real passion from the podium about it. Just the usual back-and-forth amongst politicians, and nothing yet to make voters really care enough to get out and vote for change.

How refreshing then to hear the inaugural speech from the new president of the Canadian Medical Association.

He wasted no time yesterday calling out the Canadian government for not having a seniors’ healthcare strategy, for ignoring the need for a palliative care strategy and for failing to demonstrate the leadership required to update/upgrade our healthcare system.

Dr. Simpson’s speech is persuasive. It’s colourful. It’s incredibly timely. And best of all, it’s a call to action of the kind that is sorely missing in Canadian discourse these days.

That’s why Tip #2 is about courage. Having the wisdom — and the chutzpah –  to use whatever platform you decide to use to build your brand to actually say something memorable that will define your brand and make it resonate with your audience.

For communications planners who want to re-invigorate brand awareness or simply add some momentum to their engagement strategies, it comes down to this: Instead of simply adding to the din, go for thought leadership. Instead of playing it safe, show some edge. Instead of grey, choose red. And, of course, never underestimate the power of a well-timed speech.

Everyone may not agree with you. But that’s not really the point, is it?



The art of communication: Tip #1

I love this quote by Winston Churchill. When I sit down to write a speech or a presentation, I often think of it. Here’s what he said:
“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time — a tremendous whack.”
Say it three times. Not because your audience is playing with their smartphone while you’re talking. Or because they’re texting their friends. Or making dinner plans.
Say it because for some reason our brains seem wired to remember things — really remember them — when they’re grouped in three’s.
Read any of President Obama’s speeches and you’ll see how the power of three works. In one of them he says:
“…the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.” (from A World that Stands as One, July 24, 2008, Berlin)
It’s a simple little tip…simple as 1-2-3.